The invasion of Iraq in 2003 exposed the vulnerability of Abrams tanks to rocket-propelled grenades and mines. This problem was partially solved by installing a tank with an Urban Survival Kit (TUSK). This kit was developed to improve survival capabilities in urban environments. M1A1, M1A2 or M1A2 SEP tanks equipped with this kit become more deadly. Once the kit is installed, the tank has improved protection, firepower, and situational awareness.
This kit can be applied by the unit in field conditions. Tanks do not need to return to the depot for modification. In 2006 the U.S. Army ordered a total of 505 kits for tanks deployed in Iraq. In 2008 all tanks deployed in Iraq were equipped with Urban Survival Kit Tanks.
It should be noted that urban combat is the worst place for tanks to fight. The front armor of the tank is much stronger than on the side, top or back. But in urban environments attacks can come from all directions and from above, hitting the weak points of the tank.
TUSK includes additional explosive reactive protectors, which are mounted on the side skirt. This provides protection against RPG rounds. Slat armor is added to the back of the hull. It also provides protection against RPG rounds.
In addition, the tank is equipped with 32 66 mm defensive grenade releases. These wasters were filled with a combination of smoke grenades and anti-personnel. Previously, U.S. Army tanks were only equipped with 12 grenade launchers.
The vehicle commander has transparent protection around his 12.7 mm machine gun. The latest M1A2 SEP tank is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station, armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun. It was controlled by the vehicle commander from inside the turret. So the commander of the vehicle is no longer hit by enemy fire. Loader uses a 7.62 mm hooded machine gun. The loader also has thermal weapon vision. Now he can find targets and shoot from his machine gun at night.
The tank is equipped with another remote-controlled 12.7 mm machine gun on top of the main gun. Equipped with floodlights. These machine guns are referred to as counter snipers and anti-material weapons. It fires a single shot or in full automatic mode. It aims to use the main weapon.
There is also a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. So the total tank has four machine guns.
The vehicle commander has a 360-degree camera. It increases situational awareness. The driver is equipped with a new safety and rear view camera.
Tanks are equipped with infantry phones. This allows nearby infantry to communicate with tank commanders and coordinate their actions in combat.
It should be noted that sometimes the tank is only equipped with a few tusk kit components. This is done depending on the situation and mission requirements.