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AUSA 2023: Army to reduce crew size, explore new engine for redesigned Abrams

The US Army will redesign the Abrams MBT to become the M1E3. The service expects to acquire the MBT through an engineering change proposal, according to army officials. (Combined Joint Task Force - Oper)

The new Abrams M1E3 main battle tank (MBT) design – with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) as the prime contractor – will use various subsystem competitions to reduce the weight and sustainment tail of the tank, Doug Bush, the US Army assistant secretary for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, told Janes on 10 October.

While the most concrete proposed competition is one for an upgraded active protection system (APS), the army will likely hold a competition for a new engine, Bush told Janes on the sidelines of the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) 2023 annual conference. The acquisition and technology choices take inspiration from the F-16 programme with the US Air Force (USAF), he noted.

The decision to forgo a clean-sheet design for a new tank was based on speed, Bush said. Former Chief of Staff General James McConville picked the option “more likely to succeed on his timeline”. “Because you can start a whole new tank programme, but it might take 20 years, and he's worried about the threat over that time,” Bush said.

While some investment in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request was included for research, development, technology, and engineering (RDTE) of the new design, FY 2025 request is expected to include the first significant request, Bush said.

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