In November 1984, Teledyne Continental Motors (taken over by General Dynamics Land Systems) of the USA was awarded a contract to upgrade the firepower and mobility of a single T-54 MBT. This was originally called the T-54E but was subsequently renamed Ramses II. The first prototype of the Ramses II was sent to Egypt for extensive firepower and mobility trials in January 1987 and these were completed in late 1987. Late in 1989, Egypt signed a technical assistance agreement with TCM to support continued Egyptian testing of the Ramses II, with testing commencing in the summer of 1990. By 1998, the Ramses II MBT upgraded MBT had not entered production/upgrade for the Egyptian Army.
The rear hull has been modified to accommodate the new power pack consisting of a TCM AVDS-1790-5A turbocharged diesel developing 908 bhp (which has 80 per cent commonality with the engine installed in the M60A3 MBT) coupled to a Renk RK-304 transmission. Two new exhaust pipes, one either side of the hull rear, replace the single exhaust outlet in the left side of the hull.
The original suspension has been replaced by new General Dynamics Land Systems, Model 2880 in-arm hydropneumatic suspension units each fitted with an M48-type roadwheel, idler at the front, large drive sprocket at the rear, two new track-return rollers and US pattern tracks replacing the original Russian tracks.
A SABCA Titan Mk 1 laser fire-control system has been installed which includes a modified Avimo TL10-T sight incorporating the laser range-finder and an integrated in-eyepiece CRT alphanumeric graphic display. The fire-control system also includes an original SABCA double digital processor, an image intensification periscopic night sight, automatic attitude and atmospheric sensors and associated control boxes.
The gun and turret stabilisation system are provided by HR Textron Incorporated of the United States.
Other modifications include a fire detection and suppression system, new final drives, new fuel tanks, new air filtration system, British Blair Catton tracks, new communications system and a new turret basket.
The original 100 mm gun has been replaced by the 105 mm M68 ordnance which is already fitted in Egyptian M60A3 MBTs, the original breech of the 100 mm DT-10T gun has been retained and modified and the recoil system has also been modified. A muzzle reference system is fitted as standard and an M60 day/ night searchlight is mounted over the 105 mm gun.
Mounted either side of the turret is a bank of four electrically operated smoke dischargers. A collective type NBC system has been installed.