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M1A2 SEPv4: The New Abrams Tank That Changes Everything

M1 Abrams Tank
M1 Abrams Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

It seems strange that a tank designed in the 1970s is the most dominant tank today and perhaps of all time. And, somehow, the M1 Abrams continues to dominate the battlefield. M1A2 SEPv4 builds on that powerful legacy: Is the M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams tank coming soon? The U.S. Army’s M1A2 Abrams tank is the most advanced main battle tank in the world. And, as the war in Ukraine is proving beyond doubt, tanks are very much a part of modern warfare.

To be sure, tanks have become more vulnerable as other capabilities have emerged, particularly unmanned aerial systems, but in order to be captured, an enemy city will still need a tank to support the mechanized infantry.

M1A2 SEPv4 and The Different Faces of the M1 Abrams 

Over the decades, the weapon system has gone through three main versions. Everything began with the M1 Abrams. Then followed the M1A1 Abrams. Next came the M1A2 Abrams, which received a major upgrade with the System Enhanced Package (SEP)v3.

The manufacturer had the foresight to build the main battle tank in a way that welcomed future improvements.

“The Abrams has been around since [the] early 80s, and the original designers were forward thinking to build in the provisions for continual upgrade. Over the years, there have been significant improvements in sensor capabilities, power generation, mobility, lethality, survivability, armor and situational awareness,” Donald Kotchman, Vice President, Tracked Combat Vehicles, General Dynamics Land Systems, had said in an interview back in 2018.

The M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams is currently the most advanced version of the main battle tank and the most sophisticated tank out there.

This upgrade of the main battle tank gave the M1A2 Abrams additional electrical power from an auxiliary power unit, elevated its network capabilities, gave it stronger armor, including explosive reactive armor mountings and improvised explosive device (IED) countermeasures, for greater protection against strikes of all types, provided a better ammo data link to interface with advanced shells, such as airburst munitions, and condensed the maintenance required to upkeep the main battle tank.

The M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams is an extremely capable platform, and it started to enter operational service only two years ago, in 2020.

But when it comes to weapon systems, the U.S. military is always thinking ahead on how it can improve its existing arsenal and meet the threat scenarios of the future. As such, the U.S. Army has been developing the fourth version of the venerable M1 Abrams.

M1A2 SEPv4 – What The Future Might Hold for the M1 Abrams 

In conjunction with General Dynamics Land Systems, the manufacturer of the M1 Abrams, the Army is looking to add another upgrade to the main battle tank. The upgrade, presumably a System Enhanced Package 4 (for a M1A2 SEPv4)—and not a new main battle tank, which is being developed separately—would add the following features, according to reports.

New sensors, including meteorological sensory equipment that would help with target acquisition and engagement in various weather conditions, laser rangefinder technology, ammunition data links, an improved network, and a generally more efficient structure. In addition, the M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams will have the capability to fire more advanced 120mm munition.

The Army wants to have the capability by the mid-2020s.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.



  1. Scott Shepherd

    June 29, 2022 at 12:35 am

    I think you’ll find that the German, Korean and New british challenger 3 tank are just as good…if not better.

  2. Pnvgopalarao

    June 30, 2022 at 3:33 am

    Tanks in future war useless utensils.shoulder mounted anti tank missiles are destroying elephant mighty tanks.ukrain war show casesed this.investment,research,production on tanks is mindless unless it is missile proof.

    • Kane

      July 4, 2022 at 3:00 am

      It’s because Russia hasn’t mobilised its conscripts and doesn’t have the infantry for combined arms to protect the tanks against these threats, also cities are a tanks worst nightmare. By your logic infantry have been redundant since the first caveman killed another with a rock.

      • Mikey

        July 4, 2022 at 2:38 pm

        Warfare has changed. Not just tanks and armor, but attack helicopters became a weak point. So many loses on both sides – it’s scary.

        Speaking of armor that ruled the battlefield since WW2 (tanks fighting other tanks in open area and large formations) – you’re not going to see that anymore.

        And the choice of cities as battleground is not coincidental. They are chosen exactly because tanks are inefficient in that environment. Same in forested areas.

        But now attack helicopters also seem extremely vulnerable.

      • Ray Shewmaker

        July 6, 2022 at 3:48 pm

        Granted small weapons fired by an individual soldier can destroy a Tank. My Son was a Gunner in an M1A1 in Desert Storm. Longer range of attack was indeed important.But “NOT” having a power loader was much more important. Superior Sensors and Targeting we’re important, but Better Trained Crews were more so.🇺🇸⚓🐵

    • Lols

      July 5, 2022 at 7:01 am

      No, the war in Ukraine showed that the stupidity of the Russian tank commanders has no limits, because the tank always fights in prime cooperation with infantry and support vehicles.
      And a column that goes as if on parade, even into an obvious trap, is not a tank problem but a command and training problem

  3. Olli Liwa

    June 30, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Literally one paragraph relating to the V4, talk about padding the article out a bit!

    While the V4 may help modernise the Abrahms to the level of other world mbt offerings, the current conflict in ukraine is clearly showing the era of the Main Battle Tank is entering its sunset phase as the demands of warfare change.

  4. Ray Shewmaker

    July 6, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    PS The US is an Allie of the Nations mentioned. And we have shared the needed technology for them to assist in the winning effort 🇺🇸⚓🐵

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