TechAbrams tanks bound for Australia bolster hope for Ukrainian arsenal

Abrams tanks bound for Australia bolster hope for Ukrainian arsenal

Abrams tanks spotted in the USA
Abrams tanks spotted in the USA
Images source: © Militarny, Telegram | btvt2019
Norbert Garbarek

23 June 2024 21:31

In the United States, a transport of 27 M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 tanks has been spotted. The vehicles were heading towards Port Hueneme, from where they will be transported to their final destination – Australia.

Although the Abrams tanks spotted in the USA are intended for Australians, this story also has a Ukrainian angle. The M1A2 SEP V3 tanks are set to replace the M1A1 Abrams tanks previously used by this distant country, the same ones that Ukrainians received earlier.

Kyiv has been closely monitoring the programme to replace Australian tanks with new machines from the USA. As a result, in 2023, Ukrainian diplomats delivered a speech calling on the Australian government to transfer older vehicles (along with retired MRH-90 Taipan helicopters) to Ukraine. This is significant support, as Australia has 59 Abrams tanks in the M1A1 variant. By comparison, Ukrainians received "only" 31 tanks of this type.

Although this has not been officially confirmed, and currently, the possibility of sending older M1A1 tanks from Australia to Kyiv remains in the realm of speculation, it cannot be ruled out that the new M1A2 SEP V3 will contribute to transferring additional Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

Australian M1A2 Abrams SEP V3 tanks

The first delivery of the 75 Abrams M1A2 SEP V3 tanks ordered by Australia is expected to take place later this year. The visible rail transport in the USA suggests that one batch may reach the military within the next few weeks. Initial operational readiness of the vehicles is expected to be achieved in 2025.

This variant is essentially the latest iteration of these American vehicles, whose production dates back to 1980. In the M1A2 SEP V3 version, increased electrical system capabilities and improved communication systems were ensured. However, these are just two of the numerous upgrades these iconic vehicles have received compared to the first edition of M1A2.

Additional upgrades include reinforced armour packages and FLIR, a tool for observation in difficult conditions (e.g., at night). New mounts for reactive armour and the Trophy active protection system, which has been placed on the sides of the turret, are also included.

The M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams is equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon supported by a 12.7 mm machine gun. Additionally, to target smaller units, the Americans have mounted a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun on the new Abrams. The nearly 10-metre-long vehicle is powered by a Honeywell engine, which develops a power of about 1500 HP. Additionally, a four-person crew has an auxiliary power unit at their disposal, which allows for operations while generating very little noise.

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