Key point: Why throw out the entire tank chasis when it can be updated? With a bunch of new high-tech changes, America’s M-1A2SEPV3 tank is ready to rumble.

The U.S. Army just got a new tank. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the ground-combat branch describes the vehicle.

On Oct. 4, 2017, the Army’s program office for ground vehicles announced that the service had accepted the first M-1A2SEPV3 “on schedule and on budget.” General Dynamics Land Systems builds the tank in Lima, Ohio, using existing M-1 hulls as a starting point.

This first appeared in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

The Army asked to buy 58 M-1A2SEPV3 tanks in 2018, against a total requirement for around a thousand of the new vehicles — enough to equip all of the branch’s active-duty tank brigades. At present, a V3 costs around $20 million. The price should drop as the production rate increases.

RecommendedReport – U.S. Army is Now “Weak” 

While officially a variant of the nearly four-decade-old M-1 tank, the SEPV3 is, in all the ways that matter, essentially brand new. The preceding variant, the M-1A2SEPV2, entered service in 2007.

“Principal improvements are in lethality, survivability and sustainability,” Don Kotchman, a General Dynamics vice president, said in late 2015.

RecommendedRussia’s Battlecruisers Could Be a Super Weapon 

The M-1A2SEPV3 boasts improved inertial navigation to achieve what Kotchman described as “better round disbursement” — in other words, improved main-gun accuracy. There’s also a data-link for programmable munitions, making the SEPV3 compatible with new, “smart” cannon rounds that are beginning to enter the Army’s arsenal.

RecommendedA Hypersonic Arms Race is Coming

The V3 tank also has tougher front and rear armor than the V2 does — plus a built-in jammer for defeating radio-triggered improvised explosive devices.

Some of the most important improvements are seemingly the most boring. The V3 comes with a new auxiliary power unit installed underneath the armor. This APU allows a tank crew to power their vehicle’s electronics without turning on the main engine. That way, a tank can quietly and efficiently monitor the battlefield for hours at a time without guzzling a full tank of gas.

Kotchman said the power unit makes the new tank a third more fuel-efficient compared to earlier variants.

The V3 features a 1,000-amp generator that Kotchman said would be able to power the new digital radios that the Pentagon is developing. To support the radios’ digital datalinks, the V3 has an ethernet architecture and better line-replaceable units — in essence, black boxes for computer motherboards.

The V3 does not come with a new engine. The Army decided against replacing the M-1’s gas turbine with a more efficient diesel engine. “Right now, as the Army balances priorities, there doesn’t appear to be interest,” Kotchman said.

Likewise, the V3 has the same 70-ton suspension that the V2 does. Kotchman said the SEPV3 is still under 70 tons, but could grow heavier with future upgrades. “We’re looking at future opportunities for potential suspension upgrades,” he said.

Even though it shares the engine, suspension, main armament and basic layout of the older M-1A2SEPV2, the V3 is a much harder-hitting and better-defended tank with a new power system and network architecture.

Fifty years ago, the Army might have given a vehicle with so many new features a new designation — at the very least, referring to it as the M-1A3. But in recent decades, the military has preferred to downplay many of its technological advancements.

Sometimes, the name game represents an effort to avoid Congressional and taxpayer scrutiny. In the early 1990s, the Navy was stinging from its failed effort to develop a brand-new stealth fighter-bomber called the A-12.

So when the sailing branch tapped Boeing to supply a new fighter to replace the A through D models of the F/A-18, it insisted on calling the new jet the F/A-18E/F. Never mind that the latter has a larger and aerodynamically-distinct airframe and wing, new engines, a new radar and a greatly improved cockpit compared to the original F/A-18.

By the same token, as long as the Army continues to produce new tanks under the M-1 appellation, it can argue to Congress and taxpayers that it’s still using 40-year-old tanks — and needs more money to acquire something new.

In fact, the M-1A2SEPV3 is new. Even if it looks like a 40-year-old tank … and shares its name.

This first appeared in WarIsBoring here. This first appeared in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

T-90 Tank: The AK-47 of Russian Tanks

The T-90 and associated variants are one hell of a tank — may be the best in Russian inventories. Relatively modern, they sport many levels of armor and capabilities, are easily upgradeable, and continue to supply armies all over the world.…

Russia’s MiG-17 Fighter Has One Hell of a History (A Terror in the Sky)

Here’s What You Need to Remember: Over 10,000 of MiG-17 series were produced and served in Chinese, Vietnamese, Soviet, East German, and Polish air forces, to name a few. Although it never achieved parity with its American counterparts, the MiG-17 was…

T-15 Armata heavy combat vehicle to take part in Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square

LUCKNOW /India/, February 5. /TASS/. The T-15 Armata heavy infantry fighting vehicle with the latest AU-220M combat module will take part in the Victory Day Parade in Moscow’s Red Square, CEO of the Burevestnik Central Research Institute (part of Uralvagonzavod…

Lockheed Martin Sending Drones to Poland to Support Stealth F-35s

While the Polish Air Force won’t receive its first F-35A Lightning II jet fighters until 2024, this week it was announced that those aircraft could have quite a unique “wingman.” According to multiple reports Poland will not only acquire 32…