UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Tank Firepower Enhancement Program to reach full production

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 2004123151651
Story by Maj. R. Crum

MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, Quantico, VA (Dec. 3, 2004) -- Recently, Marine Corps Systems Command signed the Milestone C Decision for full rate production of the M1A1 Tank Firepower Enhancement Program (FEP). Installed on the M1A1 Tank, the FEP will bring the MAGTF all weather, thermal, day or night, rapid and accurate target engagement capability. Additionally, it will couple extended engagement ranges with a new Far Target Locate (FTL) function. Overall, the FEP greatly increases tank lethality and extends the Marine Corps overmatch of current and expected threat systems beyond 2018.

The Firepower Enhancement Program is a suite of upgrades for the M1A1 tank that will be installed on all 403 existing platforms. “It includes a second-generation thermal sight, the aforementioned FTL capability, and an eye-safe laser rangefinder”, said Mr. Jim Shaffer, lead engineer, Team FEP. The second-generation thermal sight consists of upgrades to the M1A1's infrared optics, an infrared focal plane array, associated analog and digital electronics, display, and brackets and cables. The FTL consists of a North Finding Module (NFM), bracket, cables and inputs from the existing laser rangefinder, and a Precision Lightweight Global Positioning Receiver (PLGR). The FTL formulates a targeting solution using inputs from the laser rangefinder, the PLGR and the NFM. The eye-safe laser rangefinder will replace the current non-eye-safe rangefinder.

The FTL is a new capability for the entire US tank fleet, and will initially be unique to the Marine Corps, providing our tank crews with accurate target location out to 8,000m with less than 35m Circular Error Probable (CEP). "This is an impressive and operationally significant statistic, in that an accurate grid location to within 35m of the target will be provided for situational awareness and or subsequent engagement by artillery or air," according to Lieutenant Colonel John D. Swift, program manager, Tank Systems.

Milestone C ultimately releases $121.5 million in procurement to begin full rate production, followed by install and Initial Operating Capability in FY '06. All 403 systems will be fielded and installed for Fully Operational Capability by end FY '09.

Once fielded, the FEP will increase the lethality and survivability of Marine warfighters according to Swift.


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list