Australian Army will receive new 70-ton Abrams tanks in the latest version, according to Defence Minister Peter Dutton.
Hon Peter Dutton announced Monday a $3.5 billion investment in the Main Battle Tank Upgrade (LAND 907 Phase 2) and Combat Engineering Vehicle (LAND 8160 Phase 1) projects.
According to Minister, Army will receive up to 75 M1A2 the System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3) Abrams tanks, 29 M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles, 17 M1074 Joint Assault Bridge Vehicles and an additional six M88A2 Armoured Recovery Vehicles.
“Teamed with the Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Combat Engineering Vehicles, and self-propelled howitzers, the new Abrams will give our soldiers the best possibility of success and protection from harm,” Minister Dutton said.
“The M1A2 Abrams will incorporate the latest developments in Australian sovereign defence capabilities, including command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems, and benefit from the intended manufacture of tank ammunition in Australia” Minister Dutton said. “The introduction of the new M1A2 vehicles will take advantage of the existing support infrastructure, with significant investment in Australian industry continuing in the areas of sustainment, simulation and training.”
Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO, DSC, MVO said that tanks and combat engineering vehicles were essential to Australia’s ability to contribute to a credible land combat capability integrated with joint and coalition forces.
“The main battle tank is at the core of the ADF’s Combined Arms Fighting System, which includes infantry, artillery, communications, engineers, attack helicopters and logistics,” Lieutenant General Burr said.
“Because of their versatility, tanks can be used in a wide range of scenarios, environments and levels of conflict in the region. This system is the only part of the ADF that can successfully operate in medium to high-threat land environments.
“The M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams protection, accurate and lethal fire, mobility and situational awareness cannot be delivered by any other platform. There are no other current or emerging technologies – or combination of technologies – that can yet deliver the capability currently provided by a main battle tank.”
The first vehicles will be delivered to Australia in 2024, with the projects expected to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2025.