Video from the October 2015 AUSA, defense exhibition in Washington D.C. where the M1A2 SEP V3 was presented for the first time.
Lima plant upgrading Abrams army tank, work to be completed mid-2017
LIMA – The U.S. Army has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $92.2 million contract to upgrade M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration.
The new design of the Abrams will improve survivability, sustainability and lethality and will utilize the venerable M1A2 structures.
The work will be performed at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima – the only place in the United States where tanks are assembled.
And JSMC employees will be assembling tanks for some time to come. The new defense bill signed by Obama last month included even more work for JSMC – $371 million to upgrade the weapon system on 81 Stryker vehicles. Much of that work will be done at the plant in Lima.
The increase in work is welcome news. It wasn’t that long ago that the JSMC was hanging on by a thread amidst threats by the Obama administration to defund the facility until it needed more tanks. The facility is owned by the federal government and it is operated by General Dynamics.
At the time, the Pentagon said it wanted to idle production at the facility until 2017. By doing so, they would have shut down U.S. tank production for the first time since World War II.
A large, bipartisan group in Congress and Task Force L.I.M.A. advocated for keeping it open. They believed keeping the facility warm with minimal production was cheaper than closing and restarting the plant, and also protected the industrial base.
The bipartisan approach in Congress played a critical role in surviving long enough to get to new production.
And the United States continues to need tanks.
“Projected for full rate production within the next two years, the Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 will provide the Army with the tank they need to dominate the battlefields of the future,” said Donald Kotchman, vice president of Tracked Combat Vehicles for General Dynamics Land Systems.
The M1A2 SEPv3 production process will begin with a pilot program of six tanks before moving into full-rate production.
Employees at the JSMC are also working on prototypes of the next-generation tank, the Abrams M1A3 set to go into production in 2017.
The M1A2 SEPv3 is expected to be complete by Jul 31, 2017.