Kuwait will receive a ‘unique’ M1 Abrams tank, according to a U.S. Department of Defense contract.
On December 19, 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $24.3 million contract “to design, develop, and build a M1A2-k unique tank.” The contract added that the estimated completion date was December 31, 2019.
No further details on the ‘unique’ tank were provided in the contract announcement.
The U.S. State Department notified the U.S. Congress on December 12, 2016, that it had approved a possible foreign military sale to Kuwait for the recapitalization of that country’s 218 M1A2 main battle tanks. The contract carried an estimated value of $1.7 billion if completed. Kuwait, according to the State Department, had requested .50 cal M2A1 machine guns, AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS radios, night vision goggles, and associated equipment for its tank recapitalization efforts.
The State Department press release noted, “Kuwait intends to use this equipment to recapitalize its fleet of M1A2 full track tanks in order to modernize and extend the service of the tanks. Kuwait will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
Several technical support contracts were announced throughout 2017.
However, Kuwait may have adjusted its plans, for, in October 2017, the State Department announced the approval of a possible sale of 218 M1A1 Abrams tank hulls with 120mm cannons as well as 218 AGT-1500 engines. This proposed contract, worth $29 million, was noted as “in support of [Kuwait’s] M1A2 tank recapitalization.”
IHS Jane’s reported later that October that the second approval reflected Kuwait’s interest in purchasing a new fleet of M1A2 Abrams as opposed to upgrading its current fleet. The report cited an official in the State Department, who declined to be named.