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Pentagon budget 2025: Army plans to slow down Abrams, Stryker upgrades

On entering service, JLTV will replace a percentage of the current AM General High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle fleet. (Oshkosh Defense)

While the US Army is planning a major design overhaul for its Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tank (MBT), the service wants to slow down the tempo of upgrades for its most advanced MBTs, according to budget documents released on 11 March.

The decision to slow down the rate was “financial” as well as to keep the upgrades on pace with the rest of the capabilities in the Armoured Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), Major General Joe Hilbert, director of Force Development and deputy chief of staff (G-8), told reporters on 12 March.

In the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request, the army's plans showed that it wanted to fund 45 upgrades in FY 2025, 49 in FY 2026, 21 in FY 2027, and 70 in FY 2028. In the recently released FY 2025 budget request, the service requested to slow procurement down to 30, 35, 35, 35, and 35 upgrades in FY 2025–29 respectively.

The army's goal is to field half of the ABCT per year, and the slow-down “was both a financial decision as well as just to synchronise the other pieces of that modernisation effort”, Maj Gen Hilbert said. The army plans to hold competitions for subsystems for a redesigned Abrams that the service is calling the M1E3. Officials are weighing crew size reductions, alternative power, and new active protection systems.

For more information on the Abrams M1E3, please seeAUSA 2023: Army to reduce crew size, explore new engine for redesigned Abrams .

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