Army asks General Dynamics to upgrade M1 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics to M1A2 SEPv3 configuration

Dec. 21, 2020
The M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tank is the latest version of the M1 Abrams, and has increased power generation and distribution, and better communications.

WARREN, Mich. – Armored combat vehicle experts at General Dynamics Corp. will upgrade M1 Abrams main battle tanks and vetronics to the most advanced M1A2 SEPv3 configuration under terms of a $4.6 billion contract announced Friday.

Officials of the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., are asking General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., to produce Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks by upgrading U.S. Army M1A1 tanks.

The M1A2 SEPv3 main battle tanks represent the latest version of the M1 Abrams, and has increased power generation and distribution, better communications and networking, new vehicle health management system (VHMS), line replaceable modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, and an ammunition datalink (ADL) to use airburst rounds.

Related: Marine Corps main battle tank to receive vetronics upgrade to enhance targeting and fire-control

The M1A2 SEPv3 stands for system enhancement package version 3. This latest version of the M1A2 tank and its vetronics also offers an improved counter-improvised explosive device (IED) armor package, improved forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor using long- and mid-wave infrared, a low-profile Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), and an auxiliary power unit (APU) under armor to run electronics without the engine running.

Prototypes of the M1A2 SEPv3 tank began testing in 2015, and are starting to enter service. Improvements to the SEPv3 version focus on increasing the electrical power; improving survivability; integrating the new Army network; electronic component improvements; new auxiliary power unit; and an ammunition data link.

The M1A2 SEPv3 is the next generation M1 tank version from the SEPv2, which focused on improved survivability, automotive power pack, computer systems, and night vision capabilities. The SEPv2 also offered improvements in the CROWS and ballistic solution upgrades for the M829A3 kinetic and the M1028 canister rounds.

Related: General Dynamics to procure active-protection sensors and vetronics for Army fleet of Abrams battle tanks

The M1A2 SEPv2 has improved microprocessors, color flat-panel displays, improved memory capacity, better soldier-machine interface. and a new open operating system designed to run the Common Operating Environment software. The tank's gunner’s primary sight and the commander’s independent thermal viewer include the improved thermal imaging capabilities of the new Block I 2nd generation FLIR technology.

Army leaders intend the M1A2 SEPv3 to defeat and suppress enemy tanks, reconnaissance vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, anti-tank guns, guided missile launchers, bunkers, infantry, and helicopters.

On this contract General Dynamics will do the work at locations depending on each order, and should be finished by June 2028. For more information contact General Dynamics Land Systems online at, or the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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