Military Review

Project M1A2C Abrams. Modernized tanks in the frame

Since last year, American enterprises have been engaged in serial modernization of existing main combat tanks Abrams by project M1A2C. A few days ago, the first photo of a modernized tank with a full set of new equipment for various purposes appeared in the public domain. This model of the armored vehicle is noticeably different from the prototypes shown earlier. Most likely, the other modernized tanks will have the same appearance.

Recall, the M1A2C project, until last year known as M1A2 SEP v.3, provides for a significant upgrade of M1A2 tanks (including SEP v.2), aimed at increasing all the main parameters. Enhancement of protection due to new components, replacement of a part of electronic equipment, modernization of the power plant, etc. are proposed. Also in the course of upgrading should be carried out repair equipment, allowing to extend the service life.

Tank M1A2C on the Yuma range. Photo

The first prototype of the tank, then still designated as M1A2 SEP v.3, was first shown to specialists and the public in the autumn of 2016. In the future, several prototypes were tested, after which contracts appeared for a massive update of equipment. To date, a number of tanks have been upgraded, and some have fallen into the camera lens.


The first known photograph of the MBT Abrams in the new configuration was made at the Hume test site, one of the main sites for testing land combat equipment. The tank was not fully captured, but this did not prevent identifying it in the right way. Soon, specialized resources turned their attention to an updated Leonardo DRS advertising brochure, in which very interesting materials were present.

The Italian organization is involved in the modernization of American tanks as an installer of active protection complexes. Not so long ago, she updated the promotional materials for KAZ of the Trophy family and added new photos to them. The reader was shown a modernized tank M1A2C, equipped with a number of additional exterior-mounted products. Technique from photos from the "Leonardo" was no different from a tank from the land of Hume.

The tanks with fresh photos have noticeable differences from the M1A2C / M1A2 SEP v.3 prototypes that were previously demonstrated. Such differences are primarily determined by the presence of additional protection systems of various kinds. Exhibition samples did not have such equipment. This means that after the first demonstrations of the technology, the modernization project was supplemented, and with a serial update the tanks will receive more new devices.

Modernization of the tank provides for strengthening the existing protection with the help of several new components of various kinds. On the frontal parts of the tower installed new overhead booking elements. The composition of these modules is unknown. Probably in the form of flat angular details made a combined booking. According to various estimates, which appeared due to the lack of official information, the use of invoice frontal armor brings the equivalent frontal defense of the tower to 800-900 mm.

Frontal hull booking is complemented by a bill of delivery on the bottom sheet. Also previously reported on the strengthening of the bottom to increase the resistance to mines. Measures are being taken to enhance the protection of the onboard projection. Almost along the entire length of the onboard screen are placed blocks of dynamic protection. They do not cover only small sections of the bead in the front and rear parts - at the level of the driving and steering wheels. The characteristics of the dynamic protection used are not specified, but it is obvious that its use has a very positive effect on the combat stability of the vehicle.

Over the past few years, the US Army has been working on the issue of mass equipment of modernized tanks with active defense complexes. Recently updated tanks M1A2C received such equipment that can speak about the successful completion of past work.

On the sides of the tower of the upgraded Abrams are placed two covers with elements of the KAZ Trophy-HV of the Israeli company Rafael. Leonardo DRS is responsible for the supply and installation of such equipment. The radar antennas of detection are located on the front and rear of the casing of the complex, and a hinged cover is provided above, under which the launcher for protective ammunition is located. KAZ is intended for the timely detection of flying anti-tank ammunition and their destruction before striking the protected tank.

Another snapshot of the M1A2C tank. Photo by Leonardo DRS /

The Trophy-HV complex weighs 820 kg and occupies a volume of 0,69 cubic meters. The possibility of protection against attacks from all angles with the defeat of flying targets at a safe distance for the tank. It should be noted that the Israeli KAZ in the HV version can carry out interception only with the help of protective ammunition. Other modifications of the "Trophy" also include means of optical-electronic suppression.

Other changes in the design and composition of the onboard equipment are not visible from the outside. However, they are well known from the moment of publication of the first data about the project M1A2C / M1A2 SEP v.3. These improvements affect the power plant, control equipment and ammunition.

