According to the manufacturer
21 in May, the American media published interesting data from the tank building plant Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (Lima Army Tank Plant, LATP), which is responsible for the modernization of the Abrams MBT. The management of the company stated that the manufacture of the first brigade set of tanks M1A2C will be completed this summer.
Tank M1A2 SEP v.3. Photo by Limaohio.com
The completion of the release of tanks for the rearmament of the whole brigade is considered an important milestone in stories project. One of the units of the army will be able to start the full development of the latest technology, which will have a beneficial effect on its combat capability and the potential of the army as a whole.
To fulfill the current order for tanks M1A2C, the plant in Lima has to expand its staff. In 2016, JSMC employed less than 500 people. By the end of last year, the number of employees exceeded 600. Until the end of this year, the company will have at least 700 jobs. 2020 plans to recruit another hundred employees. Thus, in less than five years, the number of workers should almost double with a corresponding increase in productivity.
However, the plant faces some difficulties. When searching for workers, he has to compete with other large enterprises in the region. The JSMC management considers such circumstances useful for the economy, but problematic for specific organizations. In addition, the state tank-building enterprise has to check candidates before being hired. Depending on the position, checks last up to four months.
23 May edition of the Defense Blog has published new data on the progress of the testing and verification program of the upgraded MBT. It managed to communicate with the participants of the military tests of the tank M1A2C / M1A2 SEP v.3 and published the most remarkable details.
According to the Defense Blog, the inspection of tanks under conditions of actual troop operation was conducted by personnel of the 2 Battalion of the 8 Cavalry Regiment of the 1 Tank Brigade. This unit has extensive experience in the operation of armored vehicles and has participated in several local conflicts of recent decades. In addition, it is armed with the newest versions of tanks M1 Abrams.
Now the main armored vehicle of the 2 Battalion is the tank M1A2 SEP v.2. To conduct military tests, he was given one of the experienced machines of the SEP version v.3. Not long ago, the battalion returned from Europe, where it participated in the Atlantic Resolve operation. As part of this deployment, unit personnel completed many different exercises using two models of MBT, including the latest machine, the M1A2C. Verification of the received tank lasted about 9 months.
It was the operational experience of the M1A2 SEP v.2 tanks that made it possible to conduct full-fledged military tests of the vehicles. Tankers familiar with the previous modification could better understand the differences between the new M1A2C and more fully appreciate its advantages. The upgraded tanks were used in various combat training activities, and in all cases the necessary data was collected.
Military tests confirmed the correctness of the applied design solutions and showed the advantages of the upgraded MBT over previous modifications. In addition, the car received good marks in terms of the convenience of the crew and technical staff.
Completion of military trials is an important step towards the future full-scale modernization and operation of the updated tanks. Already this year, the US Army will receive the first brigade set of tanks M1A2C, and in mastering this technique, tank crews will benefit from the experience of the 2 battalion of the 8 regiment, which recently studied the pre-production sample.
It should be noted that the last news About project M1A2C look extremely interesting. Reports of successful military trials were expected and obvious. News from the JSMC plant in Lima is also a cause for optimism. The recent successes of this company are in line with the customer’s expectations, and he may not worry about the fulfillment of the conditions of the current contract.
In February, the first photographs of the upgraded tanks M1A2C / SEP v.3 appeared in free access. It was argued that no more than 6-10 armored vehicles were ready. According to announced plans, by the end of the year, the industry must upgrade and transfer the army to 135 tanks. Recent reports show a sharp increase in production rates.
Not later than the summer of this year, the JSMC plant is obliged to supply the troops with the first brigade set of new tanks. To arm one tank brigade you need 87 tanks. Until the end of February, they managed to rebuild no more than a dozen cars. Thus, in about six months, the plant in Lima should upgrade about 80 tanks. About the release of the first brigade kit speak almost like a fait accompli. Apparently, the recruitment of new employees made it possible to bring the production capacity to the required level and ensure that the Abrams' 13-15 was updated monthly. This is not an absolute record, but against the background of previous activities, JSMC / LATP looks very worthy.
While maintaining the same production rates, in the fall and early winter, by the end of the current calendar year, the plant in Lima will have time to release another fifty modernized M1A2C. Thus, the order for this year in sizes 135 MBT will be successfully completed and, possibly, exceeded.
Next year, more than 160 tanks will be upgraded. Thus, the JSMC plant will again have to increase the pace of work. However, it seems that this will not be a problem. By recruiting new employees and using existing production facilities, the company can increase the pace of work with a clear result.
Plans for the distant future have not yet been published. The US military has approximately 1500-1600 tanks with M1A2 tanks of several modifications, and a significant number of these machines can be upgraded by the SEP v.3 / M1A2C project. This means that over the next few years, the plant in Lima will have to produce at least 130-150 upgraded MBTs annually.
The latest news suggests that the US Army has no cause for concern in the context of the modernization program for the main battle tanks M1A2 Abrams. Technique has passed all the necessary stages of testing and entered the series. The contractor has already reached the desired pace of work. The first set of equipment for the re-equipment of one of the brigades will be ready in the coming months. Nothing further threatens the fulfillment of contracts.
In the medium term, the US Army will get the desired number of upgraded MBT M1A2C / M1A2 SEP v.3 MBT, sufficient to upgrade the fleet of vehicles of several armored formations. Simultaneously with the upgrade of the battle machines to the M1A2C version, a new modernization project will be developed - M1A2D or M1A2 SEP v.4. Some features of this improvement of technology are already known, but it’s still far from its implementation. In the coming years, the focus will be on the actual project M1A2C.