M1A2C Main Tank with SEP v.3 Service Pack
One of the most important US Army programs at the moment is the modernization of existing tanks Abrams on several new projects. The other day, new details of this project and ongoing work were published. They were introduced by the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation, DOT & E in a 2019 report. On January 30, this document was presented to Congress.
According to the report, December 28, 2018, i.e. At the beginning of FY 2019, DOT & E approved an updated version of the test program for the promising M1A2 SEP v.3 / M1A2C tank. Some stages of the already launched program underwent adjustment, which was necessary for a more complete study of the capabilities and potential of the modernized MBT.
On April 22 at the Fort Hood base, short military tests of updated equipment started. The 1st Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division received several M1A2C tanks and carried out inspections according to the approved plan. The equipment was tested in offensive and defensive training battles. Each stage of these tests lasted up to a day. May 11 events were completed.
Last fiscal year, the tank was tested for survivability. Three tanks of the serial batch were shelled and detonated using various weapons and ammunition. DOT & E writes about 20 such tests, but their results are not specified.
The main task for the first quarters of fiscal 2020 called the completion of tests to determine and increase the survivability of a modernized tank. They are a direct continuation of the measures already taken, but have different goals and are focused on specific elements of the tank.
In the 4th quarter of 2019 launched a new stage of the test shelling. This time, attention was paid to the ammunition storage compartments and their combat survivability. During the tests, the resistance of the compartments to various influences was checked, including defeat anti-tank ammunition. The results of such tests will clarify the general operational capabilities of the tank.
The completion of the shelling tests was planned for the 1st quarter of 2020 FY After that, in the 2nd quarter, the army and the director of operational testing and evaluation will publish a new report that reflects all the identified features of MBT M1A2 SEP v.3. For the 3rd quarter of the current fiscal year, it is planned to issue new documents defining the further mass production of updated tanks.
Ratings and recommendations
DOT & E notes that the project M1A2 SEP v.3 did not have special requirements in terms of protection and survivability. For all new modifications of the Abrams MBT, the 1994 Operational Requirements document, drawn up taking into account the characteristics of the M1A2 tank, remains relevant.
Under such conditions, DOT & E continues to collect and analyze data from all tests, including to determine the level of protection and survivability. They will be used in further evaluation of the project as a whole, as well as in determining final conclusions and recommendations.
Based on the results of the work of the last fiscal year, DOT & E issued three recommendations to the Ministry of Defense. The first defines a common approach to future upgrades of the M1A2 tanks. The requirements for such projects should most accurately reflect current and future operational problems and challenges. The second recommendation addresses ongoing work. It is necessary to complete the current tests in accordance with the approved plan. Finally, the army should study all available reports on the M1A2C in order to form a general idea of the ways for the further development of armored vehicles.
Not only SEP v.3
Current plans to upgrade Abrams MBTs are not limited to SEP v.3. In particular, one of the measures to increase the survivability of such equipment on the battlefield should be a complex of active defense (KAZ). Work in this direction continues and give noticeable results.
Tank M1A2 SEP v.2 with KAZ Trophy
The DOT & E report recalls that back in FY 2017 several tanks of the army and marine corps received the KAZ Trophy manufactured by the Israeli company Rafael. Equipment with such equipment was tested at the training grounds and even took part in NATO exercises, showing their capabilities. In the future, new events were held, continuing to date.
According to the report, in FY 2019 The U.S. Army performed and completed the second phase of the KAZ Trophy test. These events were held at the Fort Bliss base in the fall and winter of 2018. The complex was tested using the M1A1 and M1A2 SEP v.2 tanks, as well as using the layout. During the tests, the ability of Trophy to detect and hit flying threats in different conditions, including in the presence of various hindrances.
As part of the tests, 62 launches of various anti-tank weapons were carried out. Against real tanks, rocket-propelled grenades with inert equipment were used; guided missiles fired on the layout. In addition, one launch of full-fledged ammunition for MBT from KAZ took place.
DOT & E is currently preparing a report on these tests. He will be presented to the command soon. Also, preparations are underway for the third phase of testing. This time, KAZ Trophy plans to test on the latest tank M1A2C.
Recent trials were successful, and the army announces quite serious plans for KAZ. At the end of the current financial year, a new order will appear on the purchase and deployment of such equipment. It will include the modernization of all M1A2 tanks in four Armored Brigade Combat Team units. The outlook for Trophy in the context of M1A2 SEP v.3 has not yet been determined.
For engineering parts
M1A1 / A2 tanks are also involved in a new project created in the interests of engineering units. Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) is being developed for the army and the KMP, built on the MBT M1A1 chassis with units from M1A2. He has already gone to the test, but their results remain unsatisfactory.
Experienced JAB Bridge Stacker
In April 2019, the next tests of the experienced JAB were held at the Fort Bliss base. Significant shortcomings were identified, which took time to fix. Q1 2020 FY A new phase of testing has begun to test recent changes. In the absence of new difficulties, the testing of the experimental JAB will be completed in the 2nd-3rd quarter of the current financial year.
Due to continuing problems, DOT & E recommends continuing work and fine-tuning the design. After that, it will be possible to collect the necessary data and give a full assessment of the project with relevant recommendations.
Conservation and development
The new DOT & E report clearly shows how the US Army is going to develop its armored vehicles. Tanks of the M1 Abrams family of several modifications play a leading role, and to maintain this state of affairs, modernization projects are being implemented - both complex and affecting only individual elements. In addition, the Abrams tank is used as a platform for new types of specialized equipment.
According to the latest report, in the last fiscal year, the Pentagon and contractors did enough to launch production and develop new types of equipment. No less responsible work was planned for FY2020 Its 2nd quarter is already approaching the end, and this means that soon new messages about the development and modernization of existing main battle tanks should appear.