Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR AUG 2014 Contents COVER STORY
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 01 | AUG 2014
To optimise the FGC the Army will comprise three ‘like’ Mul-
ti-role Combat Brigades (MCB) with one at ‘ready’ status, one
being reconstituted (‘reset’) and one being trained (‘readying’).
At the core of each MCB will be an armoured cavalry regiment
(ACR), with each ACR comprising ASLAV 8x8 cavalry vehicles,
M113AS4 tracked armoured personnel carriers and a squadron of
M1A1 Abrams. Each of the tank squadrons will be located at three
different locations around the country.
This will require the Army’s MBT capability to grow from two
squadrons to three, potentially driving a purchase of additional
M1A1 Abrams and M88A2 HERCULES to provide a tank squadron
(about 15 gun tanks) for each of the three ACR.
When asked by DTR if the purchase of additional M1A1 Abrams
was planned, a Defence spokesperson was non-committal saying
that Army is “considering a range of options to provide a tank capa-
bility to each of the three combat brigades”.
A decision will be made, according to Head of Modernisation and
Strategic Planning Major General Jeff Sengelman, as to whether the
squadrons within 1st Armoured Regiment in Darwin are broken up
and located with each of the ACR.
“That is certainly what I favour,” MAJGEN Sengelman said in
early 2014. “We are just looking at the feasibility of that – taking the
tanks out of Darwin completely, leaving some tanks in the 1st Bri-
gade in Darwin and Adelaide and moving tanks to Townsville and
to the south Queensland area.”
In order for the Army’s MBT capability to stay relevant against
current and emerging threats, selected elements of the General
Dynamics Land Systems Tank Urban Survivability Kit (TUSK)
have been procured for the entire M1A1 Abrams fleet.
These include the M-19 Abrams Reactive Armor Tiles (ARAT)
add-on armour (operational and training tiles) for the side skirts,
Loaders Armored Gun Shield (LAGS 2) and Remote Thermal Sight
(RTS), and a Commanders Weapon Station (CWS) for the M88A2
HERCULES. ARAT and LAGS 2 have been accepted into service,
with the RTS and CWS due for delivery by mid-2015.
In May, the Defence Materiel Organisation announced a
AUD$58 million initiative to upgrade the M1A1 Abrams and
M88A2 HERCULES fleets. The Tank Technical Refresh (TTR)
will ensure these platforms are able to maintain high availability
rates as they approach a decade in service and the demands of Plan
Beersheba are fully realised.
The TTR involves a series of maintenance activities aimed at
maintaining a baseline build-state configuration. TTR work pack-
ages include making selected engineering changes, refreshing the
engine and transmission, replacing flexible hydraulic hose systems,
inspecting electrical cabling systems, replacing unserviceable line
replacement units and installing a heavy suspension kit.
The TTR will also see a refresh of the six AGTS by Rheinmetall
Simulation Australia, the capability to be delivered in February 2015.
Separately, Honeywell Aerospace has signed an agreement with
TAE to establish a repair, overhaul and test facility for the M1A1
Abrams’ Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine at TAE’s premises
on RAAF Base Amberley in south-east Queensland. DTR
Despite its 63 tonne combat weight the M1A1 Abrams is
well suited to operating across Australia and throughout
the temperate and sub-tropical neighbourhood to the north,
including traversing jungle terrain.
Whilst the M1A1 Abrams may not be able to retain ideal
mobility in all regions and across all types of terrain during
the worst of wet season conditions, its ground pressure of
0.97kg/cm2 is less than half that of an 8x8 wheeled vehicle
such as the 18.5 tonne Stryker, which has a ground pressure
at standard tyre pressures of 2.05kg/cm2.
ABOVE: ARAT add-on armour attached to side skirts and the
Loaders Armored Gun Shield 2 – elements of the TUSK upgrade
– can be seen on this 1st Armoured Regiment M1A1 Abrams.
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