The M1A2C project provides for the use of an auxiliary power unit to power the on-board systems with the engine off. Unlike previous projects, this time the APU is placed inside the armored hull, next to the main engine, which dramatically increases its survivability. Conflicts of recent decades have shown that the initial external placement of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is a serious problem.

The opto-electronic sighting devices of the commander and the gunner are being upgraded. New sights are built on the basis of modern thermal imagers. Communications and control equipment is being replaced: new devices more effectively ensure the interaction of equipment and troops. For the first time, the Vehicle Health Management System is installed, designed to track the status of components and assemblies.

The main gun gets several new shells, including a fragmentation shot with a programmable fuse. Accordingly, the gun is equipped with a programmer to work with such devices. At the expense of new ammunition is proposed to increase the firepower of the tank, without resorting to the replacement of weapons.

Auxiliary weapons are being developed. The commanding machine gun is transferred from an open installation to a remotely controlled combat module CROWS RWS. The second machine gun remains on the loader's hatch, and for its use the tank driver needs to lean out of the hatch. Safety loader is provided with a double shield with bulletproof glass.

According to known data, as a result of modernization and installation of new units, the M1A2C tank is noticeably heavier. Its combat weight increases to 66,8 t. It is not entirely clear whether additional security measures are taken into account in the form of overhead panels, KAZ and on-board screens with dynamic protection.


According to the results of the modernization of the project M1A2C tank "Abrams" should increase all the main characteristics, with the exception of mobility. New devices in the fire control system and modern ammunition should increase firepower and combat effectiveness. APU simplifies and reduces the cost of operation. Overhead booking elements and other protection systems increase combat survivability.

Experienced tanks with the SEP v.3 update package have been tested since 2015, and in 2016, such a machine was first shown at an open event. The tests were completed in 2017 year, they confirmed the potential of the proposed "internal" improvements. At the same time, checks were carried out on the Israeli-developed Trophy-HV active protection complex. This system has confirmed the main characteristics and is now used when modifying tanks.

Project M1A2C Abrams. Modernized tanks in the frame
One of the pre-production tanks M1A2 SEP v.3. Photo US Army

The first pre-production batch of tanks M1A2 SEP v.3 / M1A2C was transferred to the US Army in October 2017 of the year. In addition, in the same year, the army ordered 45 tanks serial modernization; This contract cost her 270 million dollars - 6 million for upgrading one armored vehicle. The first serial M1A2C went to the troops in July last year. In the future, August, the army wants to get the last of the first batch of 45 machines. Engineering is engaged in updating the company General Dynamics Land Systems.

At the end of 2017, a framework contract with GDLS for rebuilding 435 tanks of the M1A2 model for a new project appeared. In July, 2018, the parties signed a firm agreement to supply a new batch of 100 tanks. A few weeks ago, the customer and the contractor agreed on the restructuring of another 174 armored vehicles, which should be completed before the 2021 year. Thus, there are already contracts to upgrade almost 320 tanks from combatant units.

The implementation of current orders will continue until the 2021 year, after which the next stage of the modernization of the armored vehicles can start. Already, defense industry enterprises are working on a new tank modernization project. Previously, this development was known as M1A2 SEP v.4, but since last year it has been called M1A2D. This project involves the use of developments in the previous versions of modernization, as well as the further development of fire control systems and communications equipment, the use of new projectiles, etc. Improved additional protection systems are expected.

According to known data, the prototype of the tank M1A2D may appear no earlier than 2020 of the year. It will take some time to test it, after which orders may be issued for serial re-equipment. Thus, the serial M1A2D will appear no earlier than 2021-22's. Probably, according to this project, the remaining machines of the M1A2 type, which did not have time to receive the “C” updates, will be upgraded.

In the meantime, GDLS, together with the customer, is busy with the program of upgrading existing tanks to the state of M1A2C. Such machines recently first hit the frame, and their image became public. Probably in the near future, such pictures or videos of modernized American tanks will become commonplace. The upgrade program for the new project is gaining momentum and yields the desired results. However, after a few years, the current project will replace the new one, providing for other changes in the design and composition of the equipment of tanks.

