American tank M1A2 SEP v.4: fine-tuning with a file

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American tank M1A2 SEP v.4: fine-tuning with a file

Today, the attention of the whole world is riveted on a special military operation in Ukraine, so everyone news about weapons that are not involved there, sometimes seem insignificant. But sometimes this dense information flow still needs to be diluted. And in this case, we will talk about our "friendly" neighbors across the ocean, who have been testing one of the last modifications of the M1A2 SEP v.4 in the Abrams life cycle for more than six months.

It is noteworthy that this project can actually be called a fine refinement of the previous version. tank – SEP v.3. Therefore, the machine will not receive radical changes, unlike previous upgrades. No new armor, no new shells, but, as Western technology manufacturers like to put it dryly, it has become "even more deadly and protected."




Good but will do better


There is absolutely no desire to speak positively about our overseas "partners", but it is still worth recognizing one fact: weapon they know how to do it, and they do it well. An example of which is the Abrams tank, which has become a byword, is a machine that is quite successful in design and has a huge modernization potential, which the Americans are still implementing to this day. At the same time, the availability of finance and access to modern technologies make it possible to make the necessary improvements in a timely manner, which is generally demonstrated by the M1A2 SEP v.4 currently being tested, which claims to be the flagship of the US Armed Forces armored units in the future.

But first things first.

To date, the armed forces of the Americans are tanks of three modifications. These are about 540 "oldies" M1A1, upgraded to the SA standard ("Situational Awareness") and received third-generation uranium armor, more or less fresh electronics and equipment for combat information and control systems. As well as 1 units of M605A1 SEP v.2 and about five hundred of the most modern M2A1 SEP v.2, the production of which continues.

The epithet about the modernity of the latter was not chosen in vain - these are indeed the most combat-ready and technically advanced vehicles of this class in the United States. The contract for the development and subsequent production of this upgrade package was signed almost eight years ago and included improvements to previous versions and the addition of new ones.

M1A2 SEP v.3

M1A2 SEP v.3

Of all the Abrams, these tanks have the most powerful armor, as well as the largest mass - 66,8 tons. Estimates of its resistance vary, and, in principle, no one will ever tell us the truth, but it will be difficult to break through it with most of the ammunition we have. Especially if we add to this the possibility of installing the Trophy active protection complex, which is provided for in the modification.

Improved electronics in terms of microprocessor part and machine memory, updated software. More modern information and diagnostic equipment has been added, extending the life of the tank units. There are also changes in communications and combat control systems. And, most importantly, the electronics have been transferred to a modular basis and new interaction interfaces - in fact, the “plug and play” mode has been implemented, which provides for the installation of new components without reworking the entire system.

M1A2 SEP v.3

M1A2 SEP v.3

New IFLIR thermal imaging cameras have appeared in the tank's sights, which produce high-quality HD images. The fire control system itself and the gun have also been updated, especially with regard to the use of new rounds. By the way, there are now only two of them in the ammunition load of SEP v.3: the M829A4 feathered armor-piercing sub-caliber projectile and the multifunctional M1147.

The latter, thanks to a programmable fuse, has the ability to detonate air over a given point in order to create a hail of fragments flying at enemy manpower and light equipment. It also has the qualities of classic high-explosive fragmentation ammunition: an explosion on contact with the target and a detonation with a delay in order to break through an obstacle - for example, a wall. So the need for cumulative, multifunctional fragmentation-cumulative, buckshot and high-explosive fragmentation (actually concrete-piercing) shells has completely disappeared.


Northrop Grumman

Of the other changes: a modified remote-controlled machine gun installation CROWS on the roof of the tank with a thermal imaging sight; more productive auxiliary power unit, moved under the armor; implementation of built-in training for crews and so on.

