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Kuwait exercises new tanks

Kuwaiti Minister of Defence Sheikh Abdullah Ali al-Abdullah al-Sabah stands on an M1A2K. (Kuwait News Agency)

Kuwait's new M1A2K tanks were displayed in the emirate for the first time during Exercise ‘Pearl of the West 2022', which was held with French forces from 25 November to 8 December.

An M1A2K was not seen in the coverage of the exercise until the last day, when the Kuwait Armed Forces released a short video showing Minister of Defence Sheikh Abdullah Ali al-Abdullah al-Sabah being briefed on the tank during a visit to the Al-Adira (Udairi) exercise area. Three were then seen in action, although the armoured unit that featured in the earlier coverage of the exercise was still equipped with old M1A2 tanks.

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) received a contract to develop a unique variant of the Abrams tank for Kuwait in December 2017. Subsequent contract announcements revealed that GDLS would deliver 217 M1A2K tanks by the end of June 2022. The Kuwaiti Armed Forces announced in July 2021 that it had received the first M1A2K in a ceremony held in the US.

The variant is fitted with the Protector RS4 Low Profile remote weapon station and the Counter-Sniper Anti-Materiel Mount (CSAMM), which enables a .50 calibre machine gun to be carried to the front right of the main gun.

These features were included in an upgrade package for Kuwait's 218 M1A2 tanks that was announced in 2016, although the emirate ultimately opted to buy new tanks. The upgrade also included new thermal imaging systems for target acquisition, Driver Vision Enhancers, rear-view sensor systems, Defense Advanced Global Positioning System receivers, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) network radios, and ‘special' armour.

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