The US Army has approved an ambitious upgrade to its M1 Abrams tanks to make them more effective for modern warfare.
In Wednesday’s announcement, the service revealed that it will end the M1A2 System Enhancement Package program to pave the way for the development of the M1E3 Abrams.
The move will focus on incorporating capability improvements necessary to fight and win against future threats.
More specifically, the latest Abrams version will leverage the best features of the M1A2, plus a modular, open systems architecture to enable easy technology upgrades in the future.
According to the army, the project will allow the service to have a “more survivable, lighter tank” that will be effective even at initial fielding.
“This modernization will enhance the efficacy and maneuverability of armored brigade combat teams in conflicts across the globe through a reduced sustainment footprint and increased operational and tactical mobility,” the US Army explained.
Preparing for Future Battlefields
Described as the world’s “most advanced” main battle tank, the Abrams supports dismounted soldiers through lethal firepower and unparalleled survivability.
It closes with enemies and neutralizes them using a 120-millimeter XM256 smooth bore cannon, 7.62-millimeter M240 coaxial machine gun, and .50-caliber M2 machine gun.
Despite the unique features of the tank, US Army program executive officer Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean said the Abrams needs continued upgrades to grow its capabilities amid evolving battlefields.
The ongoing war in Ukraine is reportedly one example of how important it is to provide better protection to soldiers.
“We appreciate that future battlefields pose new challenges to the tank as we study recent and ongoing conflicts,” US Army combat vehicle program official Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman explained.
“We must optimize the Abrams’ mobility and survivability to allow the tank to continue to close with and destroy the enemy as the apex predator on future battlefields.”
Initial operational capability for the new M1E3 Abrams tanks is anticipated in the early 2030s.