Full-scale production of US light tanks begins, first one in 2023

WASHINGTON — Full-scale serial production of light tanks begins in the USA. This will happen next month, November, announced the winner of the competition General Dynamics Land Systems. Gen. Glenn Dean, director of the Army’s Ground Combat Systems Program, announced that at the end of the fiscal year 2023, the first of many light tanks for the US Army will be delivered.

US chose Griffin II tank: 105mm gun, lighter chassis than M8 Buford
Photo credit: US Army / Twitter

After the first tank enters service by the end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025, another 41 units should arrive to form the first battalion of light tanks. Otherwise, the USA will expect to receive 96 tanks in two days. A little over 1 billion USD is the price for the delivery of the 96 tanks.

In the US, they are satisfied that there is communication between the manufacturer and the soldiers. Brigadier General Jeffrey Norman said the soldiers are sending positive feedback, stressing that General Dynamics Land Systems is enjoying the lack of comments from them.

However, there are problems. The Army is currently working with GDLS to address overheating issues experienced by vehicles tested at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. “The hydraulic systems were heating up; we think it’s an airflow issue. GD has already prepared a draft for an amendment that we need to check,” said Dean. Also, there is work to do to better seal the hatches.

Photo credit: GDLS

By the end of 2035, the US should have 504 GDLS light tanks. This is a large-scale program estimated at 14 billion USD, including a special vehicle for tank maintenance, research, development, construction of specific infrastructure, personnel training, etc.

About GDLS light tank

One of the main key benefits for GDLS to win the $ 1.14 billion contract is the lightweight chassis built on the Austro-Spanish armored vehicle platform ASCOD. For the US market ASCOD was developed under the Griffin name [Griffin II for GDLS light tank]. Even during the tests, attention was paid to this fact, finding that the GDLS tank is much lighter, faster, and more mobile than the chassis of BAE Systems, which is the M8 Buford.

The new US Army light tank will be equipped with a 105mm XM35 gun. Griffin II will operate the state-of-art GDLS turret. Also, GDLS tank will operate the latest version of the fire control system [FCS].

Combat weight of the GDLS light tank will be around 38 tones and four man crew. The vehicle will be Air transport by 2 RORO on C17. GDLS light tank will be powered by one MTU DD MT881 V8 [Germany], Allison 3040 MX transmission which is hydromechanical type, 4 forward and 2 reverse gears and 28.9 hp/ton (aprox) power-to-weight ratio. Its suspension could be horstman hydro-pneumatic, in-arm type, steel double pin detachable rubber pads track, and six pair wheels per side.

In addition to the 105mm cannon, the tank will be equipped with 7.62mm M240 coaxial weapon. A 12.7mm M2 commander’s weapon is also integraded. The tank will use Raytheon gunner’s primary sight, two-axis stabilized, day/night – thermal, LRF and commander’s independent tactical viewer [CITV] Safran PASEO, two-axis stabilized, day/night – thermal, LRF, hunter-killer.

About ASCOD / Griffin

The Austro-Spanish platform ASCOD [Griffin] is gaining more and more popularity in the industry of heavily armored combat vehicles. Griffin III, for example, was developed to participate in the US Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle [OMFV] program. Unlike the Griffin II weapon system, the Griffin III weapon system is made up of a 50 mm XM913 main gun. The chassis is also as light as the light tank version, and has an integrated IMI Systems ’Iron Fist Active Protection System [APS] as well as AeroVironment’s Switchblade loitering ammunition system.

Spain unveils the 105mm Ascod light tank with Elbit turret
Photo: GDELS


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