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  1. vadson
    vadson 27 February 2019 06: 25
    I’m wondering - with the help of electronic warfare you can hammer the radar of the same trophy? after blinding the radar at the kaz abrashu, it will be possible to break through the same vampire. rather than wasting a smart rocket.
    1. English tarantas
      English tarantas 27 February 2019 08: 30
      But isn’t it easier to eject the tank so that it cannot defend itself with artillery, ATGM from a helicopter, AB? And let the electronic warfare systems do more useful work. And I think the Vampire will not help here.
      1. Vadim237
        Vadim237 27 February 2019 19: 11
        Now Abrams cannot be taken by any of the ATGMs in our arsenal. And Russia does not have ATGMs hitting the roof. Only the RPG 30 remains, and even then the shooter will need to get close enough to the tank - and there they can "scratch" him with a machine gun
        1. Kars
          Kars 2 March 2019 14: 56
          It is necessary to increase the saturation density of anti-tank weapons.
          And there I am wondering why the l55 gun will not be delivered.
    2. Vvol
      Vvol 27 February 2019 18: 05
      Corresponding electronic warfare systems have long been used to "blind" enemy radars. But in the case of a fight against enemy tanks, the whole trouble rests on one thing: WILL IT BE UNDER HAND at the right moment appropriate electronic warfare complex? And are there any complexes in nature that are suitable for EXACTLY LIKE THIS tasks? If there is only something in the spirit of the native armed forces as a "jammer"unarmored a truck with a kung, and antennas stick out of the kung "- then HOW Can you imagine CONVENIENT application here IT in the middle of a BATTLE FIELD against attacking tanks ?! That's the one and that! .. In order to use electronic warfare equipment to solve a particular problem, it is REALLY necessary to have REQUIRED electronic warfare equipment in parts suitable for this task, and the calculations of these weapons should be in STANDARD mode on alert SOLVING THIS problem, having a CLEARLY SPECIFIED place in the combat formations of troops ...
      1. Vadim237
        Vadim237 27 February 2019 19: 16
        EW has its own significant drawback - as soon as you turn on the suppression station, you will quickly be detected by the radiation source, in the USA even started to make bombs based on GBU 39, which will be guided by the source of radio interference.
  2. astronom1973n
    astronom1973n 27 February 2019 06: 43
    -12 qualifying.
    A large barn, a good goal. And the African American is charging)))) Only he has the strength, the rest of the Westerners lack strength.
    1. Horse, people and soul
      Horse, people and soul 3 March 2019 14: 29
      He can’t work for more than 3 minutes at a given pace. After three minutes, he needs to rest, smoke weed, mumble rap, lie down on the armor.

      Because a spare uh ... afro ... uh ... black ... carry in a basket behind the tower.

  3. Cowbra
    Cowbra 27 February 2019 06: 44
    6 lyam to the fact that a tank that already has severe traffic problems in Europe, for example, is even harder wink
  4. svp67
    svp67 27 February 2019 06: 51
    Its combat mass increases to 66,8 t
    Even before that, the land had hardly worn it, but now it will sink, on any wet lawn.
    And here's what's interesting. In the last picture of the plate on the tower, what is this? Not how to protect "phased arrays"? A very expensive and effective tank is obtained by the Americans, very ...
    1. Uncle lee
      Uncle lee 27 February 2019 07: 02
      Quote: svp67
      effective tank

      And where to beat the sniper to cripple the optics?
      1. svp67
        svp67 27 February 2019 07: 18
        Quote: Uncle Lee
        And where to beat the sniper to cripple the optics?

        If yourself, then on this tank ... recourse
    2. PSih2097
      PSih2097 27 February 2019 09: 59
      Quote: svp67
      Its combat mass increases to 66,8 t
      Even before that, the land had hardly worn it, but now it will sink, on any wet lawn.

