Soldiers load M-1 Abrams main battle tanks with supplies prior to a mission during Operation Desert Shield. In the foreground, an ammunition specialist inspects a 105mm armor-piercing, discarding sabot round, used in the tank’s gun.

The US M1A1 Abrams tanks could soon be equipped with a Multi-Sensor Target Acquisition System (MTAS) fire control radar (FCR), according to a tweet from Ronkainen who shared a photo of a photocopy of a U.S. document. Army Communication-Electronics Command (CECOM). Incidentally, the US Army has 750 M1A1 tanks in its service.

The Multi-Sensor Target Acquisition System (MTAS) fire control radar (FCR) is a multipurpose millimeter-wave sensor system currently under development to support extended-range target surveillance, acquisition, and engagement requirements of future armored systems. The prototype system will be integrated with advanced fire control systems as part of that effort.

The MTAS FCS operates as an independent “hunter-kill” sensor and provides automatic search, detection, recognition, and engagement prioritization for multiple ground and helicopter targets.

Operation at millimeter-wave frequencies allows the sensor system to function effectively in all weather conditions including adverse weather and smoke screen; it can target moving as well as stationary objects, can classify targets and relaying the information to either the commander’s or gunner’s display.

At the moment, the MTAS FCS has similar solutions but mostly for air purposes rather than ground. Experts compare MTAS with ships’ radar-based FCS for ground vehicles. Others believe that the Multi-Sensor Target Acquisition System can be used against air targets for faster acquisition using the M830A1 MP-T.

The M830A1, the M830’s successor, provides greater lethality through a higher initial velocity and a multi-purpose fuse. The M830A1 is a fin-stabilized round with a discarding sabot and tactical service round with a tracer.

The M830 is a US high explosive anti-tank high explosive multi-purpose cartridge that has anti-armor and anti-personnel capabilities.

Once the MTAS FCS is integrated in the M1A1 Abrams tanks it will significantly boost its capabilities. Until now, aerial threats, especially those from helicopters, have been its weak link. However the integration of the MTAS FCS is likely to adequate address this issue.