General Dynamics to begin Abrams modernisation engineering development
General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been awarded an eight-year, $395 million contract for research, development and testing in preparation for the US Army’s Abrams main battle tank Engineering Change Proposal 1 (ECP1) production. Awarded by the US Army TACOM Contracting Command, the contract has an initial value of $80 million over 12 months, and there is no tank production work associated with this award.
The Abrams ECP1 programme is an engineering-development effort focused on integrating a group of system improvements into a single upgrade programme for the M1A2SEPv2 baseline tank. The work GDLS will perform will work toward the objective of the research-and-development effort to prepare the Abrams tank to accept additional army-directed requirements in the future without impacting current vehicle performance. The army plans to begin low rate initial production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades in 2017.
According to the company, since its initial fielding in 1980, enhancements to the Abrams main battle tank have consumed much of the available space, weight and power capacity on the vehicle. ECP1 will reengineer internal systems to reduce size, weight and power requirements, creating capacity for additional upgrades in the future. The effort will include miniaturisation of electronics; evolving to a Line Replaceable Module (LRM)-based electronics architecture; and increasing electrical capacity through improved power generation, distribution and management.
In addition, when implemented, ECP1 upgrades will improve Abrams' survivability by enhancing armour and adding the capability to employ current and advanced counter-IED equipment.
According to GDLS, the contract will be completed by 2020. The Abrams main battle tank is planned to be an active component of the Army's fleet through 2050.
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