Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Army Is About To Receive Its First Souped-Up New M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank
The Army is on track to receive its first prototypes of the upgraded M1A2 Abrams tank by the end of September, the branch’s PEO Ground Combat Systems office told Scout Warrior on Sept. 14, with plans to start fielding the souped-up new model downrange by fiscal year 2020.
The M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEP v3), produced by General Dynamics Land Systems, is designed to offer a major upgrade to the weapons, protection and electronics systems of the storied M1 and M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, the workhorse of the Army for nearly four decades. The first prototypes were delivered for initial reliability testing by the Army at the Yuma and Aberdeen Proving Grounds back in January 2015 — and based on the new model’s available specs, the tank seems clearly designed to adapt to asymmetric threats of the Global War on Terror.
The M1A2 SEP v3 upgrade, though focused on next-generation network capabilities designed to improve situation awareness and communication, certainly packs a wallop. The tank’s main 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun comes with new-and-improved advanced multi-purpose rounds with three distinct settings (detonate, delay, and airburst) for a variety of functions from wall-breaching to bunker-busting, an “essential capability required in urban environments,” per Army Recognition. On top of that, the 120mm cannon was designed to fire the fifth-generation kinetic-energy anti-tank M829E4 shell, a depleted-uranium, sabot-wrapped penetrator built to totally liquify heavy armor over vast distances.
While the rest of the v3’s armament remain relatively unchanged, but the upgraded network systems add an extra layer of lethality. Like its SEP v2 predecessor, the new M1A2 boasts two 7.62 mm M240 machine guns (with one on a versatile coaxial mount next to the main cannon), and side-mounted six-barrelled M250 smoke grenade dischargers, according to Army Recognition But unlike the v2, the standard 12.7mm machine gun includes an upgraded CROWS system designed for better closed-hatch visibility and fields of view for gunners. In turn, the v3’s new-and-improved Ammunition DataLink provides upgraded communication with the tank’s fire-control platforms, lending increased control to gunners within.
When it comes to protection, the SEP v3 was engineered for better survivability against IEDs, the weapon of choice of jihadists that arguably shaped the U.S. military’s post-9/11 campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan more than any other weapon. Scout Warrior reports that upgraded tank comes with a Counter Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device — Electronic Warfare package, requested by U.S. Central Command more than a decade ago, designed to neutralize remote-controlled roadside IEDs used to ambush unsuspecting troops. Should CREW fail, according to Army Recognition, the SEP v3 boasts a reinforced armor package across the tank’s turret and hull for better protection against from multiple simultaneous IED detonations.
The M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEP v3) variant of the beloved M1 Abrams main battle tankPhoto via General Dynamics Land Systems
The Army is apparently already impressed with the SEP v3. On Sept. 4, the branch awarded a $270 million contract to produce 45 of the upgraded Abrams tanks. And while the branch also asked GDLS to incorporate changes into the SEP v3 upgrade package (and start work on a follow-up SEP v4 modernization roadmap), PEO Ground Combat Systems spokesman Ashley Givens told Scout Warrior that the new SEP v3 new vehicles will eventually replace the Army’s entire fleet of 1,500 existing M1A2 tanks that have served the branch since the 1990s.
With the Army gearing up for yet another push against the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan, the M1A2 v3’s emphasis on IED protection and urban combat seems to reflect the lessons learned by Department of Defense learned from the three-year campaign against ISIS in the streets of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. And although the v3 likely won’t stare down militants in the cities and deserts of the Middle East for at least a few years, here’s hoping that there’s a few ISIS bunkers left to annihilate by the time it joins the party.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.