Australian veteran-owned SME Global Defence Solutions (GDS) has commenced manufacture of the deployable container system for the M1A2 Abrams System Enhancement Program Version 3 (SEPv3) main battle tank Immersive Tactical Trainer (ITT) at its Nowra facility. With the first deployable ITT on track for delivery in March 2024, the multi-million-dollar contract will see GDS, an Alkath Group company, manufacture a total of 12 deployable container systems by January 2025. Thomas Global Systems (TGS) is the Prime System Integrator for the project and will install its M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams simulation system within the deployable container systems provided by GDS, supporting the Australian Army’s acquisition of 75 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 Main Battle Tanks under the A$3.5 billion Land 907 Phase 2 project.
The M1A2 SEPv3s (Systems Enhancement Package) will replace the Australian Army’s current fleet of 59 M1A1 AIM2 Abrams’ MBTs in service. The M1A2 SEPv3 entered service with the US Army in 2020. Improvements over the M1A1 include the addition of the KONGSBERG Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station Low Profile (CROWS-LP), an auxiliary power unit (APU) with increased power generation, advanced sensor and communications displays, a new vehicle health management system (VHMS), added ballistic protection and advanced armour, and an improved forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. Apart from the new MBTs, the armoured vehicle package also includes six more M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicles, 29 M1150 Assault Breacher vehicles, and 17 M1074 joint assault bridge systems (JABS) which are being acquired through the Project LAND 8160 Phase 1 Combat Engineering Vehicles requirement.
“Following the TGS approval of our design plans for the deployable container system in mid-August, our team has commenced manufacture. The modular Abram’s ITT is taking mission simulation to the field, allowing crews to prepare for actual operations while deployed, increasing efficiencies and mission outcomes. It represents the latest and greatest training capability for Australia’s upgraded tank force. Once complete, the 12 containerised ITTs will be deployed to defence bases around Australia. Securing the Abrams contract allows GDS to further solidify our position as leaders in sovereign manufacturing. GDS is now the go-to Australian partner for advanced deployable infrastructure solutions. We are proud to be producing tactical trainers for the Army’s most advanced capabilities while generating skilled employment opportunities in the Nowra region,” said GDS General Manager Jeromy Bendall.
The ITTs will be used to train Australian Army tank crews as they prepare to accept the new M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks. Housed in 20-foot 1C ISO containers, the ITTs fully simulate an M1A2 tank environment with crew positions for gunner and driver, as well as an instructor station to enable system training control. GDS and TGS have a long-standing relationship and are already working together to deliver deployable training systems for Army’s Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles. GDS is also collaborating with Saab Australia on JP 2060 Phase 3 to deliver the next generation of deployable health capability. Given the Abrams is extensively operated by the US and its allies around the world, the global Abram’s supply chain is huge and represents AUKUS export, growth and job opportunities for GDS as well as Alkath Group sister companies Mellori Solutions and Resilience Logistic Solutions.