27 Australian M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks spotted in US for delivery

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A train loaded with 27 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks, destined for the Australian Army, was recently spotted in the US. This observation was made on June 23, with sources indicating that the train’s final destination is Port Hueneme. 

Photo credit: Twitter

“The VCRR 2136 train passes through Oxnard, heading to Port Hueneme, carrying 27 Abrams tanks. These particular tanks are the Australian variant of the M1A2 SEPv3, soon to be delivered to the Australian Army. Pay attention to the distinctive AusCam and the red kangaroo insignia,” noted observers. Various photos were shared on social media platforms like X and Reddit. 

There’s an interesting tidbit about the Australian Abrams. According to multiple sources, the Australian M1A2 SEPv3 has elevated antenna brackets. They are mounted on both rear sides of the turret. These brackets allowing them to be equipped with L3Harris antennas, similar to the Polish version of these US tanks.

75 in total

BulgarianMilitary.com highlights that on January 10, 2022, Defense Minister and Member of Parliament Hon Peter Dutton unveiled a $3.5 billion investment aimed at upgrading the main battle tank and combat engineering vehicle. This initiative will introduce up to 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks, 29 M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles, 17 M1074 Joint Assault Bridge Vehicles, and six additional M88A2 Armored Recovery Vehicles into the army’s arsenal. 

Minister Dutton emphasized that the M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks will provide essential protection and firepower for the Australian Defense Force [ADF] during land operations. “The M1A2 Abrams tanks will feature the latest advancements in Australia’s sovereign defense capabilities, including command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence systems. They will also benefit from Australia’s future production of tank munitions,” said Minister Dutton in his January 2022 announcement. 

Photo credit: Twitter

Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Rick Burr AO, DSC, MVO underscored the importance of tanks and combat vehicles, stating they are crucial for Australia’s ability to maintain a credible land combat capability, seamlessly integrated with joint and coalition forces.

The difference in the Australian M1A2

While they share the same foundational design, there are several key differences and unique systems integrated into the Australian version. One of the primary distinctions is the communication and networking systems. The Australian Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks are equipped with the Battle Management System [BMS], which is designed to enhance situational awareness and interoperability with other Australian Defense Force assets. 

Photo credit: Twitter

Another significant difference lies in the protection systems. The Australian variant includes additional armor packages and countermeasures tailored to address specific threats identified by the Australian military. This includes enhanced explosive reactive armor [ERA] and active protection systems [APS] that provide an extra layer of defense against anti-tank guided missiles [ATGMs] and rocket-propelled grenades [RPGs]. 

The Australian Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks also feature modifications to their electronic warfare [EW] capabilities. Furthermore, the Australian version incorporates unique logistical and support systems to align with the Australian Army’s existing infrastructure.

Australia is upgrading

Photo credit: Twitter

Australia is set to strengthen its ground forces with the purchase of 75 American M1A2 SEPv3 tanks. Historically, the nation operated with German Leopard AS1 tanks through its 1st Australian Armored Regiment. 

However, a shift came when Canberra opted for 59 M1A1 AIM SA Abrams tanks from the United States, effectively sidelining the German models. The introduction of the 75 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks will not only bolster Australia’s armored vehicle count but also significantly enhance the army’s combat effectiveness, thanks to the advanced firepower and superior capabilities of the M1A2 SEPv3 over the M1 version. 

Sources within the Australian Ministry of Defense have indicated that the first M1A2 SEPv3 units are expected to arrive in Australia this year. This is backed by reports from Washington, which is prepping the delivery of the initial batch of 27 tanks out of the total 75. The aim is for Australia to have these tanks reach full operational readiness by next year.

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