It's been nearly three years since since the Army took delivery of the first of its souped-up new version of the M1 Abrams main battle tank, and the service's first brigade of upgraded warhorses is officially ready to bring the pain downrange.
Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are the first to take possession of the the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks, also known as the M1A2C, according to recent posts from the Greywolf Brigade on social media.
Outfitted with fresh survivability enhancements and a new power system, the SEPv3 purportedly boasts improved main gun accuracy with "smart cannon" munitions programmable over data link and reinforced armor bolstered by a built-in jammer to counter radio-triggered improvised explosive devices.
As of February 2019, the SEPv3 upgrade also included the Israeli-developed Trophy HV hard-kill active protection systems that uses radar to detect incoming missiles and rockets then fires tiny projectiles to intercept them.
According to the Army, the M1A2 SEPv3's full improvements include the following:
Joint Tactical Radio System: Integration of the Government Furnished Equipment Joint Tactical Radio System Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit radio to support the need to establish network readiness and maintain battle command and communications interoperability with future Brigade Combat Teams.
Power Generation and Distribution: Aspects include Improved Amperage Alternator, Slip Ring, Enhanced Hull Power Distribution Unit/Common Remote Switching Modules, and the Battery Monitoring System. These technologies address the power demand growth potential and the need for dissemination of critical information.
Line Replaceable Unit/Line Replaceable Modules Redesign: Migration of current force Abrams platforms to a two-level maintenance scheme can be initiated through the implementation of Line Replaceable Module technology.
Counter Remote Control Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare V3: Counter Remote Control Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare/Duke V3 is the latest version from PM CREW.
Ammunition Data Link: The ADL is required to program the M829A4 Advanced Kinetic Energy and Advanced Multi-Purpose rounds.
Auxiliary Power Unit: The under armor APU provides capability to operate on-board systems with a reduced probability of detection during silent watch operations.
Armor Upgrades: The Abrams Tank will continue to advance its ballistic protection to counter the latest threats and maintain battlefield superiority.
The Army accepted the first of about a half-dozen initial production versions of the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams back in October 2017.
The following year, General Dynamics Land Systems secured an Army contract upgrade 100 Abrams tanks into the new SEPv3 configuration.
"The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 is the first in a series of new or significantly improved vehicles that we will be delivering to the Army's ABCTs," Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, said when the first prototypes rolled off the assembly line back in 2017.
"It is a great step forward in reliability, sustainability, protection, and onboard power which positions the Abrams tank and our ABCTs for the future."
It's worth noting that the Army is already eyeing SEPv4 (or M1A2D) upgrades for testing, including "new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, integrated on-board networks, new slip-rings, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and a far more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round," as Bassett told Warrior Maven back in 2016.
1st Armored Division officials did not immediately response to request for comment from Task & Purpose.