M1A2 SEP v.4


Nevertheless, the SEP v.3 tank variant was not considered the last in a series of Abrams modifications long before testing and production began. So, in 2017, a contract was signed with General Dynamics for the development and further implementation of a new SEP v.4 upgrade package into the series - in fact, the completion of the previous version. Initially, it was planned to receive prototypes and begin testing as early as 2020, but delays in agreeing on the characteristics and equipment of the machine, as well as the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, pushed back the deadlines.

The first tank, which received improvements under the new project, was lit up during tests only in the fall of 2022, thereby causing a wave of interest from various experts. However, it is worth noting that it is still not known for certain what specific improvements will be included in this package - there is only fragmentary information, but you can get a general picture.

Tested tank with developments under the SEP v.4 program

Tested tank with developments under the SEP v.4 program

Thus, the functionality of the gunner’s and tank commander’s instruments will be supplemented with high-resolution color cameras to increase situational awareness and better performance in search, identification and destruction of targets. An updated weather sensor will appear that takes into account the speed and direction of the wind, atmospheric pressure and other parameters before making a shot. And the “all-seeing eye” of the machine will be third-generation FLIR thermal imaging sights, which are worth talking about in a little more detail.

The fact is that the first characteristic of a thermal imaging sight is not the detection range of targets, but the distance at which they can be identified. In the end, if you cannot understand whether you have a fire or a tank in your sight, a group of infantrymen or animals running across the field, then there is not so much sense from this “teplak”. Fortunately, now widespread thermal imagers for military equipment, at least formally, provide an identification range of 3-4 kilometers for large targets. But even then it depends on the weather.

Third-generation FLIR thermal imagers operate in the mid- and far-infrared ranges. The first provides an advantage in difficult conditions, such as precipitation in the form of rain, fog and snow. The second is for long distances. The combination of these components, coupled with high-resolution matrices, allows you to produce an HD image with a good increase.

These gentlemen do not provide exact data, but they say that the target identification range increases by 2,6 times compared to previous generations. Judging by their own comments in the complaints, from about three kilometers it will be possible to understand for sure whether some man with a shovel on his shoulder or a shooter with a grenade launcher at the ready is in the sight. For larger targets, the distance is even higher.

Tested tank with developments under the SEP v.4 program

Tested tank with developments under the SEP v.4 program

Another improvement, but this time in terms of the security of the tank, will be the optoelectronic countermeasures complex (KOEP). It is still difficult to say whether it will be an independent device or will go into tandem with the Trophy active protection. Nevertheless, the Israeli KAZ itself is not a panacea, since it works exclusively against cumulative ammunition already on the way to the tank. So this assistant would fit him.

The KOEP itself traditionally consists of sensors on the outer armor of the vehicle that respond to laser radiation and launchers for aerosol grenades. The principle of operation of this complex as a whole is unlikely to be very different from the same Russian Shtora, only without infrared searchlights. Sensors detect laser radiation from rangefinders and target designators, determine its direction and provide information to the crew. And there, automatically or manually, shooting aerosol grenades that hide the tank behind a smoke screen.

Thus, the probability of receiving both a projectile from an enemy tank and a missile from an ATGM using a laser guidance channel and rangefinders is reduced. However, if the characteristics of the aerosol being fired include impermeability to laser radiation, then some adjustable ammunition can also be protected.

By the way, if we are talking about shells, then the M1A2 SEP v.4 as part of the fire control system will have a laser designator. Official reports dryly say that the tank will expand its combat capabilities in multi-domain combat and will be at a better level of interaction with friendly troops. And this is basically true, since the tank crew will be able to work closely with adjustable weapons - artillery shells of any carriers and aviation ammunition, including missiles aimed at the target by illumination.

It is possible that this functionality will be expanded to joint target designation operations with other tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, but so far in this regard only guesswork.

