Abrams Line To Go Cold?

Yo, Esli (and any other treadheads),

What do you guys think of this?


In the latest budget/industrial base-related drama, General Dynamics executives are expressing concern over the lack of orders for the M1A2 Abrams tank after 2013, and the gap between that date and modernization orders slated to begin in 2016. Mike Cannon, the company’s senior vp, Ground Combat Systems, told me in a wide-ranging conversation at the Army’s AUSA convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. last week that “we are very, very concerned about the tank industrial base, because it’s unique … we have nothing to keep that base going between 2013 and 2016.”

via Abrams Line To Go Cold?.

The article goes on to discuss the various configurations in the fleet, from basic M1A1s in the National Guard, bot SEPv1 and SEPv2, which have differing levels of electronics and thermal equipment.

I can’t think of a time the Army has ever had a common configuration throughout the armor fleet.

9 thoughts on “Abrams Line To Go Cold?”

  1. The last time they had a completely common configuration in the whole Abrams fleet was in the 5-second gap between when the purchasing officer signed for the first unit delivered and when he signed for the second unit delivered, at a guess.

  2. When I was in 3/109 Armor, the Active service had M1A1s and my unit was still running around in M-60s (1985-86). They got A3s in 1988. I think they got M1s in ’90, long after I was out.

    I can understand the active service having the cutting edge stuff, with the reserve components having the older stuff. The older stuff may still be quite serviceable and the ARNG can still use it for training, and even in the case of deployment. In any case, the active component will go into combat first, most likely, and them having the latest and greatest doesn’t hurt my feelings.

    IN ’85, however, we not only had straight M-60s in our motor pool, we also had two M-48s.

    Rusty, that’s about the size of it.

    1. I forgot. We are facing the same problems with Submarines as well. Electric Boat, iirc, is the only one building subs at the moment and there doesn’t seem to be enough business to keep it going. If things fall off anymore, the skills required to build those things will die and we probably won’t be able to recreate them.

  3. The M1 will be with us in a variety of forms for a long time to come. There will always be a market for parts, and a provider of continued systems enhancements. Bottom line is that, of course, it will cost us more in the long run.

    1. You can only rebuild things so many times. I doubt we ever reached that point with the old 60s, but tanks have gotten so expensive these days, that we may be forced to do that experiment and find where the line is with the M1.

    2. Given that the optics are the limiting factor on effective range and accuracy of the 120mm gun, and the modular powerpack can be upgraded (higher fuel efficiency, anyone?) along with and new systems for the inside of the tank, I would postulate that metal fatigue in the hull and obsolescence of the armor package will tell us when an M1 can no longer be a first-rate MBT.

    3. Electrical power (and space to but electronics and cooling for them) is probably going to end up being the limiting factor for a lot of platforms. There’s space to grow and add power on the M1, but I’m guessing the Bradley family gets space and power critical pretty soon.

    4. The M60 turret had to be redone to make room for the new fire control system. I think the first fire control system for the Abrams was a slight upgrade of the M60A3 system. Armor, however, is what did in the M60 line.

      It would be nice if the M1 were more fuel efficient. I understand their were times in Desert Storm that some units couldn’t move because of lack of fuel.

  4. Far, far too late here, but iirc its been said that during WW II NOT A SINGLE B-24 that ever came off the production-line was exactly alike–even the ones just in front & behind on the line.

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