Troopers assigned come Bravo Company, third Battalion, 8th mounties Regiment, third Armored Brigade Combat Team (3ABCT), first Cavalry Division, phase the first set of new M1A2C (SEP v.3) Abrams Tanks at ft Hood, Texas, July 21, 2020. The modernization that the Greywolf brigade, v the enhancement of receiving the new Abrams tanks, provides 3ABCT the many lethal and agile armored brigade in the Army. (U.S. Army photo through Sgt. Calab Franklin).

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It’s been more than three years since the Army first took distribution of the first of that souped-up brand-new version of the M1 Abrams main battle tank, and the service plainly likes what the sees.

The Defense department announced ~ above Friday that the military has awarded a monster $4.62 billion contract come defense giant general Dynamics Land systems to develop M1A2 SEPv3 tanks because that the organization over the next eight years.

The announcement did no specify precisely how many fresh Abrams tanks the organization plans ~ above procuring under the contract, although the does stipulate that work locations and also funding “will be figured out with every order, v an estimated completion date of June 17, 2028.”

Also well-known as the M1A2C, the new Abrams variant “rectifies many of the space, weight and also power issues identified throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom and will be the foundational variant for all future incremental upgrades,” follow to the Army.

Outfitted with fresh survivability enhancements and a brand-new power system, the SEPv3 purportedly boasts boosted main pistol accuracy through “smart cannon” supplies programmable end data link and also reinforced armor bolstered by a built-in jammer to respond to radio-triggered improvised explosive devices.

As of February 2019, the SEPv3 upgrade also included the Israeli-developed Trophy HV hard-kill energetic protection equipment that usage radar come detect just arrived missiles and rockets then fires tiny projectiles to intercept them.

According to the Army, the M1A2 SEPv3’s complete improvements include the integration that the U.S. Military’s joint Tactical Radio System, highly improved strength generation and also distribution, a line replaceable modules architecture for enhanced maintenance, digital warfare tools to respond to remote-controlled IEDs, and auxiliary strength unit, and far-reaching ballistic armor upgrades.

“It is the many reliable Abrams tank ever before produced, will decrease the Army’s logistic burden, and leads the military in enterprise-level connectivity to maintenance and also supply systems,” according to the service.

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry department were the first to take it possession of the SEPv3 earlier in might of this year.

The military hopes to ultimately field approximately 2,101 SEPv3 tanks under the Abrams upgrade Program, according to service budget documents published earlier this year.

Troopers assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3ABCT), 1st Cavalry Division, command preventative maintenance checks and services on their new M1A2C (SEP v.3) Abrams Tanks at fort Hood, Texas, July 21, 2020. The modernization the the Greywolf brigade, v the enhancement of gift the an initial unit in the military to get the brand-new Abrams tanks, renders 3ABCT the many lethal and agile armored brigade in the Army. (U.S. Army photo through Sgt. Calab Franklin)

The service accepted the first of around a half-dozen initial production versions of the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams earlier in October 2017.

The complying with year, GDLS secured an military contract to upgrade 274 Abrams tanks — more than three brigades precious — right into the brand-new SEPv3 configuration.

According to military budget documents, the company had previously shelled out more than $13.3 billion for upwards that 1,700 SEPv3 upgrade packages due to the fact that the begin of the program earlier in 2015.

“The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 is the first in a series of new or considerably improved vehicles that we will certainly be moving to the Army’s ABCTs,” Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, said when the an initial prototypes rolled off the assembly line back in 2017. 

“It is a an excellent step forward in reliability, sustainability, protection, and also onboard strength which location the Abrams tank and also our ABCTs for the future.”

The military is already eyeing SEPv4 (or M1A2D) upgrades for testing, including “new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, combined on-board networks, brand-new slip-rings, progressed meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and also a far much more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round,” together Bassett told Warrior Maven ago in 2016.

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“This program began early sufficient to on-board any modern technology the army deems vital to the future battlefield come include fabricated intelligence, autonomy, APS or progressed sensors,” according to the service.

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Jared Keller

is the executive, management editor of task & Purpose. His creating has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles evaluation of Books, the brand-new Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.