List of some improvements in SEP v.4

List of some improvements in SEP v.4

From the rest: according to statements from the media and manufacturers, tanks of the SEP v.4 version will again receive improvements in terms of electronic components and digital communication systems; all-round visibility with the help of cameras located in all projections of the machine; an intelligent air conditioning system, which will include not only cooling the air in the habitable spaces of the tank, but also preventing its heating by regulating the power consumption of internal electronic devices; new diagnostic complexes, etc.

It is also emphasized that the tanks, after the introduction of a new upgrade package, will be ready for the introduction of artificial intelligence in the future. It is possible, of course, that this is an ordinary marketing move, since AI is fashionable, it will soon be introduced into every iron. But there is a possibility that some semblance of a system ATLAS, which automatically searches for targets, prioritizes them and shows them to the commander with the gunner, they will still implement them.

But it is too early to talk about this, as well as about the timing of the introduction of SEP v.4 into mass production. Now those innovations that will find their home in the modernization package continue to run in and the corresponding refinement. So there is no need to wait for the release of the updated Abrams in the next couple of years. Nevertheless, given the large number of tanks, both in storage and in active service, the batches of the future fourth version may turn out to be significant - they do not plan to abandon the M1A2 even in the long term.
45 comments
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  1. +7
    30 July 2023 05: 44
    In principle, this is nothing more than another modernization. Well, why not. Given the development of AI, it is impossible that new machines will be robotic.
  2. -2
    30 July 2023 05: 52
    I wonder how this almost 70 ton fool will go through the muddy black soil.
    1. +4
      30 July 2023 07: 17
      I wonder how this almost 70 ton fool will go through the muddy black soil.
      They apparently did not plan that the tanks would have to operate in such conditions. On the highway with a breeze or in the desert, as has happened more than once. In the fall, they will go to Ukraine by the thaw, so we'll see if only Kyiv decides to keep them away from the front line.
      1. +15
        30 July 2023 09: 01
        All data is publicly available. It has a specific ground pressure of only 10% more than the T-90M. Therefore, he feels fine in this area.
        1. -1
          31 July 2023 21: 52
          You apparently do not feel cravings for the exact sciences, i.e. humanitarian lol
          The specific pressure on the ground is only one component of the patency and is relevant for a static tank (for the humanities - motionless) on a perfectly flat surface of a spherical vacuum. I won’t talk about dynamic loads, you won’t understand anyway. And in order to save you badly, why are more powerful brakes for light cars put on the front axle? After all, the specific pressure on the asphalt of a loaded car is the same for all axles ???
          Good night! hi
      2. -2
        31 July 2023 02: 19
        According to the White House, the abrash will go to Ukraine, but their participation in the war is prohibited, since their use could damage the image reputation of the United States as an abrash producer.
        The British did the same
    2. +13
      30 July 2023 07: 37
      She has pressure on the ground like everyone else. So it will go, like everyone else. But if it sits down, ... you will not envy those who will get it.
  3. +1
    30 July 2023 06: 49
    Today, the attention of the whole world is riveted on a special military operation in Ukraine.

    Did not know. And long forgotten
  4. -3
    30 July 2023 07: 40
    The latter, thanks to a programmable fuse, has the ability to detonate air over a given point in order to create a hail of fragments flying at enemy manpower and light equipment. It also has the qualities of classic high-explosive fragmentation ammunition: an explosion on contact with the target and a detonation with a delay in order to break through an obstacle - for example, a wall. So the need for cumulative, multifunctional fragmentation-cumulative, buckshot and high-explosive fragmentation (actually concrete-piercing) shells has completely disappeared.

    It’s a strange conclusion, why use an expensive projectile with a programmable fuse when you can use an ordinary high-explosive fragmentation, although again a marketing ploy. But not a single tank manufacturer will demonstrate the result of shelling a tank from different types of weapons, therefore the declared characteristics of armor penetration and its own armoredness are from the evil one. As the Leopard was praised, it turned out that the upper armor did not hold mortar ammunition.
    1. +3
      30 July 2023 12: 15
      Quote: Konnick
      a programmable fuse, when it is possible with an ordinary high-explosive fragmentation,

      Then, if you have 40 shells of 5 types in your tank, then you only have 8 shells of the type that is needed at a particular moment.
      Quote: Konnick
      the upper armor does not hold mortar ammunition.

