QUANTICO, Va. – Vetronics experts at the Raytheon Co. are moving forward with an effort to upgrade the fire-control system in the U.S. Marine Corps General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams main battle tank to improve the tank crew’s situational awareness.
Officials of the Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico Marine Base, Va., announced a $10.2 million order Friday to the Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems segment in McKinney, Texas, for the Abrams Integrated Display and Targeting System (AIDATS).
The AIDATS upgrade to the Marine Corps’s 400 M1A1 tank will improve the tank commander’s situational awareness with an upgraded thermal sight, color day camera, and single stationary display.
AIDATS is an upgrade to the current uncooled thermal sight module and display control module for the stabilized commander’s weapon station on Marines Corps M1A1 tank. It replaces the M1A1’s black-and-white camera view with a color one and adds a daylight and nighttime thermal sight, simplified handling with one set of controls, and a slew-to-cue button that repositions the turret with one command.
Friday’s order is for the second year of production for Marine Corps M1A2 tank AIDATS systems, as well as for shipping container sets.
Tests show that AIDATS reduces the M1A1’s target engagement time from six seconds to three by enabling the commander and gunner to work more closely and collaborate better on target acquisition.
The system is the primary interface between the tank commander and his weapon system, and consists of color day camera, uncooled thermal sight, system display and processor, power filter module, software and firmware, as well as related components and spare parts.
AIDATS provides the tank commander with a fixed system display that enables him to remain safely under armor while firing the tank’s 120-millimeter main gun, .50 caliber heavy machine gun, or 7.62-millimeter machine guns.
The system display, power filter module, and cabling are integrated into the interior of the M1A1 turret in front of the tank commander’s position without interfering with simultaneous movement of the tank turret and tank commander cupola.
The color day camera and thermal sight are mounted on the outside of the M1A1 and are attached to the stabilized commander’s weapon station.
The AIDATS will accept at least two auxiliary video inputs — one for the firepower enhancement program thermal imaging system, and the second for a spare for potential future growth.
The imagery displayed on the AIDATS comes at the turret wall as a video output. Stadiameteric reticles for the selected weapon display in the thermal and day camera imagery.
Raytheon was the original manufacturer of the commander’s independent thermal viewer (CITV) on the U.S. Army M1A2 main battle tank, which helps the commander locate targets and pass them on for the gunner to engage while the commander scans for new targets.