Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Australian Army Abrams 

I havn't been updating this blog as much as I would like..so my first update is about the "new" Australian Army Abrams we just bought..

M1 Abrams Chosen as Australian Army’s Replacement Tank.
The Government will equip the Australian Army with a fleet of 59 United States M1A1 Abrams Integrated Management main battle tanks to replace the ageing Leopards, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today. The project cost is about $550 million. The Abrams tanks are significantly more capable than the current tank and will contribute to the Army becoming more lethal in future close combat. The Government accepted Defence’s advice that the Abrams is the best capability and the best value for money with the lowest risk of the three replacement tank options examined.

Official Government Release.

The M1A1 AIM tank was selected for the following reasons:

The M1A1 AIM has the best overall survivability of the options considered. It offers battlefield proven protection for its crews.
The M1A1 AIM in Australian service will be very similar to the remainder of the large user community. It is part of a large fleet with stable, known operating costs, which will be in service beyond 2020.
They will be configured as part of a fleet of 3,500 similar vehicles across the world. These particular vehicles will be very similar to over 2,500 vehicles operated by the US to at least 2020.
The M1A1 AIM has the best potential to support network centric warfare. It offers a proven integrated and highly capable radio and battlespace management system.
The M1A1 AIM is assessed to have the least technical acquisition risk as the vehicle type and configuration for Australian service is already in production. It is a proven design, which is already in contract.
The M1A1 AIM is the right tank for Australian service. It is a highly survivable and affordable vehicle, with excellent potential for network centric warfare. The M1A1 provides the best value for Commonwealth dollar with low production and technical risk.
The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) offer for the M1A1 includes, spares, training, support vehicles, Armoured Recovery Vehicles, simulation systems, radios and ancillary equipment as part of the overall package.
The M1A1 that ADF will procure are essentially remanufactured vehicles. They have been returned to a zero miles zero hours condition. This will provide substantial cost benefits in comparison to purchasing new vehicles.
The M1A1 Abrams weighs less than 63,000 kilograms (<63 tonnes) when fully combat laden. This is only slightly heavier than the Leopard 2 and is lighter than the Challenger takes that were considered. All three tank options that were considered are within 1000 kg of each other in combat configuration. In transport configuration the M1A1 will weigh around 59-60 tonnes.
Additional Heavy Equipment Transporters and trailers will be procured under Project Land 121.
The crane that loaded tanks in Darwin would be capable of doing the same for M1. We have an ongoing discussion about strategic rail transport in Australia and the issue of appropriate rolling stock will continue to be discussed.

And from The Australin..

Despite concern among military experts about its suitability, the National Security Committee of cabinet decided yesterday to buy the state-of-the-art US tank instead of the lighter, German-built Leopard II.
The decision to go American follows a deal two weeks ago giving unprecedented access to US naval technology for Australia's new air warfare destroyers.
The Abrams M1A1 fleet will replace Australia's 100 30-year-old Leopard tanks, which lack firepower and the armour to adequately protect crew from mines and hand-held anti-armour weapons.

Now there's talk of the JSF/F-35 being late.

But the decision came as a senior US official, visiting Canberra yesterday, expressed concern over "growing pains" with another US defence project -- the development of the $US200billion ($264billion) new-generation F-35 joint strike fighter.
Australia is expected to order up to 100 of the fighters, to be delivered in 2012, but the project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. This has raised concerns as to whether Canberra should buy an interim fighter to cover a gap between the retirement of the F-111 fighter bomber, which is to be retired from 2010, and the delivery of the F-35.

If we bought an interim fighter...what would we do once we got the F-35s? Seems pretty pointless...may as well just "hire" some American (or British) jets like we did with the Phantoms.

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