The U.S. Army Is Building a New Tank in a Very Sneaky Way

    David Axe

    Security,

    The name for sure dosen’t give it away. 

    The U.S. Army just got a new tank. But you wouldn’t know it from the way the ground-combat branch describes the vehicle.

    On Oct. 4, 2017, the Army’s program office for ground vehicles announced that the service had accepted the first M-1A2SEPV3 “on schedule and on budget.” General Dynamics Land Systems builds the tank in Lima, Ohio, using existing M-1 hulls as a starting point.

    The Army asked to buy 58 M-1A2SEPV3 tanks in 2018, against a total requirement for around a thousand of the new vehicles — enough to equip all of the branch’s active-duty tank brigades. At present, a V3 costs around $ 20 million. The price should drop as the production rate increases.

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    While officially a variant of the nearly four-decade-old M-1 tank, the SEPV3 is, in all the ways that matter, essentially brand new. The preceding variant, the M-1A2SEPV2, entered service in 2007.

    “Principal improvements are in lethality, survivability and sustainability,” Don Kotchman, a General Dynamics vice president, said in late 2015.

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    The M-1A2SEPV3 boasts improved inertial navigation to achieve what Kotchman described as “better round disbursement” — in other words, improved main-gun accuracy. There’s also a data-link for programmable munitions, making the SEPV3 compatible with new, “smart” cannon rounds that are beginning to enter the Army’s arsenal.

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    The V3 tank also has tougher front and rear armor than the V2 does — plus a built-in jammer for defeating radio-triggered improvised explosive devices.

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