      And who promised you something about the "upper armor"?
  5. +4
    30 July 2023 08: 31
    Quote: Aaron Zawi
    In principle, this is nothing more than another modernization. Well, why not. Given the development of AI, it is impossible that new machines will be robotic.

    If we were talking about the T-72, T-80 and T-90 with an automatic loader, then everything is clear, but how can Abrams be robotized without an automatic loader?
    1. 0
      30 July 2023 09: 03
      It's 2023 outside. Have you seen these robots anywhere or in the future? No. So what are we talking about then?
    2. +6
      30 July 2023 09: 18
      Quote from: mad-max78
      Quote: Aaron Zawi
      In principle, this is nothing more than another modernization. Well, why not. Given the development of AI, it is impossible that new machines will be robotic.

      If we were talking about the T-72, T-80 and T-90 with an automatic loader, then everything is clear, but how can Abrams be robotized without an automatic loader?

      With Abrams projects with automatic loaders of all possible types, you can fill up the Pentagon with a slide
      1. +3
        30 July 2023 09: 50
        Do not destroy the beckoning little world of individual comrades. They have long developed a stereotype that the Americans are "stupid" and still cannot make an automatic loader. Only now, when you show them Abrams with a 140 mm cannon and a portotype of Blok 3 (Amer's Armata from 80 in) with automatic loaders, then incomprehensibly bleating begins immediately and stuff like that.
        1. +3
          30 July 2023 14: 24
          Quote from Nesvoy
          Only now, when you show them Abrams with a 140 mm cannon and a portotype of Blok 3 (Amer's Armata from 80 in) with automatic loaders, then incomprehensibly bleating begins immediately and stuff like that.

          Show where? Beautiful pictures from the 80s? And what about the tests, did you pass? And what about the achievement of the set targets? All OK? Well, why is this tank not accepted for service. Can we start comparing pictures? So there is a titanium Hammer from the same 80s, well, or a T-95 from the recent past. Where are the production samples?
          1. 0
            30 July 2023 15: 48
            And the fact that the amers decided that an automatic loader in caliber up to 120 mm is not needed is excluded in principle? And what is the point of accepting a tank with a 140 mm gun in the 90s, when the main enemy in the face of the USSR was gone? It seems like obvious things, everyone should understand, but somehow you don’t see it very clearly.
        2. TIR
          -1
          6 August 2023 22: 10
          Abrams is a good car. The best concept from this threat would be just timely detection and damage / destruction with the help of Lancets and Redfields. Ideally, they should not be allowed into direct range at all. I hope the Lancet operators learn to hit tanks from the stern or into the roof of the tower.
          P.S. Remember the debate about the size of Western tanks and ours? They also laughed that the height of the tank is not so important and can be ignored. So Leopards are very noticeable from a very long distance. Therefore, they beat them without letting them into positions. Of these minor characteristics, the Leopard has a very positive reverse speed. Really helps a lot
    3. +2
      30 July 2023 12: 59
      Quote from: mad-max78
      how can you robotize Abrams without an automatic loader?

      Leave the Negro, robotize the rest. wassat
      1. -3
        30 July 2023 13: 43
        UPD: minuses are apparently put by BLM supporters.
  6. -1
    30 July 2023 09: 09
    Author, are you sure that the United States is capable of producing new tanks? Can you name the US tank plant that produces new tanks, and not just modernizes the old ones?
    1. -1
      30 July 2023 12: 16
      Quote: Victor Sergeev
      Do not name the US tank plant that produces new tanks

