Tank gets new sight

DRS Technologies has been awarded a new development contract from the US Marine Corps for the first phase of the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP).

Successful completion of this Competitive Integration and Development Phase contract could lead to a Final Integration and Prove-Out phase award and a production contract for over 400 systems.

For this $2.2 million award, DRS will build and integrate prototypes of a Second Generation Forward Looking Infrared Thermal Imaging System for the gunner’s sighting system on the Marine Corps’ Abrams Main Battle Tank, significantly increasing its imaging resolution, targeting range, detection capability and reliability.

The same advanced DRS product technology has been incorporated in the sighting systems on the U.S. Army’s M1A2 Abrams battle tanks under the System Enhancement Package (SEP) program, the M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and the M1025 and M1114 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV).

The contract was awarded by the US Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia. Work associated with this contract will be accomplished by the company’s DRS Sensor Systems unit in Torrance, California. Prototypes will be delivered in the summer of 2001 for operational assessment.

The FEP SG FLIR Thermal Imaging System consists of a Thermal Receiver Unit and a Biocular Image Control Unit, replacing four units that comprise the M1A1 platform’s existing thermal sight. Utilizing a 480-by-4 infrared focal plane array produced by the company’s DRS Infrared Technologies unit in Dallas, Texas, it provides high-resolution imagery to detect threats at greater distances under a full range of harsh battlefield conditions, enhancing the platform’s effectiveness and survivability.

Additional information is available on www.drs.com.