U.S. Army soldiers with Delta Tank Company, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart in Georgia have started field training with the new M1A1-SA Abrams tanks.
According to Spc. Jonathan Wallace, Since 2nd ABCT’s conversion from a light to an armored brigade combat team last fall, units within the brigade have been fielding and training on their new ground combat platforms.
Delta Tank, 6-8 Cav’s only tank company, was the first unit in the brigade’s firing line to test their crew’s abilities.
“Gunnery is beyond critical,” said Capt. Freddy Mitchell, commander of Delta Tank. “It is a necessary event to create lethal crews. Training like this is advantageous to the unit’s lethality.”
Table six is a live gunnery table that certifies each combat vehicle crew. Crew certification is a critical milestone that the three-person team must hit in order to progress onto larger and more complex gunnery tables.
In an effort to meet its goal of becoming the most lethal ABCT in the Army, 2nd ABCT crews must train and master closing with the enemy using fire and movement to destroy or capture enemy forces in sustained and large-scale actions with precision and speed.
Gunnery allows those crews to strengthen cohesion and maintain a constant state of readiness, for whenever and wherever they are needed said Mitchell.
“Today our crews are being evaluated on their proﬁciency to engage targets from various positions using the Abrams’ weapon systems,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Lopez, master gunner and platoon sergeant with Delta Tank. “Because the Abrams is a stabilized platform, it allows accurate fires even while advancing towards enemy positions.”
“The Abrams is the most lethal land warfare platform, battle-tested in both Desert Storm and Iraq,” added Mitchell. “This tank brings another long-range direct fire weapons system to our brigade.”
The M1A1 SA is part of the Army’s Abrams Tank Upgrade program, and consists of two variants: the M1A1 SA (Situational Awareness) and the M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP). The M1A1 SA has forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sights, engine air filter to protect the engine from the fine sand and dust of North Africa, and a telephone on the rear fender to enable accompanying infantry to communicate with the M1A1 SA tank crew.
The M1A1 SA has a 120-millimeter M256 smooth-bore main gun, a 7.62-millimeter M240 machine gun, and a stabilized commander’s weapon station (SCWS) with heavy machine gun to enable accurate firing while the tank is moving over rough ground.
According to the Military & Aerospace Electronics, the hull and turret of the M1A1 SA is made with advanced armor to enable the tank to operate against other heavily armored forces. The M1A1 SA has a Lycoming Textron AGT 1500 gas turbine engine that operates on diesel or kerosene-based fuel.
The M1A1 SA’s situational awareness package provides crews soldiers with an electronic graphic of the battlefield with icons for friendly and enemy forces. The armored fighting vehicle also has an eye-safe laser rangefinder.