      What about the old ones?
  7. +5
    30 July 2023 10: 00
    The infantry command in the United States is the most pragmatic. It is the Navy and the Air Force that can afford to experiment with all sorts of Zumvolts and wunder fighters, but here money is short. there is no point in doing it. We have Armata made for such a system, but the trouble is, such a system, brought to mind, while not a single army in the world has, so it will gather dust in warehouses and parades. Therefore, the Americans will finish Abrams until then until this system appears, a very logical move on their part hi
  8. -2
    30 July 2023 11: 11
    Clueless plot. Everyone knows that Abrams is a good tank, but even good tanks burn and fail. In those conflicts where he participated, the enemy was mostly "barefoot", so most of the losses were from buried land mines. In our situation, it will be "dismantled" with great enthusiasm.
    1. -3
      30 July 2023 12: 18
      Quote from Dmitry
      In our situation, it will be "dismantled" with great enthusiasm.

      If you are talking about SVO, then mines are the main problem there. The second problem is the drones, but Abrams has resolved the issue with drones.
      1. +1
        31 July 2023 02: 25
        Has it been resolved with artillery?
        Have you ever seen what fragments of a 152mm HE shell do to tanks at a close detonation?
        All tanks smoke from this, both ours and theirs.
  9. +1
    30 July 2023 12: 36
    Quote: BlackMokona
    Quote from: mad-max78
    Quote: Aaron Zawi
    In principle, this is nothing more than another modernization. Well, why not. Given the development of AI, it is impossible that new machines will be robotic.

    If we were talking about the T-72, T-80 and T-90 with an automatic loader, then everything is clear, but how can Abrams be robotized without an automatic loader?

    With Abrams projects with automatic loaders of all possible types, you can fill up the Pentagon with a slide

    I asked about the practical side of the implementation of the Abrams robotization and not the theoretical one, which, apart from cutting the dough, does not imply anything, so we are now fantasizing that, like in star wars, an android will load the Abrams gun manually instead of a living person.
  10. 0
    30 July 2023 13: 01
    >do not plan to abandon M1A2 even in the long term.
    As if there is a choice, the Western school of shed construction has not yet come up with anything better. The gun can be installed new, licensed from Europe, maybe. replace the engine, new coatings. But the barn will remain a barn.
    1. -3
      30 July 2023 14: 16
      And the newest "Armata" is much smaller than the Abrams?
      1. -1
        30 July 2023 21: 19
        T-14, with similar dimensions, qualitatively surpasses any Western model in its layout and idea. However, you already know that, don't you.
      2. +1
        31 July 2023 00: 18
        Quote: Letterhead
        And the newest "Armata" is much smaller than the Abrams?

        No matter how you lie, at least 15 tons of commercials will be easier. Well, the security of the tank and the crew does not even make sense to compare. There is one "but" - how many Abrams in version V3? Well, how many T-14 Armats do we have?
  11. +2
    30 July 2023 13: 07
    "but one fact is still worth recognizing: they know how to make weapons, and they do it well"
    Are there not too many examples over the past 20 years that refute this thesis? Yes, it used to be so. As in their time, the Yankees made magnificent (at the level of the Swiss "masters", or even higher) watches on an industrial scale (unlike the same "masters"). Back in the early 1970s, there were excellent examples of the advanced US watch industry - Bulova Accutron (by the way, one of the early releases was presented to Nikitka Khrushchev, after which he ordered to create something similar and "Slava-transistor" appeared on 2 MCHZ). Where is the American clock now? Elgin, Hamilton... now Chinese brands. Time does not stand still, and until recently the situation has been conducive to making not actual instruments of war, but expensive toys to drink the budget and to sell them through the NATO "cooperative". "And if they don't take it? (c) Let's convince them to disconnect from Russian gas."
  12. +3
    30 July 2023 14: 13
    Quote: Andrey VOV
    I wonder how this almost 70 ton fool will go through the muddy black soil.

