By Bijan Razzaghi
General Dynamics Land Systems has recently unveiled their latest upgrade to the M-1 Abrams series of main battle tanks called the M-1A-2 SEP 3. This upgrade has better optimized the tank to operate in difficult asymmetrical environments while protecting the crew from various threats. The primary features of the new upgrade to the Abrams tank include increased power generation and power distribution, improved connectivity for better battlefield communications, as well as an amour package designed to defend the Abrams tank from IED attacks. The tank also has the VHMS Vehicle health management systems and LRM Line Replaceable modules. A new APU has also been added.
The Increased power generators are added to allow the tank to provide more energy to the modern advanced digital displays and communications technology being added, the better power distribution can make those systems fun faster and operate more efficiently. The amour package is also vital, much of the details of it are kept classified, yet it is known to be designed from lessons learned on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Likely it is designed to defend from IEDs and RPGs.
Other systems added designed for improved maintenance information are the VHMS and LRMs these essentially provide adequate information of the tank to the crews for them to understand exactly what type of work needs to be done ot keep the tank battle ready.
The final upgrade is an improved APU. The APU gives electric energy to the tank and allows the functions of the turret and optics and weapon systems without the need of the engine, This gives the tank improved fuel efficiency on the battlefield and reduces the tanks need to be refueled.
The SEP3 upgrade is to be fielded in 2017 by the US Army and is likely going to be upgraded to all US army M-1A2s. It is unknown at this time if the same systems will be employed on Marine Corp M-1A1s. The Abrams tank was originally fielded in 1980 and has served the US military for almost 40 years the tank has proven itself to be very effective in combat. The newest M-1A2s have been operational for 20 years the SEP3 upgrade keeps the tank ready for the numerous challenges faced in 21st century warfare.