Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 (System Enhanced Package) is a modernised configuration of the Abrams main battle tank (MBT) in service with the US Army. The new version offers enhanced protection and survivability, as well as higher lethality than its predecessors.
The tank also features various advancements in technology, including improved armour, communications, reliability, sustainment, and fuel efficiency.
Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 orders and deliveries
The US Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command placed an order worth $92.2m with General Dynamics Land Systems to upgrade its M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration in December 2015. The first Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 initial production vehicle was delivered to the US Army in October 2017.
General Dynamics Land Systems also received a $270m contract from the US Army Tank Automotive Command to manufacture 45 Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks in October 2017.
The US Army placed an order with General Dynamics for the upgrade of 100 M1A1 MBTs to M1A2 SEPv3 in July 2018. General Dynamics Land Systems received a $714m delivery order from the US Army to upgrade an additional 174 M1A1 MBTs to M1A2 SEPv3 standard in January 2019.
In December 2020, General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded a $4.6bn fixed-price incentive contract to produce Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 MBTs for the US Army. The first delivery order was valued at $406m. The delivery of all the tanks under the contract is expected to be completed in June 2028.
The government of Australia’s request to buy 75 Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 MBTs and associated vehicles through the US’ Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme was approved by the US State Department in April 2021.
The US Department of Defense approved the sale of 250 Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks to Poland in February 2022.
The US Army placed a $1.1bn FMS order to General Dynamics Land Systems to deliver the tanks to Poland in August 2022.
In January 2023, the US government announced the supply of 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks along with eight M88 recovery vehicles to Ukraine.
Design and features of Abrams M1A2 SEPv3
The M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 retains the layout of the M1A2 MBT with the driver’s cab at the forward centre hull, turret in the middle and power-pack at the rear. The tank integrates the line-replaceable module technology to enable easy maintenance of the fleet.
The tank integrates joint tactical radio system handheld, man-pack, and small-form fit radio to ensure network readiness and interoperation with future brigade combat teams.
The MBT measures 9.7m-long, 3.7m-wide and 2.4m-high, and is manned by a crew of four, including the driver, commander, loader, and gunner.
The main gun fitted on the MBT is an M256 120mm smoothbore cannon, which can fire M829A4 advanced kinetic energy and advanced multi-purpose (AMP) rounds to defend armoured vehicles, personnel and low-flying aircraft.
The tank features a low-profile common remotely operated weapon system (Crows) installed with a 12.7mm machine gun. A 7.62mm M240 machine gun is also mounted coaxially with the main gun.
Abrams tank observation and fire control
The tank is fitted with improved forward-looking infrared (IFLIR) to detect targets. The IFLIR employs long and mid-wave infrared technology to enhance target acquisition, identification, and engagement compared to the existing second-generation FLIR.
The Crows will be equipped with an upgraded day camera that uses picture-in-picture technology to combine different FOVs. It offers a 340% larger scene in wide FOV.
The ammunition data link on board the tank ensures the programming of the M829A4 and AMP rounds.
The hull and turret integrate a new armour package for superior protection against threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The tank can be hinged with reactive armour and slat armour.
The CREW Duke V3 counter remote-controlled IED electronic warfare system protects the crew from roadside bombs and IED attacks.
Either side of the turret is fitted with M250 six-barrelled smoke grenade dischargers. A smokescreen can also be laid by an engine-operated system.
Engine and mobility of Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tank
The M1A2 SEPv3 is powered by a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine, which develops a power of 1,500hp. The auxiliary power unit under the armour enables the tank to operate on-board systems with a reduced probability of detection during silent watch operations.
The generator allows for turret operation without power from the main engine when the vehicle is in stationary position, resulting in improved fuel efficiency.
The tank is also equipped with advanced power generation and distribution systems such as an improved amperage alternator, a slip ring, enhanced hull power distribution unit/common remote switching modules, and a battery monitoring system.
The running gear includes seven road wheels with a drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front, and two return rollers on either side. The first, second, and seventh road wheel stations are fitted with rotary shock absorbers.