US Department of Defense,
BAGHDAD: Program managers from the United States and Iraq, along with representatives from the General Dynamics Contract Logistics Support group, met on Mar. 4 to discuss the fielding of M1A1SA Abrams tanks for the Iraqi Army.
The tank fielding is in the early stages with introductory training currently underway at the Besmaya Combat Training Center.
The tanks are scheduled to arrive over an 18-month period in groups of 35, according to Mark Bangsboll of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq’s Joint Headquarters Army Advisory Training Team Planning Office.
Charles Campbell, JHAATT M1A1SA program coordinator, said, “This meeting is meant to initiate dialog on the support and sustainment required for the M1A1SA program, as well as setting-up delivery, fielding, and training. The first regiment will begin full-scale training in December of 2010. From there, we would instruct and train on how to support and sustain these tanks. “
The group included U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Dave Ogg, U.S. Army Ground Combat System program manager for the M1A1 tank program; Brig. Gen. Steven Salazar, Deputy Commanding General, MNSTC-I JHAATT; and Brig. Gen. Charles Luckey, Deputy Commanding General, MNSTC-I Security Assistance Office. Representing the Iraqi Army was Secretary General Mohan, Ministry of Defense Military Advisor; Staff Brig. Gen. Hazim Ahmed Hassan, Iraqi M1A1SA program manager; Staff Col. Abdul Ameer Qwaid Alaiwi, M1A1SA program associate; and Staff Col. Razzaq Mayih, also with the M1A1SA program.
Eugene Meredith, General Dynamics CLS, said, “The new M1A1SA technology makes it perform better in a desert environment. The technology, related to the gunnery and air filtration systems, helps the new tank perform much better than the previous Iraqi fleet of mostly Russian T-72s and French models.”
The presentation by CLS provided a detailed program including training for tank crews, a spare parts logistics program, including warehousing and inventory control, and a security agreement for sensitive weapons and communications systems featured in the M1A1SA Abrams.
According to Luckey, “Properly fielded and maintained, the M1A1 represents a quantum leap in the modernization of the Iraqi Army. The survivability, lethality and agility of this tank in a desert environment have been proven repeatedly.”
MNSTC-I’s efforts in supporting the Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi Army represents a vital step towards ensuring Iraq’s self-sufficiency for the future.