Monday, June 24, 2024

US Army to receive next generation Abrams tank

The U.S. Army has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) to begin the preliminary design of the new M1E3 Abrams tank variant, which aims to be lighter and feature advanced technologies to enhance survivability on the battlefield.

This initiative is part of a broader effort to modernize the Army’s combat vehicle fleet, as reported by Defense News.

Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman, the head of combat vehicle modernization, explained that the contract will enable the Army to collaborate closely with GDLS in shaping the requirements for the M1E3 Abrams. The goal is to align the fielding of the new tank variant with the timeline of the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle, which is currently under development.

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“I think that there would be real goodness for the Army if XM30 combat vehicles and M1E3 tanks could be fielded simultaneously to an armored brigade combat team,” Norman stated. However, he noted that aligning these schedules will depend on factors such as technology maturation and budget constraints.

The Army is currently running a competition between American Rheinmetall Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems to develop the XM30 vehicle, which will replace the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The winner is expected to be selected in late fiscal 2027 or early fiscal 2028.

The schedule for the M1E3’s preliminary design and subsequent phases is under review by the Army’s acquisition branch. In the meantime, the Army and GDLS will work on defining the specific capabilities and configurations of the new Abrams variant. A more detailed timeline is anticipated by the fall.

Last fall, the Army decided to abandon its plans to upgrade the existing Abrams tank and instead pursue a more extensive modernization effort. This decision led to the termination of the M1A2 System Enhancement Package version 4 program. The M1E3 will feature a significantly different design to meet current requirements.

Over the next 18 months, the Army will focus on several technology maturation efforts, including autoloader capabilities, systems to enable the crew to operate fully enclosed within the tank, alternative power trains, and active protection systems. These components will be integrated into an engineering change proposal prototype.

The Army aims to reduce the weight of the Abrams tank to under 60 tons, down from the current 73 tons. Achieving this ambitious goal may require changes to the crew configuration, such as adopting a remote or optionally manned turret to save space and weight.

Additionally, the Army will explore power trains with hybrid capabilities to reduce fuel consumption and provide silent watch and drive capabilities, enhancing the tank’s ability to avoid detection while maintaining high-speed performance.

An integrated active protection system will be a key feature of the M1E3, essential for the vehicle’s survivability and design. This system is expected to be integral to the program, according to Norman.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more

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