M1A2 Abrams SEP v3 (System Enhanced Package)
M1A2 Abrams SEP v3 (System Enhanced Package)

Australian Government Approves Financing for M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams and Tank Supporting Systems

Defence Connect reported that the Australian Government has reportedly approved a $1.685 billion order of a fleet of armored fighting vehicles. Australian Army’s request to purchase 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks under the LAND 907 Phase 2 project has been reportedly greenlit by the Commonwealth cabinet, with a formal announcement expected to be made imminently. The proposed sale improves Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the lethality, survivability, and interoperability of the Australian Army. Australia will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. The M1A2 SEPv3 Main Battle Tanks will upgrade the current Australian fleet of M1A1 SA tanks with no changes to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps force structure. Additional M88A2 vehicles provide de-processing and combat vehicle recovery support for the Australian tank fleet. The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles (ABVs) and M1074 Joint Assault Bridges (JABs) will be a new capability for the Royal Australian Engineers, bringing under-armor bridging and breaching capability, increasing the effectiveness and survivability of Australian Combat Engineers and providing increased mobility for the armored fleet. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

Australian Army M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks from the 1st Armoured Regiment live-fire their main armament during Exercise Koolendong 2021 at the Bradshaw Field Training Area, Northern Territory.
Australian Army M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks from the 1st Armoured Regiment live-fire their main armament during Exercise Koolendong 2021 at the Bradshaw Field Training Area, Northern Territory.(Photo by CPL Rodrigo Villablanca/Australian Government Department of Defence)

The Australian Government has requested to buy one hundred sixty (160) M1A1 Tank structures/hulls provided from stock to produce the following end items and spares: seventy-five (75) M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; twenty-nine (29) M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles; eighteen (18) M1074 Joint Assault Bridges; six (6) M88A2 Hercules Combat Recovery Vehicles; and one hundred twenty-two (122) AGT1500 gas turbine engines. Also included in the development of a unique armor package, Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station Low Profile (CROWS-LP), Driver’s Vision Enhancer, mission equipment, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, system and engine spare parts, technical data, publications, Modification Work Orders/Engineering Change Proposals (MWO/ECPs), U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics assistance, quality assurance teams, transportation services, program management, New Equipment Training (NET); and other related elements of logistical and program support. The principal contractors will be General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, MI; BAE Systems, York, PA; Leonardo DRS, Arlington, VA; and Honeywell Aerospace, Phoenix, AZ.

M1150 Shredder Assault Breacher Vehicle with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, idles in the Black Top Training Area aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 17, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

The M1A2 Abrams SEP v3 (System Enhanced Package) is a modernized version of the M1A2 SEPV v2 main battle tank that benefits from several upgrades in the areas of survivability, maintainability, full efficiency, and network capability. The M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 retains the layout of the M1A2 MBT with the driver’s cab at the forward center hull, turret in the middle, and power-pack at the rear. The tank integrates the line-replaceable module technology to enable easy maintenance of the fleet. The M1A2 SEP V3 is powered by a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine, which develops a power of 1,500hp. The new auxiliary power unit under the armor enables the tank to operate on-board systems with a reduced probability of detection during silent watch operations. The hull and turret integrate a new armor package for superior protection against threats from the improvised explosive device (IEDs). The tank can be hinged with reactive armor and slat armor. The CREW Duke V3 counter remote-controlled IED (RCIED) electronic warfare system protects the crew from roadside bombs and IED attacks. The main gun fitted on the MBT is a M256 120mm smoothbore cannon, which can fire M829A4 advanced kinetic energy and advanced multi-purpose (AMP) rounds to defend armored vehicles, personnel, and low-flying aircraft. The tank features a low-profile (LP) common remotely operated weapon system (CROWS) installed with a 12.7mm machine gun. A 7.62mm M240 machine gun is also mounted coaxially with the main gun.

U.S. Army M1074 Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) provides Mobility Augmentation Companies supporting Armored Brigade Combat Teams with a survivable, deployable and sustainable heavy-assault-bridging capability (Photo by Leonardo DRS)

The M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) is a U.S. military mine- and explosives-clearing vehicle, based on the M1 Abrams chassis, equipped with a mine plow and line charges. These tracked combat vehicles were specially designed to clear pathways for troops and other vehicles through minefields and along with roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices. They are equipped with Linear Demolition Charge System (LDCS): rockets carrying C-4 explosives up to 100–150 yards forward, detonating hidden bombs at a safe distance, so that troops and vehicles can pass through safely. The M1074 Joint Assault Bridge System (JABS) is an American armored military engineering vehicle based on the Abrams M1A1 main battle tank.? The M1074 was designed by Leonardo DRS Technologies to provide deployable bridge capability for units engaged in military operations. The bridge is an Armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) Military Load Class 95 Scissor Bridge (MLC95). The M88 Recovery Vehicle is one of the largest armored recovery vehicles (ARV) currently in use by the United States Armed Forces. There are currently three variants, the M88, M88A1, and M88A2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lifting Extraction System).

Troopers assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, stage the first set of new Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 (M1A2C) Tanks at Fort Hood, Texas, July 21, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Calab Franklin)