      I think that by weight they will end up with something similar ...
  5. rocket757
    rocket757 27 February 2019 08: 09
    The question is, will they do something fundamentally new?
    In general, does someone focus on the development of armored, heavy equipment with fundamentally different, advanced parameters? While it is visible, sho modernize, improve, created earlier!
    Those. no one intends to make tank "armada" of the latest armored vehicles!
    1. Sidorovich
      Sidorovich 27 February 2019 20: 06
      What's the point? Expensive and long, the current armored vehicles can cope with combat missions, and it has been tested, and new systems, again, test expensive and long.
      1. rocket757
        rocket757 28 February 2019 07: 55
        Quote: Sidorovich
        What's the point? Expensive and long, the current armored vehicles can cope with combat missions, and it has been tested, and new systems, again, test expensive and long.

        If you look \ read, not stated \ nothing fundamentally new has been invented, using which you can create a technique with really better parameters. So Schaub is immediately better than everyone else!
        All modernization is a struggle of contradictions, a compromise ....
        I suppose, and for this reason, no one seeks to make new technology right now. Many costs, and the result is very modest.
        As it will be later, it is not yet possible to say.
  6. bubalik
    bubalik 27 February 2019 11: 55
    The version of the SEP v4, which is planned to be tested in the 2021 year, will include a new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, integrated on-board networks, advanced meteorological sensors.
    ,,, centered around the integration of the third-generation FLIR-Forward high-tech infrared infrared image sensor.
    Advanced FLIR uses a higher resolution and digital image, along with an increased ability to detect enemy signatures at longer distances through various obscurantists, such as rain, dust or fog.

    ,,, as in the cartoon "Polygon" and the crew is unnecessary. belay
  7. viktorish007
    viktorish007 27 February 2019 13: 32
    promised to reduce the mass of armor protection due to new materials, 68 tons, well this is somehow strange
    the abrashka was and remains a dangerous machine, the key issue is the LMS, thermal imaging, and new shells, possibly new steroids for the Negro-loader

    since when does the trophy weigh 800+ kg? is it with armored boxes or something
    1. English tarantas
      English tarantas 28 February 2019 08: 31
      + threat weapons and electronics inside, mounts for all this stuff.
  8. _Ugene_
    _Ugene_ 27 February 2019 14: 57
    yes, our T-72B3 can compete with this monster that the T-34-76 is against the tiger, only on the side or behind there are chances
    1. viktorish007
      viktorish007 27 February 2019 15: 31
      and the t-72 should not compete with it, the Hammer should compete with it, standing already in service for 30 years, but this is unfortunately in parallel reality
      1. _Ugene_
        _Ugene_ 27 February 2019 15: 58
        or Armata in another parallel reality, here we are only in this reality
      2. MegaPups
        MegaPups 27 February 2019 16: 35
        Quote: viktorish007
        and the t-72 should not compete with it, the Hammer should compete with it, standing already in service for 30 years, but this is unfortunately in parallel reality

        Why shouldn’t. The latest version of the T-72, which is called the T-90M, will compete with it.
  9. Partisan Kramaha
    Partisan Kramaha 27 February 2019 21: 21
    Well, the tsacek was hung, the weight increased, the chassis was the same. The question is, will it start to crumble quickly?
    1. Vadim237
      Vadim237 28 February 2019 18: 31
      The answer is that it won’t start because all the anti-tank infantry systems are now powerless against it, including RPGs 7
      1. Partisan Kramaha
        Partisan Kramaha 28 February 2019 20: 54
        And where does the anti-tank infantry system? I ask if the increased weight will pull the chassis, or will it break due to overload? As in the Ukrop Cougar ...
        1. PROXOR
          PROXOR 1 March 2019 12: 08
          The only guaranteed defeat of this tank is a 152mm anti-tank gun with BPS. A barrage of 152mm guns is guaranteed to pass this comrade from 5 km. And so what will this tool be for the techies. Either this is the reincarnation of Object 120, or a 152mm gun on the T-14.
          1. Horse, people and soul
            Horse, people and soul 3 March 2019 14: 32
            It is unlikely that any of the available 152 mm guns is capable of accelerating the "crowbar" to the required speeds. Maybe for this, the tools will be just - not "crowbars"?
  10. bmv04636
    bmv04636 28 February 2019 22: 43
    From DShK protection made