The U.S. Army announced that GREYWOLF brigade’s Soldiers fired the first round from the first new fielded M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams Main battle tank Tuesday at Sugar Loaf Range on Fort Hood.
3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division sent the first round downrange with the U.S. Army’s new version of Abrams tank, the service has announced.
Tuesday began the long process of conducting gunnery for the unit on the new tank, according to Fort Hood Sentinel.
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“What we are doing right now, we are just test firing these weapons systems,” 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, Lt. Col. Nicholas Sinclair, commander, said. “We’re making sure that everything came from the factory correctly and doesn’t hurt the armored crewman when we actually go down the range firing live rounds in our gunnery progression.”
There are numerous upgrades to the new Abrams, but most of them would only be visible to the most experienced eye. All are designed to keep up with the enemy’s threat capabilities.
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“On the back left panel, there is an auxiliary power unit,” Sinclair explained. “This is a smaller engine that allows the tank to still perform without running the main engine. The main engine, when it runs, it runs at 17 gallons per hour. This runs at one gallon per hour. What that does is it extends our operational reach. You don’t have to refuel as much. It allows you to charge your batteries quieter as well.
“The fires control system is improved and updated, and simplified, as well,” he said. “So, think about when you have two tanks that are moving over undulating terrain. It’s very difficult for us to hit that moving target. What this allows us to do is acquire it faster, and be more accurate with our fires. The other thing that it does, is that it is simplified. Whereas before, there were a few more components and a few more pieces, these have fewer components, and are easier to replace and easier to do maintenance on.”
The V3 configuration, also known as the M1A2C, is the third version of the M1A2 SEP (system enhancement package) Abrams tanks, which started producing in 2000.
According to the Army, the M1A2 SEPv3’s full improvements include upgrade of tank’s ballistic protection, an improved joint tactical radio systems, new auxiliary power unit and improved amperage alternator, slip ring, enhanced hull power distribution unit/common remote switching modules.
This version rectifies many of the space, weight and power issues identified during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will be the foundational variant for all future incremental upgrades. In addition to having improved survivability, the Abrams V3 can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant. Improvements focus on increasing the electrical power margin, Vehicle Health Management Systems, integrated counter-improvised explosive device protection, a new Auxiliary Power Unit, embedded training and an ammunition data link.