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Romanian Lawmakers Approves $1 Billion Deal to Buy M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 Main Battle Tanks

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Romanian Lawmakers Approves $1 Billion Deal to Buy M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 Main Battle Tanks

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M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3)
M1A2 System Enhancement Package Version 3 (SEPv3)

The Commission for Defense, Public Order and National Security in Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, the parliament’s lower chamber, has approved the National Defence Ministry’s request to allow the purchase of 54 used M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the United States. As Romania’s ruling tripartite coalition holds a large majority in both chambers, a relevant bill to authorize the acquisition is expected to be adopted by the parliament shortly. The envisioned purchase of 54 tanks along with accompanying gear and services is estimated to be worth about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). The acquisition will be done through a government to government deal. The timeline for the purchase was unclear.

Romania has raised defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product this year from 2%, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The European Union and NATO state which shares a 650-km (400 mile) border with Ukraine, is host to a U.S. ballistic missile defense system and has a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory. The development comes as the Romanian government is accelerating work on a number of procurements, including plans to buy new armored vehicles, missile systems, warships, 155-mm howitzers and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet in the aftermath of Russia’s attack against Ukraine. Countries close to Russia like Poland, Finland and Germany are striking deals to build U.S. weapons in Europe, negotiating new deals and looking to speed up existing contracts.

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General Dynamics Land Systems M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tank
General Dynamics Land Systems M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tank

Owing to the planned purchase, Romania could become the second operator of the U.S.-made tank in Eastern Europe after the Polish government signed a deal worth some $4.75 billion to acquire 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks in April 2022. Poland has signed an agreement to procure 250 Abrams tanks from the US in a bid to strengthen its armed forces, as hostilities rage on in neighbouring Ukraine. Poland will purchase Abrams M1A2 SEP (System Enhanced Package) v3 main battle tanks. The procurement will also include 26 M88A2 HERCULES maintenance vehicles, and 17 bridges M1074 Joint Assault Bridges. The Abrams tanks in the most modern SEPv3 version will be delivered to units located in the eastern part of Poland, on the Eastern flank of NATO – primarily the 18th Mechanized Division, including the 1st Armoured Brigade.

The M1A2 Abrams SEPV3 retains the layout of the M1A2 with the driver’s cab at the forward centre hull, turret in the middle and power pack at the rear. The tank integrates a joint tactical radio system (JTRS) handheld and small form-fit radio to ensure network readiness and interoperation with future brigade combat teams (BCTs). The Abrams M1A2 SEP V3 include the Ammunition DataLink (ADL), improved 120mm ammunition, Improved Forward-Looking Infrared (IFLIR) and the low-profile (LP) Common Remotely Operated Weapon System (CROWS). The main battle tank measures 9.7m-long, 3.7m-wide and 2.4m-high, and is manned by a crew of four, including a driver, a commander, a loader and a gunner. The 73.6-ton tank has a crew of four and can go 42 miles on a road and 30 miles per hour cross-country.

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