Enhancements to the Australian Defence Force’s credible combat capability will be delivered by the Australian Government through the purchase of evolved Abrams tanks and combat engineering vehicles. Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon Peter Dutton MP today announced a $3.5 billion investment in the Main Battle Tank Upgrade (LAND 907 Phase 2) and Combat Engineering Vehicle (LAND 8160 Phase 1) projects. Australian Army will receive up to 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks, 29 M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles, 17 M1074 Joint Assault Bridge Vehicles, and an additional six M88A2 Armoured Recovery Vehicles. The first vehicles will be delivered to Australia in 2024, with the projects expected to achieve Initial Operating Capability in 2025.
Minister Dutton said, “the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams would provide critical protection and firepower for the ADF in land operations. 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. The M1A2 Abrams will incorporate the latest developments in Australian sovereign defense capabilities, including command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems, and benefit from the intended manufacture of tank ammunition in Australia. 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 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 the main battle tank.”
The Australian Government has requested to buy one hundred sixty (160) M1A1 Tank structures/hulls provided from stock to produce the following end items and spares: seventy-five (75) M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; twenty-nine (29) M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles; eighteen (18) M1074 Joint Assault Bridges; six (6) M88A2 Hercules Combat Recovery Vehicles; and one hundred twenty-two (122) AGT1500 gas turbine engines. Also included in the development of a unique armor package, Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station Low Profile (CROWS-LP), Driver’s Vision Enhancer, mission equipment, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, system and engine spare parts, technical data, publications, Modification Work Orders/Engineering Change Proposals (MWO/ECPs), U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics assistance, quality assurance teams, transportation services, program management, New Equipment Training (NET); and other related elements of logistical and program support. The principal contractors will be General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, MI; BAE Systems, York, PA; Leonardo DRS, Arlington, VA; and Honeywell Aerospace, Phoenix, AZ.