The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced State Department approval for Australia to acquire a comprehensive upgrade package for its M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks valued at an estimated US$1.685bn (A$2.17bn).
The DSCA notification says Australia will acquire 160 M1A1 structure/hulls “from stock” as well as other items in order to fulfil its Project LAND 907 Phase 2 upgrade program. The upgrade will provide 75 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks which will include a “unique armour package” and the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station Low Profile (CROWS-LP).
Also included will be 29 M1150 Assault Breaker Vehicles which are specialist mine and explosives-clearing vehicles based on the M1 chassis and 18 M1074 joint assault bridges under the Project LAND 8160 Phase 1 Combat Engineering Vehicles requirement. The package also includes six additional M88A2 Hercules combat recovery vehicles and 122 AGT1500 gas turbine engines which power all three vehicle types.
The package also includes a Driver’s Vision Enhancer, mission equipment, tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, spare parts, technical data and publications, transportation services, training, and other logistical and program support.
The upgraded tanks will likely be remanufactured while Australia’s current M1A1s remain in service, before the current vehicles are swapped out and placed into the US’s vast reserve stocks to possibly be remanufactured for another customer in the future.