21 November 2015
The first of ten refreshed Abrams (photos : The School of Armour)
The first of ten ‘refreshed’ M1A1 Abrams tanks has been delivered to the Army’s School of Armour at Puckapunyal, Victoria.
The Land Systems Division (LSD) within the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) worked with Army and Joint Logistics Unit – Victoria (JLU-V) to deliver the tanks as part of a major Tank Technical Refresh and Remediation Program.
Approved by Army in May 2013, the $59m program aims to enhance Army’s 59 M1A1 Abrams tanks and seven M88A2 Hercules Armoured Recovery Vehicles. The program, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will update the baseline configuration of the tanks and M88s, undertake major upgrades and address obsolescence and fatigue issues.
Work on the M1A1 Tank fleet is being undertaken by the Transfield workforce at JLU-V, in Bandiana. This has created employment opportunities for the local community, as well as facilitating up-skilling of Transfield staff, who have undergone on-the-job training with M1A1 specialists from the United States (US) Anniston Army Depot. Work on the Hercules vehicles will be undertaken by a BAE Systems team from the US at Joint Logistic Unit – North, in Darwin, commencing in early 2017.
“The implementation of the ‘Refresh’ program, combined with a fleet rotation that aims to even out usage across the fleet, is expected to allow the tanks to be supported through to life of type,” said CASG’s Head Land Systems, Major General (MAJGEN) Paul McLachlan.
In line with the Tank Technical Refresh, the tank program team at LSD completed an upgrade and refresh of all M1A1 Tank simulation earlier this year at the School of Armour and 1st Armoured Regiment. They will soon also commence an upgrade and refresh program on the M1A1’s AGT1500 turbine engine. This will be conducted by TAE Pty Ltd, an Australian company that has undertaken repairs on the engines since August 2013 and which, compared to the previous practice of returning the engines to the US for repairs, has saved 90% on the repair costs and up to 50% on turn-around time.
“LSD is proud to be working with Army, JLU(V) and our other industry partners to support our warfighters by keeping Army’s tanks at the peak of their potential,” said MAJGEN McLachlan.
Along with a number of other Life of Type activities LSD is conducting, such as upgrades to the ASLAV and the Bushmaster’s Remote Weapon Station, the Tank Refresh program will give Army’s mounted combat capability a new lease of life and help maintain Australia’s capability edge.