Australian Army to Receive Advanced Abrams MBT

M1A

The Australian Army will be fielding a more advanced version of the General Dynamics Land Systems Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) soon.

The United States Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which controls US military foreign arms sales announced the on 29 April that it had approved the request from the Government of Australia for heavy armoured combat systems.

The request includes 75 M1A2 tanks SEPv3 (the lasted configuration), plus 29 M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles and 18 M1074 Joint Assault Bridges which use the M1 chassis. The package also includes 6 M88A2 Hercules Combat Recovery Vehicles and one hundred 122 AGT1500 gas turbine spare engines used in the M1.

The complete request has a value of US$1.685 billion.

The M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Program) Version 3 was first introduced into the US Army in 2018. Its fielding will provide the Australian Army with the most capable Abrams MBT available replacing its current fleet of M1A1s.

The V3 uses the same 120mm main gun but has upgrades and improvements. These include fire control and optics improvements, incorporating network compatibility, power generation and distribution to support future power demands, and addition of NEA, a kit to reduce the tank’s vulnerability to IEDs.

Other improvements include Vetronics communications and networking, new vehicle health management system (VHMS), line replaceable modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, and an ammunition datalink (ADL) to use 120mm programable airburst rounds. The SEPv3 version increase its the electrical power, integrating the new Army network, and a new auxiliary power unit.

The other armoured combat vehicles in the package will provide an under-armour minefield assault breeching, a wet or dry gap crossing and armoured recovery capabilities able to support the M1A2V3s.

by Stephen W. Miller