M1A2D [ex M1A2 SEPv4]
The M1A2D [ex M1A2 SEPv4] upgraded Abrams must be fielded in the 2020s before an entirely new vehicle can be deployed. Army This perhaps-last Abrams variant is equipped with more lethal Advanced Multi-Purpose ammunition (AMP), integrating many rounds into one 120mm round, and third-generation Forward Looking Infrared Sensors (FLIR) designed for better resolution and increased range.
The Abrams M1A2 is a tracked, land combat, assault weapon system equipped with a 120-mm main gun offering shoot on-the move firepower and joint interoperability (for the exchange of tactical and support information). The Army intends the Abrams tank to be highly survivable and maneuverable with the ability to respond to hostile entities on the battlefield by engaging or avoiding them before they become a threat. The most modern Abrams tank has started development; the cornerstone technology is the third generation (3GEN) FLIR, which will provide tank crews much greater lethality. The 3GEN FLIR will be an upgrade to both sights and will be common with other combat platforms. With the upgrade, the Abrams will integrate a color camera, Eye-safe Laser Range Finder and a cross-platform laser pointer to facilitate multidomain battle in to the commanderís sight. In addition to a lethality upgrade, the M1A2 SEPv4 will include full-embedded training to maximize crew proficiency of the system. This program began early enough to on-board any technology the Army deems critical to the future battlefield to include artificial intelligence, autonomy, APS or advanced sensors.
The Army plans to begin fielding the Abrams M1A2 SEPv4 in 1QFY25. The Abrams M1A2 SEPv4 is an upgrade to the Abrams M1A2 SEPv3. The upgrades include:
- An improved Gunnerís Primary Sight (GPS) with 3rd Generation Forward Looking Infrared (3GEN FLIR), an Improved Laser Range Finder (LRF), and Color Camera
- An improved Commanderís primary sight with 3GEN FLIR, an improved LRF, laser pointer, and color camera
- Improved lethality by providing the ability for the fire control system to digitally communicate with the new Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) Round
- Improved firing accuracy through the installation of a Meteorological Sensor
- Improved onboard diagnostics
The Army intends to install the Trophy APS on the Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 and SEPv3 tanks and field four Armor Brigade sets to Army prepositioned stocks domestically and outside of the continental United States (OCONUS). The Army intends the Trophy APS to improve the survivability of ground combat vehicles against anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and recoilless rifle threats. The APS includes search radars to detect, identify, and track incoming threats, and a set of kinetic projectiles intended to intercept the incoming threat. The Abrams base armor is expected to absorb threat by-products generated after a successful intercept. The Trophy APS adds approximately 5,000 pounds to the Abrams tanks.
Testing for the SEP v4 variant commenced in 2021, and included color cameras, new slip-rings, new laser-rangefinder technology, integrated onboard networks, laser-warning receivers, advanced meteorological sensors and ammunition data links.
In November 2016, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, described FLIR as "A combination of mid-wave and long-wave sensors [that] allow for better target identification at long ranges and better resolution at shorter ranges." He also said the upgrade will adapt to different environments better than previous variants. "You do not have to manually put meteorological variables into the fire control system. It will detect the density of the air, relative humidity and wind speed and integrate it directly into the platform," he said.
In late 2017, the Abrams Modernization Team received the Abrams SEPv4 ECP contract, which will upgrade the M1A2 SEPv3 to M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams tank. The SEPv4 will be designed to be more lethal, faster, lighter, better protected and equipped with new sensors. The lethality effort will include development and integration of new laser rangefinder technology, a color day camera, integrated on-board networks, new slip-rings, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and other enhancements to ensure the warfighter will continue to have the most advanced, lethal and combat proven main battle tank in the world.
Engineering Change Proposals - ECPs - can extend a programís life cycle, increase its lethality and maintain its battlefield superiority through upgrading, replacing and recapitalizing efforts. The biggest differences of working on modernization of current vehicles vice the development and support of new programs is being constrained to the parameters of the current vehicle design and systems. With ECPs not every technology in the vehicle is being replaced, so there are size, weight, power, cooling and cost, or SWAP-CC, considerations with the insertion of new technologies. Additionally, if part of the ECP effort is introducing a whole new technology you have to ensure that there is a space claim for it, as well as the power generation requirements to power the new system.
ECPs allow the Army to upgrade ground combat vehicles at key and strategic points throughout the tanks life cycle. It has continually upgraded the Abrams with reduced risk and cost, while taking advantage of the current technologies that each ECP offered to increased mobility, protection and lethality.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|