Army chooses tank replacement – adds new armoured capabilities

The US has approved the sale of 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams tanks to Australia – plus other systems not fielded by the Australian Army before.

FILE PHOTO (August 2020): A US Army 1st Cavalry Division Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 sends its first round downrange at Fort Hood, Texas. Photo by Sergeant Calab Franklin.

US State Department approved the possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of Heavy Armored Combat Systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$1.685 billion.

Australia requested to buy 160 M1A1 tank structures/hulls provided from stock in order to produce the following end items and spares:

  • 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks;
  • 29 M1150 assault breacher vehicles;
  • 18 M1074 joint assault bridges;
  • 6 M88A2 Hercules combat recovery vehicles; and,
  • 122 AGT1500 gas turbine engines.

Also included is development of a unique armour package, common remotely operated weapon station low profile (CROWS-LP), driver’s vision enhancer, mission equipment, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, system and engine spare parts, technical data and publications, US government and contractor technical and logistics assistance, quality assurance teams, transportation services, program management, new-equipment training, and other related elements of logistic and program support.

The US State Department said the proposed sale would improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the lethality, survivability, and interoperability of the Australian Army.

“Australia will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats.

“The M1A2 SEPv3 will upgrade the current Australian fleet of M1A1 SA tanks with no changes to Royal Australian Armoured Corps force structure.

“Additional M88A2 vehicles provide de-processing and combat-vehicle-recovery support for the Australian tank fleet.

“The M1150 assault breacher vehicles and M1074 joint assault bridges will be a new capability for the Royal Australian Engineers, bringing under-armor bridging and breaching capability, increasing the effectiveness and survivability of Australian combat engineers and providing increased mobility for the armoured fleet.”

The principal contractors will be General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems, Leonardo DRS and Honeywell Aerospace.


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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

8 thoughts on “Army chooses tank replacement – adds new armoured capabilities

  • 18/05/2021 at 5:10 pm

    It’s a buy of refurbished M1A2 rebuilt to SEP V3 standard, the old M1A1 hulls are going back to US stocks. There will be no change to the standard 14 MBT per brigade, and now there will be 4 each of AEV, ABV and AVLB to each brigade. The rest of the hulls are for training, and rotating tanks to make it easier to for maintenance and spares. Possibly some reserved for a 4th brigade as per Bersheeba. The armor package is described as unique as the Aust military don’t want depleted uranium armor on the tanks.

  • 03/05/2021 at 7:43 am

    We are almost back to Special Equipment Troop (SEQ) that we had for years with the Leopard 1 and Centurion family of vehicles. i.e. Bridge Layer, Dozer Tanks etc
    It’s a good RESTART, not a big deal when you go back to the future.

  • 03/05/2021 at 6:33 am

    That’s a rather high ration of MBT to recovery, engineering & bridgers.

  • 02/05/2021 at 6:53 pm

    So if it is a new buy what will they do with the old M1A1’s the Reserve needs more Armour!

  • 02/05/2021 at 2:04 pm

    Looks like the USMC has offloaded their now redundant M1A2 Abrams Tanks to the Australian Army – amazing – why didn’t I think of that?

  • 02/05/2021 at 9:39 am

    You sure this is a new buy and not just an upgrade to current stock? I have heard the rumours it’s just an upgrade on MBT and the breachesr etc has been in pipeline since the inception of M1A1

    • 02/05/2021 at 10:00 am

      It’s a new buy – if we actually buy them.
      The choice for the ‘tank upgrade project’ was, either upgrade the tanks we have or buy the M1A2 SEPv3.
      This story says the Yanks have authorised the sale of new M1A2 SEPv3s that the Australian government asked for – which suggest to me, we’ve chosen to buy M1A2 SEPv3 – though that has not been announced by our MinDef or ADF yet.

      • 02/05/2021 at 1:01 pm

        Gday Brian,
        The latest i heard was its just an upgraded pack to sep 3 standard.
        The breachers and bridge variant have been on the cards for awhile. I doubt this is a new buy , just a re propagandered project that got shelved from before. Is there a private avenue for contacting you?


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