Tank Abrams modifications M1A2 SEP v.2
The U.S. Army plans to maintain the main combat arms in the foreseeable future. Tanks M1A2 Abrams, but such equipment will have to undergo repairs and upgrades. Work has already begun on updating armored vehicles in accordance with the modern project M1A2C (aka M1A2 SEP v.3), and in the future they will start assembling tanks M1A2D (SEP v.4). It is expected that due to all these measures, Abrams MBTs will be able to remain in service for several decades, while maintaining high combat effectiveness.
With the letter "C"
The modernization project M1A2 SEP v.3 or M1A2C was developed several years ago. In 2017, the U.S. Army made the first order for the serial production of such equipment, it was received by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). There are several contracts to date, and new ones may appear in the future.
At the moment, there are plans to upgrade 435 tanks, and 325 vehicles have been contracted. Under the terms of the agreements, GLDS will repair and rebuild obsolete MBT M1A1, both from combat parts and from storage. Armies will return the modern M1A2C with new features and an extended resource.
Two GLDS factories and the joint venture Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) will work with tanks. The current contracts concluded in 2017-19 provide for the necessary work until the end of fiscal year 2021.
In March last year, the Pentagon released the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Report for Fiscal Year 2020, describing the state of the materiel of the armed forces at the beginning of fiscal 2019. and current plans for their development. Among other things, information was provided on the status and prospects of the tank fleet.
At that time, there were 15 tank brigades of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABST) type in the ground forces and the National Guard - 10 and 5, respectively. At the disposal of the army were 95 tanks M1A1SA and 783 newer M1A2 SEP v.2. The National Guard had 275 older cars and only 160 SEP v.2. The state of each ABCT relies on 87 MBT.
FY2019 it was planned the formation of the 11th ABCT as part of the ground forces. This step expands the combat capabilities of the army, and also increases the requirements for the total number of armored vehicles.
FY2020 planned the deployment and development of new MBT M1A2C in combat units. At the same time, they are planning to launch full-scale rearmament of brigades in 2021. The process of replacing equipment will continue until 2031. For 11 brigades 957 tanks will be needed. Each year, one ABCT will completely upgrade its armored fleet.
In accordance with existing agreements between the Pentagon and industry, obsolete M1A1 tanks from parts and from storage bases will go for modernization. Existing M1A2 SEP v.2 will change the owners - they will have to serve in the national guard. In the years 2023-26. five brigade sets of such equipment will be handed over to her from the army.
In 2018, the Pentagon launched work on a new technology modernization project. It was originally designated as M1A2 SEP v.4, now it uses the M1A2D index. So far, the plans for this project provide only for development work - design, construction and testing of prototypes.
Full-scale OCD started in 2019 and will continue until 2024. The prototype will be tested in 2021. Further plans for the M1A2D remain unknown. What equipment will be used for repair and modernization, when and in what quantities the work will be carried out is unknown. It is likely that such plans will be formed later, after part of the design work has been completed.
It is easy to notice that the new project will be completed during the period of active production of equipment of the previous model. Thus, in the middle of the current decade, the Pentagon will have to decide how to manage the two existing projects. Perhaps, for the sake of starting the assembly of tanks of one model, they will sacrifice the production of another.
The M1A2C modernization project provides for a number of measures aimed at improving all the basic technical and combat characteristics of the tank. During the modernization, it is planned to install new components and replace some of the existing systems. During the modernization of MBT modifications M1A1 may require the installation of components and assemblies previously implemented in the projects of SEP and SEP v.2.
MBT M1A2C differs in frontal tower armor, reinforced by new overhead units. Installation of dynamic and active protection of new types is provided. Performance and survivability are improved with a new auxiliary power unit located inside the armored hull. The machine is equipped with a Vehicle Health Management System self-diagnosis kit that simplifies maintenance.
The main armament of the tank remains the same, but related devices are being processed. The fire control system is updated using modern thermal imaging devices. A programmer is installed for the use of ammunition with controlled detonation. A new remotely controlled combat module is mounted on the tower.
It has been repeatedly argued that after the modernization of the MBT, the M1A2C surpasses the existing American tanks in all major respects. It is more tenacious, has improved combat qualities and is easier to operate. As a result, it is of great interest to the army and over the next few years will have to become the basis of the armored fleet.
The main objectives of the new project M1A2D / SEP v.4 are known. This time, the focus will be on the OMS and its components; also improve weapons. Perhaps the introduction of new solutions aimed at increasing protection.
Cardinal processing will undergo optoelectronic devices commander and gunner. Sights based on modern thermal imaging systems will be used. It is planned to replace the weather sensors with more accurate ones. The gun will remain the same, but new shots will enter its ammunition. Planned modernization of smoke grenade launchers.
M1A2T Tank Advertising for the Taiwanese Army
The development of the M1A2D began not too long ago, and the customer can still change the project requirements. However, it is already clear that a promising modernization will give tanks new opportunities and advantages even over the current M1A2C, not to mention older versions.
Decade of modernization
The last of the Abrams tank modernization projects created, the M1A2 SEP v.3 / M1A2C, has already reached the stage of assembly and transfer of the first batches of equipment to the troops. Plans for this project are planned before the end of this decade, and industry has to seriously work. In parallel with the restructuring of the M1A1 tanks in the M1A2C will be the development of the project M1A2D.
It is curious that enterprises will work not only in the interests of the American army. Last year, Taiwan and the United States agreed to supply tanks modification M1A2T - a modified version of the M1A2C. Newly built tanks will differ in their armor design and the presence / absence of some units. Otherwise, they must comply with draft “C” or SEP v.3.
Thus, the main tanks of the M1 Abrams family will for a long time take their place in the armed forces of the United States and some other countries, and their replacement remains a matter of the distant future. To ensure a long and efficient service, new repair and modernization projects are being created. One of them can be watched right now, and in a few years the next one starts.