The Army is working with General Dynamics [GD] on Engineering Change Proposals (ECP) for Stryker and Abrams vehicles to buy back performance diminished over time due to armor and equipment added to counter threats, officials said.

“For Abrams modernization we’re in the middle of ECP 1A, building a prototype–and it’s ahead of schedule–we plan to deliver it Feb. 15,” said Don Kotchman, vice president, Tracked Combat Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems.

The Abrams, first in service in the 1980s, has been upgraded and changed over the years, as the service continues to extend the life of the main battle tank.

Production on ECP 1A is expected to start in 2019 on the Abrams M1A2SEPv3, he said last week during the annual AUSA symposium in Washington.

Abrams M1A1 Photo: General Dynamics
Abrams M1A1

Photo: General Dynamics

The goal is to have more power, bring in the network, upgrade armor and improve protection. The changes are expected to save fuel, improve maintenance and reduce operational support costs.

The Network Compatibility change will replace the single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS) and Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) with the Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) radio capability as well as the Joint Battle Command Platform (JCB-P).

Bringing the network to the main battle tanks will connect soldiers across the joint force and improve interoperability and situational awareness.

An auxiliary power unit will restore lost power. Also included is a battery management system and new power generation and distribution system. Increasing the tank’s power also will allow future electronic upgrades. A modified slip ring will bring the turret more power and the ability to pass video.

Adding an ammunition data link will allow programming of the tank’s advanced ammunition.

Additionally, new Line-Replaceable Modules will be added. The redesign uses cards that are easily replaceable and provides room for future growth.

The ECP also will provide the newest counter-remote-control IED electronic warfare system, CREW/Duke v3.

Separately, General Dynamics has demonstrated a diesel engine that could potentially replace the current turbine.

“Now the Army Materials Systems Analysis Agency is doing a business case analysis on diesel to provide information to the Army to inform what it wants to do for the long haul for an engine,” Kotchman said.

It’s not an active program, he said. “General Dynamics is collaborating with TARDEC (the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) to build a body of evidence the Army could use” to make a future decision, Kotchman said.

For the Stryker family of vehicles, first in service in 2002, the Double-V Hull (DVH) ECP is projected to start production in 2017, said Gordon Stein, vice president, Stryker and Specialty Wheeled Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems.

The DVH ECP, with four major upgrade areas, will buy back performance, address space, weight, and power issues, add the network and provide the ability to incorporate future upgrades.

On the automotive side, DVH Strykers will receive a new engine and suspension. The power generation system will add a 450 horsepower engine for mobility and power and to support a larger alternator. Thermal management will be improved with more environmental conditioning.

The electrical system will upgrade to a 910 amp alternator to meet current power requirements, while leaving room for growth. It will also have a smart power management system.

On the digital side, driver and commander stations will have smart displays and an upgraded Ethernet. The digital infrastructure will be set up for future network systems.

Chassis upgrades for the DVH Stryker variants will increase gross vehicle weight, with an optimized driveline to match the upgraded powerpack. New tires will be added. These upgrades will increase mobility.