General Dynamics to produce more M1A2 SEP V3 main battle tanks for US Army
According to a contract published by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) on December 18, 2020, General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., Sterling Heights, Michigan, was awarded a $4,620,000,000 fixed-price-incentive contract to produce Abrams M1A2 SEP v3 main battle tanks for the U.S. Army.
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U.S. soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division prepare test-fire with the new M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams Main Battle Tank, Fort Hood, Texas, August 18, 2020. (Picture source U.S. army)
The M1A2 SEPV V3 is a modernized version of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank offering enhanced protection and survivability, as well as higher lethality that the previous versions of the M1 Abrams series. The new tank also features as new armor, communications, reliability, sustainment, and fuel efficiency.
The first upgraded of M1A2 SEP V2 Main Battle Tank (MBT) to the V3 configuration was ordered in December 2015 and the first production vehicles were delivered to the U.S. Army in October 2017. In July 2018, the U.S. ordered the upgrade of 100 M1A1 MBT to General Dynamics and in January 2019, and additional order to upgrade 174 M1A1 MBT to the standard M1A2 SEP V3 which is now called M1A2C in the U.S. Army.
The M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 (System Enhanced Package) is a modernized version of the M1A2 SEPV v2 main battle tank that benefits from a number of upgrades in the areas of survivability, maintainability, full efficiency and network capability. In October 2015, the M1A2 SP V3 was presented for the first time at AUSA defense exhibition in Washington D.C.
The design of the M1A2 SEP V3 is similar to the standard M1A2 Abrams MBT with a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner and loader. The tank is fitted with a new armor package inside the turret and the hull to provide better survivability against multiple IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threats.
The main armament of M1A2 SEP V3 includes one 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon. The tank will be fitted with a Low Profile (LP) CROW (Common Remotely Operated Weapon System). This effort improves the tank commander’s situational awareness without compromising capability. LP CROWS significantly lowers the profile of the weapon station, returning both open- and closed-hatch fields of view (FOV). Also, LP CROWS will be equipped with an upgraded day camera that uses picture-in-picture technology to combine different FOVs, and it offers a 340 percent larger scene in the wide FOV. Second armament includes a coaxial 7.62 mm M240 machine gun mounted to the right of the main gun, and a similar weapon skate-mounted on the left side of the turret for the loader can be elevated from -30 to +65º, total traverse being 265º. The loader hatch weapon system is now protected by armor plates on 360°.
The M1A2 SEP V3 is equipped with a new improved entire IED capability electronic warfare build on the vehicle. This tank will be fitted with (IFLIR) Improved Forward-Looking Infrared to identify a target. The IFLIR uses long- and mid-wave infrared technology in both the gunner’s primary sight and the commander’s independent thermal viewer. The IFLIR will provide four fields of view (FOV) displayed on high-definition displays, greatly improving target acquisition, identification and engagement times – compared to the current second-generation FLIR – under all conditions, including fog / obscurants. This version features also all the equipment and combat systems of the M1A2 SEP V2 variant awareness operational requirements.