US Army 3rd battalion 8th Cavalry receives first M1A2 SEP V3 M1A2C main battle tanks
The 3rd battalion, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team is the first brigade of the U.S. Army to receive the newest version of M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT), the new SEP V3 variant. The Abrams M1A2 SEP V3 (System Enhanced Package) is a modernized version of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank (MBT) in service with the US Army, offering enhanced protection and survivability, as well as higher lethality than the previous version of the M1 Abrams tanks.
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3rd battalion, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team is the first brigade of U.S. army to receive M1A2 SEP V3 or M1A2C main battle tank. (Picture source Twitter account Greywolf Brigade)
In December 2015, US Army TACOM (U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command) Lifecycle Management Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems to upgrade its M1A2 SEPV2 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPV3 configuration, followed by another contract in October 2017 to produce 45 Abrams M1A2 SEP V3 main battle tanks.
The general design of the M1A2 SEPV 3 MBT looks very similar to the standard version of the M1A2. The first production M1 MBT was completed in February 1980, and M1 assembly began at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in 1982. The Improved M1 was followed by the M1A1, with the first production example being completed in August 1985 and continued until early 1993.
The upgrade of the M1 Abrams MBT to the M1A2 version was confirmed on 18 December 1992 when the Office of the Secretary of Defense authorized Phase I to upgrade 210 MBTs. The first contract, which covered production planning and the conversion of four M1 MBTs into pilot vehicles, was issued to General Dynamics Land Systems Division in February 1993.
The M1A2 SEP V3, now named M1A2C is armed with one 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon. The second armament includes a coaxial 7.62 mm M240 machine gun mounted to the right of the main gun The tank is also equipped with a Low Profile (LP) CROW (Common Remotely Operated Weapon System) mounted on the turret.
The layout of the M1A2 SEP V3 is similar to the M1A2 MBT with the driver position at the front in the center, the turret is in the middle of the hull and the powerpack at the rear. The hull and turret integrate a new armor package for superior protection against threats from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The tank can be equipped with reactive armor and slat armor.
The M1A2 SEP V3 is equipped with a new improved entire IED capability electronic warfare build on the vehicle. The tank is also 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.