Magazine article National Defense

Army Begins Massive Makeover of Combat Vehicle Fleet

Magazine article National Defense

Army Begins Massive Makeover of Combat Vehicle Fleet

Article excerpt

* The Army has suspended purchases of new combat vehicles for the time being, but it is ploughing ahead with plans to gut aging tanks and equip them with fresh components and electronics, including a new powerful targeting sensor.

More than 1,600 Abrams tanks and 2,500 Bradley infantry combat vehicles would be overhauled over the next decade.

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It will be a complex and demanding project, military and industry officials said. The Army is highly skilled at refurbishing older fleets, but this new effort could be the hardest one yet. It will test the Army's engineering mettle at integrating state-of-the-art electronics into vehicles that were designed for the analog world.

The work will be done in stages. Each phase, called an "engineering change proposal," or ECP, will tackle different parts of the vehicle that need to be modernized, including engines, transmissions, electrical power systems, communications networks, sensors and weapons.

This month, the Army expects to unveil the first Bradleys with updated suspensions and tracks. "It will bring the vehicle back to where it was before the war," said Col. James W. Schirmer, Army program manager for armored fighting vehicles. …

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