M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams – A Truly Special Tank – U.S. President Joe Biden announced that Ukraine will receive 31 American-made M1A2 Abrams tanks to support its defensive efforts against Russia in a significant policy reversal. The President explained that this delivery would “enhance Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives.”
The White House reached this decision after weeks of hesitation regarding whether or not to send over the tanks. Since providing M1 Abrams tanks also necessitates providing adequate training, equipment, ammunition and maintenance, the Biden administration mulled over whether the effort was worth it.
Ultimately, the decision to send over the M1A2 variant of the MBT (main battle tank) was made partly due to the lack of “excess” Abrams of the outdated M1A1 model in stock. While the basic M1A2 variant of the Abrams tank has undergone several upgrades over time, the newest M1A2 SEPv4 model is currently under development and will feature some significant improvements.
Here is why the M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams is truly special and perhaps the best tank ever:
A brief history of the M1 Abrams MBT
Developed by Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems) in the early 1980s, the Abrams remains the main battle tank for the U.S. Army.
The original M1 Abrams hosted various advantages as compared to its foreign counterparts, including a heavier frame, a multifuel turbine engine, and Chobham composite armor.
Perhaps the most critical component of the M1 Abrams design was the integrated electronic Fire Control System, which considered variables ranging from ammunition type to wind velocity to provide the ideal fire solution.
The first prototype of the M1 Abrams sported license-build versions for the 105mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun, followed by the production of thousands of more tanks that were equipped with improved armor in addition to a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN) protection system.
What’s so special about the new M1A2 SEPv4 variant?
The latest M1 Abrams variant to hit development is the M1A2 SEPv4 variant, which is undergoing testing at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
The Pentagon’s Office of the Director released a report in 2021 that detailed some of the SEPv4’s improvements from its predecessor.
The new Abrams variant will feature upgrades to its Gunner’s Primary Sight (GPS), Commander’s Primary Sight (CPS), lethality, communications, data-sharing and onboard diagnostics systems.
Additionally, the SEPv4 model will sport a “new onboard meteorological sensor that can collect various types of data to improve accuracy,” and a Laser Warning Receiver (LWR) system that should improve the crew’s survivability by warning them when targeting lasers associated with weapons including guided anti-tank missiles are headed their way.
Why Trophy is real game changer for MBTs
The Israeli-developed Trophy active protection system is also compatible with the M1A2 SEPv4 variant.
This advanced technology is extremely effective at defending armored vehicles against anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
By providing its tank with increased security, the Trophy system allows crews to take more risks and act more offensively in combat.
While this system is also fitted to the SEPv3 Abrams model, it is unlikely that any Abrams tanks delivered to Ukraine will incorporate them since the Israeli government has been hesitant to stir the pot with the Kremlin, who may not take kindly to the use of Trophy by Ukrainian Forces.
The use of various MBTs throughout Russia’s ongoing invasion has stirred debate over the effectiveness of tank warfare in modern conflicts. Since the M1A2 Abrams is considered a formidable armored vehicle across the globe, all eyes will be on its incoming shipment to Ukraine and its ability to aid the country’s defensive efforts.
Author Expertise and Experience
Maya Carlin is a Middle East Defense Editor with 19FortyFive. She is also an analyst with the Center for Security