US Army plans for modernizing and upgradeing defences, sensors and weapons of armored vehicles and tanks

The US Army is considering upgrading the lethality of the entire M1126 Stryker armored vehicle fleet. Army may “up-gun” the Stryker fleet. In addition to the 30 mm cannon, the Army is reportedly considering adding Javelin anti-tank guided missile (ATGM)-capable remote weapons stations to selected Stryker vehicles to enhance their anti-armor capabilities. Both the 30 mm cannon (developed as part of the Army’s cancelled Future Combat System (FCS) program) and Javelin are considered “mature” technologies by the Army and their integration on the Stryker vehicle could prove to be quicker and perhaps less costly than if these weapons had to be custom-designed. In addition, if the Army does upgrade the entire Stryker fleet, it could drive down the modernization cost per vehicle.

The Army contends it would cost $3.8 million per Stryker including both the 30 millimeter cannon as well as other selected improvements such as a new suspension

The Army intends to begin testing Active Protective Systems (APS) on a number of its combat vehicles, including the Abrams, Bradleys, and Strykers, before FY2019. The Army’s program, designated the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS), will initially focus on “soft- kill” technologies such as vehicle obscurants and electronic defeat systems and then progress to “hard-kill” technologies like the ability to shoot down missiles fired at vehicles. As part of developing MAPS, the Army is looking at existing, non-developmental APS technologies both domestically and foreign-produced, such as Israel’s Trophy APS currently in use with Israeli forces. As part of the Army’s FY2017 budget proposal, the Army reportedly will experiment with commercially available APS systems as part of Abrams, Bradley, and Stryker survivability enhancements.

In March 2006, Pentagon testers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren tested Trophy. An official involved with the tests told NBC that Trophy “worked in every case. The only anomaly was that in one test, the Trophy round hit the RPG’s tail instead of its head. But according to our test criteria, the system was 30 for 30.

The Russian rocket-propelled grenade RPG-30 is designed to overcome these tank defense systems. RPG-30 first fires a decoy for the active protection and then the real rocket grenade.

In response to concerns that the RPG-30 had fallen into the hands of Hezbollah fighters, Israel Defense reported that the Rafael weapons development authority developed a defense system called the “Trench Coat” that can counteract the RPG-30, by utilizing a 360-degree radar to detect all threats and, in the case of one, launch 17 projectiles, one of which should strike the incoming missiles.

Upgrades to the Ambrams Tanks

More than 1,600 M1 Abrams tanks and 2,500 M2/M3 Bradley infantry combat vehicles would be overhauled over the next decade.

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.

Beginning in FY2017, Abrams Tank improvements include network compatibility, mass memory upgrade, power generation and distribution. Upgrades to the tank’s electronic architecture and power distribution system enable integration of the Army’s future battle command and communication systems. Protection improvements include armor upgrade and integration of counterradio-controlled IED electronic jammers. A new auxiliary power unit and advanced on-board diagnostics will improve sustainability by reducing the fuel usage and the cost of spare parts.

In 2024, Abrams upgrades will improve the tank’s lethality through enhancements in sights and sensors that are centered on the integration of the next generation of forward looking infrared (FLIR) technology, a color camera and a laser range finder.

Army plans call for an upgraded M-1A3 Abrams and an upgraded Stryker vehicle. The Army, however, is planning for a successor to the Bradley—the Future Fighting Vehicle (FFV).