US Army to upgrade US Marines M1A1 tanks to M1A2 SEP V3 standard

According to information and pictures published on the Twitter account of "RonKainen" on November 9, 2022, hundreds of retired US Marines M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) were sent from Sierra Army Depot to Anniston U.S. Army Depot to be rebuilt and upgraded to the M1A2 SEP V3 version for future delivery to U.S. Army.
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Sierra Army Depot is using its strategic location and unique capabilities to send hundreds of M1A1 Abrams (FEP) tanks to Anniston Army Depot for further rebuild (Picture source Twitter account Ronkainen)

As of 2020, the Marine Corps has been pursuing a force restructuring plan named Force 2030. Under this directive, all US Marine tank battalions were deactivated and its M1A1 tanks were transferred to the Army by the end of 2021.

The U.S. Marine Corps has planned to eventually divest the entirety of its M1 fleet, more than 400 vehicles in total, as part of the new Force Design 2030 plans.

The M1 Abrams was followed by the M1A1, with the first production example being completed in August 1985 and continued until early 1993. General Dynamics Land Systems began delivering the first of 299 FY90 M1A1 MBTs in April 1991.

The main armament of the M1A1 Abrams is the 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, developed by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH of Germany. The gun can fire various types of ammunition, as the M829A1 APFSDS-T ammunition (kinetic energy round with long rod penetrator, made of depleted uranium, with a muzzle velocity of 1,575 m/sec, and a maximum effective range of 3,500 meters, but engagement ranges approaching 4,000 meters were successfully demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm)

The hull and the turret of the M1A1 Abrams are based on Chobham armor developed in the UK and give protection against ATGWs and other battlefield weapons. The tank has a crew of four including a driver, commander, gunner and loader.

The M1A1 Abrams is motorized with a Honeywell AGT 1500 gas turbine engine coupled to an Allison automatic transmission X-1100-3B with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can reach a maximum road speed of approximately 68 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 426 km.

US Army to upgrade Marines M1A1 tanks to M1A2 SEP V3 standard 925 002
U.S Army troopers assigned to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division fire the M1A2 SEPV3 Main Battle Tanks as part of gunnery qualification, Sept. 22, 2022, on Mielno Tank Range, Drawsko Pomorskie Training Area, Poland. (Picture Source US DoD)

The Abrams M1A2 SEPV3 is an upgrade to the U.S. Army’s current M1A2 Abrams MBT. The upgraded tank is a tracked, land combat, assault weapon system possessing significant survivability, shoot-on-the-move firepower, joint interoperability (for the exchange of tactical and support information), and a high degree of maneuverability and tactical agility.

The M1A2 SEPv3 includes multiple upgrades to improve:

- Power generation and distribution to support power demands of future technologies
- Network compatibility
- Survivability against multiple threats by incorporating NEA, a new underbody IED kit, and other vulnerability reduction measures to reduce the tank’s vulnerability to IEDs. These measures include redesigned crew seating, additional floor stiffeners, hardware to provide lower limb protection, and changes in the material and dimensions of internal structural supports.
- Lethality by providing the ability for the fire control system to digitally communicate with the new large-caliber ammunition
- Energy efficiency (sustainment) due to the incorporation of an auxiliary power unit

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.

The M1A2 SEP V3 is able to fire the M829E4 (soon to be type-classified as the M829A4) fifth-generation kinetic-energy anti-tank (AT) round. This new round provides heavy-armor defeat capability at extended ranges.