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Thales Australia delivers Hawkei military vehicles
by Richard Tomkins
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Nov 16, 2016

Lockheed Martin to upgrade M1A2S training system for Saudi Arabia
Washington (UPI) Nov 16, 2016 - The U.S. Army has contracted Lockheed Martin to upgrade the M1A2S Advanced Gunnery Training System for a foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia.

The M1A2S is a specialized Saudi Arabian variant of the M1A2 Abrams tank, which affords tank commanders an independent thermal sight capability. This feature allows operators to attack two targets at once without the need to acquire each one sequentially.

The Advanced Gunnery Training System, or AGTS, is a training simulator for tank operators designed to prepare operators for a variety of situations they may encounter on the battlefield.

Under the $48 million contract with the U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin will upgrade the M1A2S AGTS at their facility in Orlando, Florida. The work is expected to be complete by April 28, 2019.

The Australian military has received Hawkei armor-protected vehicles from Thales Australia, part of an intial production from a local plant.

The delivery was witnessed by Australia's Minister for Defense Industry Christopher Pyne.

"The Hawkei, built right here in Australia, is another triumph of the capability of our defense industry, which is able to compete with the world's best," he said.

"Hawkei production will involve about 170 jobs in the Bendigo region [of Queensland]. It's expected approximately 60 additional jobs will be created in Thales' supply chain to support the production of the Hawkei vehicle."

The Hawkei is a 4x4 that carries four troops and can be airlifted by Chinook helicopters. They are for reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions.

It has an operational range of about 373 miles.

The Department of Defense signed a billion-dollar contract with Thales Australia last year for production of 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1000 companion trailers.

The initial production run is 10 vehicles. Full-rate production begins in 2018.

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