NEWS FROM AUSA GLOBAL: Army Looks at Possibilities for Future Tank Replacement

By Connie Lee
An M1A2 Abrams muzzle blast

Photo: Army

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Two studies are underway to examine options for a successor to the Abrams tank, an Army official said March 27.

The effort to replace the legacy system falls under the Army’s next-generation combat vehicle cross-functional team, which is one of eight set up to pursue the service’s modernization priorities.

The future platform may not resemble a tank, Brig. Gen. Richard Coffman, director of the cross-functional team, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Global Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Everything is on the table. It has got to deliver decisive lethality in the worst places on Earth,” he said. “What that looks like, we're open to it.”

Coffman said the two studies are being conducted by the Army Science Board and the Army Combat Capability Development Center Ground Vehicle Systems Center, formally known as the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

To examine potential features for the platform, the two groups are examining currently available technology as well as features that could be attainable soon, he said.

“No one … disagrees that we need something that has the capability to deliver decisive lethality with a survivability level that outpaces our peers,” he added. The service is taking a “measured” approach to the decision, he noted. Coffman said he is not calling the future system a “tank” because “I don't want to limit what is available to us.”

Officials have marked 2023 as a potential timeline for making a decision on the way forward.

“We have to determine what's out there," Coffman noted. "Whether or not … we want to enter into a [science and technology] procurement cycle or we could come back and say ‘We need to wait another year to ‘24 because there's technology that's budding and we want to see it.”

Meanwhile, the Army is also looking to upgrade a larger number of tanks in its current fleet. Fiscal year 2019 documents note the service planned to upgrade 92 platforms to the M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 configuration in fiscal year 2020. However, the service now wants to upgrade 165 that year, according to fiscal year 2020 budget documents released this month.

“This is a huge decision and we want to make sure that we have all the available facts,” Coffman said.

Topics: Army News, Land Forces

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