Posted On Friday, 11 February 2022 17:17
According to information published by the Defense Arab Twitter account on February 10, 2022, Saudi Arabia has received a new batch of 153 American-made M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) at the end of 2021 that will be upgraded to the M1A2S standard. Saudi Arabia has the third-largest fleet of M1A2 MBTs in the world.
United States has delivered 153 additional M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to Saudi Arabia at the end of 2021. (Picture source Twitter account Arab Defense)
According to the Military Balance 2021, Saudi Arabia's armed forces have a total of 960 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) including 140 AMX-30, 450 M1A2/ M1A2S, and 370 M60A3. Following SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Arms Trade Database information, in 2009, Saudi Arabia has ordered 314 M1A1 Abrams MBTs that were converted to M1A2S standard. In 2016, the second batch of 153 M1A2S was ordered.
On 28 July 2006 the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Saudi Arabia of M1A1 and upgrade of M1A2 to M1A2S Abrams tanks as well as associated equipment and services.
This proposed sale consists of three phases: (1) engineering phase for 30 months, (2) purchase of and upgrade of 58 M1A1s to M1A2S (Saudi) configuration, and (3) teardown of the 315 M1A2 Abrams in Saudi Arabia’s tank fleet and upgrade to the M1A2S configuration. The Abrams Integrated Management(AIM) program was designed economically to rebuild and maintain the M1A1 Main Battle Tank (MBT) to a ‘like-new condition to improve fleet readiness and reduce sustainment costs. The 58 M1A1s would undergo an ‘AIM-like’ process and will be upgraded to the M1A2S configuration in the United States. The 315 Saudi M1A2A MBTs would undergo an ‘AIM-like’ process and would be re-configured to the M1A2S configuration.
The M1A2S is a program launched by the Saudi defense industry focusing on designing, developing and converting both M1s and M1A2s to an M1A2S configuration, with the goal of increasing the vehicle’s lethality while limiting obsolescence issues.
Citing information from the Global Security website, the M1A2S tank is an enhanced version of the American M1A2 Abrams MBT fitted with an improved hunter/killer capability with second-generation FLIR.
The M1A2S keeps the same armament as the American M1A2 Abrams consisting of one 120 mm smooth bore M256 cannon which can fire a wide range of ammunition as the M829 APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot), M830 HEAT-MP-T (High Explosive Anti-Tank-Multi Purpose - Tracer), M831 TP-T training round and M865 TPCSDS-T training round. Mounted coaxial to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun, and a similar weapon skate-mounted on the left side of the turret for the loader can be elevated from -30 to +65º, total traverse being 265º. The commander's station is armed with a standard 12.7 mm Browning M2 HB heavy machine gun which can be elevated from -10 to +65º and traversed through 360º.