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M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams: The Army’s New Super Tank?

M1 Abrams. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
The Abrams Main Battle Tank closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower, and shock effect.

The M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams will be the new main battle tank of the U.S. military. Recently, footage of an advanced prototype of the M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams tank emerged while the prototype of the Army’s new main battle tank was undergoing testing in the Yuma Testing Grounds in Arizona.

Troops from the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division were caught on camera testing the new main battle tank. Although the photos from the event were subsequently taken down, several outlets, including the Warzone, managed to see them.

Although the current version of the M1A2 Abrams, the SEPv3, entered service just two years ago in 2020, the U.S. Army is already working with General Dynamics on the new upgrade.

M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams 

Instead of opting for a new main battle tank—although there are plans for one—the U.S. Army is going with the fourth upgrade to the M1A2 Abrams under the designation of System Enhanced Package 4, or SEPv4.

The M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams will include a more efficient structure, new laser rangefinder technology, ammunition data links, and sensory equipment, including a meteorological sensor that will allow the crew to acquire and engage targets in a variety of weather conditions.

Although the M1A2 SEPv4 will continue to use the same 120mm cannon that current Abrams are using, the new version of the main battle tank will have the ability to fire more advanced 120mm munitions, including the reprogrammable XM1147 Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round.

The Army has stated that it was the M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams will be ready by the middle of the decade and field the first operational drills by 2025.

M1A2 Abrams: A Popular Tank 

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.

The war in Ukraine has shown that tank warfare is very much relevant in today’s battlefield. The Russian experience might have highlighted the limitations—or perhaps introduced a new level of criteria for the employment—of tanks. Both sides have used tanks extensively in various roles, including urban warfare, and they depend on them to spearhead their advances.

The M1A2 Abrams, moreover, continues to be a popular weapon system with allies and partners. For example, in August, Poland came to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense and General Dynamics for the purchase of 250 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks for approximately $1.15 billion.

Poland has taken the Russian invasion of Ukraine personally and is the fourth-largest contributor of military aid to Kyiv. Among the billions of dollars that Poland has contributed to the defense of Ukraine are more than 230 T-72 main battle tanks that are spearheading the advances of the Ukrainian military in the south and the east.

M1A2 SEPv3

M1A2 SEPv3. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The order for the 250 M1A2 SEPv3 was made in large part to replace the gap created by the shipment of the T-72s to Ukraine.

Bonus: M1 Abrams Photo Essay


JABAL PETRA, Jordan – An M1A1 Abrams tank with Tank Platoon, Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is repositioned here, May 7, 2012, during bilateral tank training with the Royal Jordanian Army as part of Exercise Eager Lion 12. More than 1,000 Marines and Sailors from the 24th MEU are scheduled to participate in various events throughout Jordan to maximize multilateral training opportunities and continue to build relationships with partners throughout the region. Eager Lion 12 is the second major exercise for the 24th MEU and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group after deploying in March to serve as a forward-deployed crisis-response force. (Official Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein)

M1 Abrams Tank

U.S. Marines assigned to 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, fire a 120mm smoothbore main gun from an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank during a course of fire at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 30, 2019. The unit conducted marksmanship qualifications as a part of a biannual training exercise to certify tank crews on the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Abrey Liggins)

M1A2 Abrams

A U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank crew with Charlie Company “Bandidos,” 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division successfully crosses the Nestos River during wet-gap crossing operations as part of Olympic Cooperation 2021 in Xanthi, Greece, Nov. 8, 2021. Olympic Cooperation allows participating forces to conduct rigorous training in realistic training environments with NATO allies and partners to ensure they are ready and lethal. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Max Elliott/RELEASED)

M1 Abrams

Tankers with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team, conducts platoon live-fire gunnery qualification Feb. 4, 2019, at the Orchard Combat Training Center. The Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers are preparing for the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team’s upcoming rotation at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., later this year. Note: This is an example of an M1 Abrams tank firing, not a STAFF round demonstration.

M1 Abrams

A M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams Tank fires at multiple range targets during a range warfighter exercise, April 11, 2021, Fort Hood, Texas. The visit with foreign allies allows the U.S. Army to boost interoperability of staff members and warfighting capabilities with the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Tank. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard)

M1 Abrams

An M1A1 Abrams Tank fires off a round as a demonstration during 1st Tank Battalion’s Jane Wayne Spouse Appreciation Day aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., April 3, 2018. The purpose of the event is to build resiliency in spiritual well being, the will to fight and a strong home life for the 1st Tanks Marines and their families. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rachel K. Porter)

M1 Abrams

3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division sends the first round downrange with the U.S. Army’s new M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams Main Battle Tank, Fort Hood, Texas, August 18, 2020. After the GREYWOLF brigade conducts a test fire on every tank they will dial in their sites by “zeroing” the tanks main gun, ensuring they are fully prepared to conduct future gunnery live fire exercises.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive 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.