TechM1A2 Abrams tanks shipped to Australia, eyes on Ukraine

M1A2 Abrams tanks shipped to Australia, eyes on Ukraine

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

3:16 PM EDT, June 23, 2024

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

Although the Abrams tanks spotted in the U.S. 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 Australia—the same ones received earlier by Ukraine.

Kyiv has been closely monitoring the program of replacing Australia's tanks with new machines from the U.S. 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 the possibility of sending older M1A1 tanks from Australia to Kyiv remains speculative, 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, and the visible rail transport in the U.S. suggests that one batch may reach the military within the next few weeks. The vehicles' initial operational readiness is expected to be achieved in 2025.

Importantly, Australians have chosen precisely the same weaponry that the Poles ordered. Warsaw also places its hopes in the American defense industry, as evidenced by an order for 250 units of M1A2 SEP V3 placed in 2022.

This variant is essentially the latest iteration of these American vehicles, whose production dates back to 1980. In the M1A2 SEP V3 version, increased capabilities of the electrical system were ensured, and communication systems were improved. 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 armor packages and FLIR, a tool that allows observation in difficult conditions (e.g., at night). There are also new mounts for reactive armor and the Trophy active protection system, which has been placed on the sides of the turret.

The M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams is equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon, which is 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 33-foot-long vehicle is powered by a Honeywell engine, which develops a power of about 1500 HP. Additionally, a 4-person crew has an auxiliary power unit at their disposal, allowing for operations while generating very little noise.

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