WASHINGTON -- Kuwait wants to upgrade and extend the life of its aging principal tank fleet for an estimated $1.7 billion, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The State Department notified Congress on Dec. 12 of the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Kuwait to recapitalize its 218 M1A2 Abrams tanks.

The prime contractors are General Dynamics Land Systems and Joint Services Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, as well as Kongsberg Defense Systems, Raytheon, Meggitt Defense Systems, Northrop Grumman, DRS Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell.

The sale would include 240 .50 caliber M2A1 machine guns and 480 7.62mm M240 machine guns. The tank upgrades would also include new AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS radios and over 1,000 night vision goggles.

Also to be incorporated onto the tanks would be a cooling system and thermal management system as well as the Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) II.

Kuwait has also requested special armor, 120mm gun tubes and 2nd-generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sights, embedded diagnostics, gunner's primary sights and Counter Sniper and Anti-Materiel Mount (CSAMM) hardware.

The upgrades and modernization work requires depot-level support.

The US Army's Security Assistance Command did not respond to repeated requests for information on where the work to upgrade the tanks would take place.

Saudi Arabia also requested M1A2 tanks this year but Congress blocked the proposed $1.15 billion sale due to growing concerns over the country's bombing campaign in Yemen.

The proposed tank upgrade deal comes on top of a heap of other pending FMS deals this month that include Chinook helicopters for Saudi Arabia, Apache helicopters for the United Arab Emirates and TOW missiles to Morocco.

If completed the possible sales posted in December would have a cumulative total of $9.6 billion. And DSCA’s notification total has risen to just under $44 billion through the first two-and-a-half months of fiscal 2017.

Congress has 30 days to review and weigh in on these potential sales.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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