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GENERAL DYNAMICS ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF FIRST PILOT PRODUCTION M1A2 MAIN BATTLE TANK

 GENERAL DYNAMICS ANNOUNCES COMPLETION
 OF FIRST PILOT PRODUCTION M1A2 MAIN BATTLE TANK
 STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- General Dynamics Land Systems Division announced today that it has completed assembly of the first of five pilot production M1A2 main battle tanks, a major milestone in the evolution of the Abrams tank series. The M1A2 is the successor to the M1A1 which performed outstandingly in the Gulf War. Low rate initial production of the M1A2 is scheduled to begin in the fall of 1992 for fielding in the spring of 1993.
 In December 1989, the U.S. Army awarded a contract to Land Systems for full-scale development of the M1A2. The contract included engineering development and development of the production process, providing for verification of the manufacturing process via delivery of five pilot production vehicles.
 Delivery of the first pilot vehicle was originally scheduled for the spring of 1992. R. Gary Diaz, vice president-research, engineering and logistics, and the M1A2 program director, said, "Pilot vehicle integration and tests within 36 months of program go-ahead is an achievement of which General Dynamics and the Army justifiably can be proud."
 To minimize schedule risk and maximize product value, General Dynamics and its contractor team employed a unique concurrent engineering approach in which the product and production process were developed simultaneously. This pioneering approach brought manufacturing, material, quality personnel and product engineering together in a highly successful team approach that produced the first pilot vehicle three months ahead of schedule.
 Since the first prototype vehicles were turned over to the Army in 1991, the M1A2 has completed approximately 8,100 miles of rugged testing and about 1,300 rounds of test firing. The first pilot vehicle is now undergoing quality checkout at the Lima Army Tank Plant (Lima, Ohio), where it was manufactured and assembled. The M1A2 is now completing its scheduled testing by the U.S. Army in preparation for a low rate initial production decision now scheduled for the first quarter of 1992.
 "Early development of this vehicle was possible because of the close working relationship of the U.S. Army, Land Systems Division, the UAW- represented work force and an equally dedicated contracting team," said George P. Psihas, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Land Systems Division.
 Through the introduction of extensive electronic upgrades, which will provide the tank commander with a hunter-killer capability, and vetronics equipment, including a position navigation unit and an inter- vehicular information system, the M1A2 will help the tank commander manage the battlefield environment. These upgrades will provide offensive and defensive capabilities that will markedly improve battlefield performance of the Abrams tank. The U.S. Army is scheduled to receive at least 62 M1A2 vehicles in the spring of 1993. The government of Saudi Arabia has also ordered 465 M1A2 tanks for delivery over a three-year period beginning in 1993. Land Systems Division is the leading manufacturer of armored combat vehicles and support services to the U.S. and allied countries around the world.
 -0- 1/15/92
 /CONTACT: Donald L. Gilleland, 313-825-7930, or Karl G. Oskoian, 313-825-7980, both of General Dynamics Land Systems Division/
 (GD) CO: General Dynamics Land Systems Division; United States Army ST: Michigan IN: ARO SU:


SM -- DE019 -- 0122 01/15/92 15:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 15, 1992
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