    Like this

    So that they all get stuck.
    1. +1
      30 July 2023 15: 53
      The tank is stuck in the mud, call the press!!! And our tanks do not get stuck? Is it different? Is it so difficult to drive in a T-72 (90) stuck in the mud in a search engine?
      1. +6
        30 July 2023 16: 22
        Quote from Nesvoy
        The tank is stuck in the mud, call the press!!! And our tanks do not get stuck? Is it different? Is it so difficult to drive in a T-72 (90) stuck in the mud in a search engine?

        This is different. They got stuck, we merged with the terrain for camouflage.
        1. 0
          17 August 2023 10: 46
          He also changed the landscape - according to the precepts, so to speak.
      2. 0
        30 July 2023 17: 44
        In such a situation, one more tank is enough to pull this one out. There were such moments during the service. But how to pull out the abrams, can one manage it or not?
        1. 0
          31 July 2023 05: 42
          Yes please. Have you also been banned in Google or do you not know how to use it? https://youtu.be/TCXwgPZXScM
      3. 0
        31 July 2023 02: 43
        Here abrashi would not be visible.
        I would be completely immersed.
        Amers have one more trick: they like to drive quietly and not spoil the asphalt, which is why the harp is rubberized.
        If this is not critical in the deserts, then it is very even in the mud.
  13. +1
    30 July 2023 17: 04
    Illiterate badly veiled advertisement of Abrams. They forgot to write in your "review" of an awesome tank how his barmaley in Iraq set fire to ordinary machine guns (he has a weak spot from the rear of the tower). There are off-road SUVs, and this tank SUV. Undoubtedly a test model, it is interesting primarily for its design and softness on highways. And war is not for the glamorous.
    1. 0
      30 July 2023 19: 11
      How much will you tell this bike from rent about how they knocked him out with a machine gun? At that time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine stood at the stern of the turret near Abram, they hit it from a machine gun, the fuel escaped, hit the MTO and caught fire. Yes, after that the tank was lost. And after the APU was moved to the stern of the hull. From any machine gun, his side armor does not break through. I never cease to be amazed at what kind of stories we like to believe.
      1. -1
        31 July 2023 02: 38
        Well, why is it a tale?
        Very much true.
        BC abrashi, like Leo 12,7, does not even hold it from the side. As I recall, the Abrashi BC was taken out of the tower to save the life of the crew in case it was blown up, so the BC hull was made somewhat weakened so that the explosion would diverge upwards and to the sides, and not press the shock wave on the walls of the tower.
        But this joy was for the sub-colibers, when detonated, land mines tear off the entire tower, so there will be a problem, how to protect the crew when the tower is demolished?
        By the way, the owners of this prodigy themselves spoke about the defeat of the BC in the side and rear with a caliber of 12,7 mm (well, and higher, respectively).
        Each technique has its + and -.
        But amers love to fight with comfort most of all.
        1. 0
          31 July 2023 04: 31
          I refuse to believe this nonsense is a sane person. Solid porridge of everything and everyone. More like trolling.
  14. 0
    30 July 2023 18: 55
    Will it stand against a Molotov cocktail? wassat
    1. +1
      30 July 2023 19: 12
      I will reveal a secret to you, but Armata will not stand.
  15. +1
    31 July 2023 02: 16
    A few months ago they sang odes to the Leopards and the Patriots.
    But both are on fire.
    CBO showed how rare tank duels would be and how often tanks hit me with artillery. Fragments of a 152 mm projectile will give a fuck how much active armor and electronics are on this prodigy. Same with anti-tank mines.
    I don’t even write about drones and stuff.
    In my opinion, they slowed down with Armata when they realized that there would be no tank duels, but losing an expensive tank from artillery actions is insulting and expensive.
    My opinion: the tank has become obsolete, in the sense of a breakthrough force. Now the tank is the maximum support or diversion of fire on itself, everything is done by small mobile groups, following the example of the DRG. They came, scouted, gave a tip to arte, cleared it out, and moved on.