American armored vehicles took a real beating in
Iraq, even if they were never hit by enemy fire. The heat, the sand,
and the constant work wears these vehicles down. So the U.S. Army has
come up with a $700,000 "reset" process that refurbishes and upgrades
M-1 tanks to M-1A1SA models. What the crews particularly like about
these SA (Situational Awareness) models is the new Blue Force Tracker
(BFT) gear, which reliably shows them where all friendly (BFT equipped)
vehicles are at all times, on a map display. Then there is the new and
improved thermal sights, that provide better images at longer ranges
(exact range is secret, but said to be over two kilometers). The .50
caliber machine-gun topside gets a thermal sight. There is now a phone
box mounted on the side, for the infantry to use to talk to the crew.
There are a lot of upgrades and improvements in the electrical system,
many based on soldier suggestions.
The experience in Iraq has thus produced a version of the M-1 that is optimized for infantry support.