On Thursday, December 9, 2021, Troopers assigned to Cold Steel, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, Calif., fired the first main battle tank round out of the M1A2 Abrams System Enhancement Program (SEP) V2 in the Regiment’s history. The Regiment previously executed gunnery using M1A1 Abrams while simultaneously fulfilling the role of the U.S. Military’s professional opposing force at the National Training Center. On October 2021, the 11th ACR received five M1A2 Abrams SEP V2s via a lateral transfer from Fort Hood, Texas. Although the tanks were new to the Regiment, the vehicles required manpower, resources, and service tasks to maintain functionality. Safety was the priority, and before Troopers could operate the new main battle tanks for live fire, they needed to ensure the serviceability of the platform.
“To be able to lead a Troop through train up and maintenance and watch their hard work pay off was very exciting,” said Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Lim, Cold Steel First Sergeant. “Seeing the dedication of Cold Steel Troopers come to life in that first round down range was a truly humbling experience.”
“Today’s live-fire was conceptualized, planned, and executed in about five weeks,” said 1st Lt. Jack Dwyer, Cold Steel Troop Executive Officer. “It was a true test at all echelons in Cold Steel Troop to fix the vehicles mechanically, equip them efficiently through the Army maintenance and supply chains, and above all train the crews to be able to execute all the actions required of them when the moment was right.”
It’s not often that tanks are fired from outside the vehicle, the crew conducted final firing preparations at the rear of the tank. Firing the main gun from outside the vehicle verifies that the main gun is functional, and demonstrates to the crew that they will be safe when operating the tank and sitting inches away from the main gun. The first munition, a M865 target practice cone stabilized discarding sabot with tracer, or TPCSDS-T erupted out of the M1A2 Abrams SEP V2 gun tube. Troopers assigned to Cold Steel jumped in excitement at the momentous occasion after the sabot flew down range as they knew their hard work had made history in the Regiment. The words “Cold Steel” are printed in bold black lettering across the 120mm smoothbore M256 cannon recoiled. Cold Steel Troop will qualify their tank crews while simultaneously supporting the National Training Center’s Decisive Action rotational schedule. The National Training Center trains rotational training units, joint, interagency, and multinational partners to build and sustain readiness to fight and win.
Abrams M1A2 SEPV2 (System Enhanced Package) is a modernised configuration of the Abrams main battle tank (MBT) in service with the U.S. Army. The M1A2 SEP V2 has improved microprocessors, color flat panel displays, improved memory capacity, better Soldiermachine interface, and a new open operating system designed to run the Common Operating Environment (COE) software. M1A2 SEPV2 Has upgraded 3rd generation depleted uranium armor components with graphite coating, improved displays, sights, power, and a tank-infantry phone. It represents the most technologically advanced Abrams tank and can accommodate future technology improvements to ensure compatibility with the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems. In 2019 Leonardo DRS, Inc. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel (Rafael) announced that the partners have delivered on time the first Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to defend the U.S. Army’s AbramsM 1A2 SEP V2 main battle tanks against a variety of anti-armor threats.