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AUSA 2021: Army leaders still eyeing 2023 Abrams replacement decision

Soldiers fire the US Army's new M1A2 SEPv3 tank at Fort Hood, Texas, in August 2020. The service is considering if, and when, to develop and field a new main battle tank. (US Army )

US Army officials are continuing to study viable options for replacing its fleet of M1 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs), with the goal of providing their findings and recommendations to senior leaders in 2023, according to Director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team Major General Ross Coffman.

Ahead of this year's annual Association of the US Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC, the two-star general spoke with Janes on 30 September about ongoing efforts to field new ground combat vehicles. While his team has been busy over the past year relaunching a revamped Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) competition and testing out robotic combat vehicles, it is also continuing to gather data and information about a potential Abrams replacement option that is sometimes referred to as the ‘decisive lethality platform' (DLP).

“There's been no decisions on what direction the army will go towards for a main battle tank,” Maj Gen Coffman explained, but he noted that the service has been working on a technical analysis.

“All the different components of a combat vehicle are covered and the trade space [is looking at] if those will be equal to or better than what's on the Abrams… [such as] weight, firepower, mobility and survivability,” he added. Then in 2023, service officials studying and working these issues will then present senior army leaders with an array of options, and detail the pros and cons associated with each one.

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