Saturday, April 13, 2024

U.S. Army fast-tracks Abrams Main Battle Tank modernization

The U.S. Army has announced the path forward for the M1E3 Abrams Main Battle Tank modernization program. The Army will close out the M1A2 System Enhanced Package Version 4 (SEPv4) effort and develop a more fundamentally upgraded version called the M1E3 Abrams.

The move away from SEPv4 is driven by the need for tanks that offer improved mobility and survivability, especially in light of the war in Ukraine. With the need for lighter and more adaptable systems on the battlefields of the future, the focus has shifted toward developing tanks that will win against future threats on the battlefield of 2040 and beyond.

Last week, the Army announced its intention to pursue a more ambitious modernization strategy for the M1.

The Abrams Main Battle Tank is a full-tracked, low-profile, land-combat assault weapon that enables Soldiers to dominate their adversaries through lethal firepower, unparalleled survivability, and agile maneuvering. It closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower, and shock effects.

“We appreciate that future battlefields pose new challenges to the tank as we study recent and ongoing conflicts” said Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman, director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team. “We must optimize the Abrams’ mobility and survivability to allow the tank to continue to close with and destroy the enemy as the apex predator on future battlefields.”

“The Abrams Tank can no longer grow its capabilities without adding weight, and we need to reduce its logistical footprint,” said Major General Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems. “The war in Ukraine has highlighted a critical need for integrated protections for Soldiers, built from within instead of adding on.”

The development of the Abrams tank has been a result of years of testing, analysis, and feedback from soldiers on the ground. The latest iteration of the tank is a culmination of maturing technology and strategic decision-making that balances cost with the Army’s needs and invests in the nation’s defense industrial base.

The M1E3 Abrams development will include the best features of the M1A2 SEPv4 and will comply with the latest modular open systems architecture standards. This will allow for faster technology upgrades and minimize resource requirements. This will enable the Army and its commercial partners to design a more survivable, lighter tank that will be more effective on the battlefield at initial fielding and more easy to upgrade in the future.

The modernization of this tank will significantly improve the maneuverability and performance of armored brigade combat teams in conflicts worldwide by reducing the sustainment footprint and increasing operational and tactical mobility.

The Army will continue to produce the M1A2 SEPv3 at a reduced rate until production transitions to the M1E3 Abrams, and the Army will carry technologies forward into the SEPv4 Abrams modernization effort.

The M1E3 Abrams is expected to achieve its initial operational capability in the early 2030s. With the increase in longer-range threats in both lethality and survivability, the M1E3 Abrams is well-equipped to defeat such threats. This tank is considered to be the most protected and lethal tank in the world.