M1A2 (SEP): Main Battle Tank
- 1 Statistics
- 2 General
- 3 Thermal Signature
- 4 Crew Positions
- 4.1 Tank Commander's Position F7
- 4.1.1 Commander's .50 cal
- 4.1.2 Commanders Display Unit (CDU)
- 184.108.40.206 Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV)
- 220.127.116.11 Commander's Tactical Panel (CTP)
- 4.1.3 Gunner's Primary Sight Extension (GPSE)
- 4.1.4 TC's Vision Block View
- 4.1.5 Key listing for M1A2 (SEP) TC's position
- 4.2 Gunner's Position F6
- 4.2.1 Gunner's Primary Sight (GPS)
- 18.104.22.168 Thermal Imaging Sight (TIS)
- 22.214.171.124 Daylight Sight
- 126.96.36.199 Sight Symbology
- 188.8.131.52 Engaging Targets
- 4.2.2 Gunner's Auxiliary Sight (GAS)
- 4.2.3 Gunner's Unity Sight
- 4.2.4 Key listing for M1A2 gunner's position
- 4.2.1 Gunner's Primary Sight (GPS)
- 4.3 Driver's Position F9
- 4.4 Loader's Position
- 4.1 Tank Commander's Position F7
- 5 Reference
Other rounds include the M908 MPAT-OR and M1028 Canister which are equipped based on mission.
Coaxial machine gun: 7.62mm M240
Ammunition Stowage: 8000 ready/4000 stowed
Default Ammunition: 8000/4000 7.62mm NATO
AAMG: M2 caliber .50 HMG
Ammunition Stowage: 100 ready/900 stowed
Default Ammunition: 100/900 0.50 Cal M2 AP-T
Grenade Dischargers: Grenades
Ammunition Stowage: 2 ready/2 stowed
Default Ammunition: 2/2 Multi-spectral Smoke
Frontal Turret Armour: 600mm-~950mm vs KE, 930mm-1500mm vs HEAT
Frontal Hull Armour: 600mm-~1000mm vs KE, 780mm-2300mm vs HEAT
Combat Mass: 63.1 tonnes
Length: 7.93m (Hull)
Engine Power: 1,500 hp Honeywell AGT-1500 gas turbine
Top Speed: 67kph
Entering production in 1992, the M1A2 is a variant of the American M1 series main battle tank. The U.S. Army's first fully digital ground combat system, the new vehicle included: 2nd generation depleted uranium armor components, replacement of the 16bit digital FCS with an integrated mil std 1553 universal bus, Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), eye safe Erbium LRF, dynamic cant sensor, improved dual-axis Gunner's Primary Sight head mirror (DAHA), inertial navigation system, an improved Commander's Weapon Station, and the Inter-Vehicle Information System (IVIS).
The modeled M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Program) tank is the successor to the M1A2, delivered to the U.S. Government on September 1, 1999. Improvements made to the M1A2 SEP involved: 3rd generation depleted uranium armor components, an embedded version of the US Army's Force XXI command and control architecture (FBCB2) replacing the IVIS, a new Raytheon CITV with second-generation FLIR, commander's display for digital colour terrain maps, DRS Technologies second-generation GEN II TIS thermal imaging gunner's sight with increased range, color driver's integrated display, under armor Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), and a thermal management system for the fighting compartment. Other upgrades to the M1A2's computer systems include:
- Better microprocessors
- More memory capacity
- Better Soldier-Machine Interface (SMI)
- A new open operating system designed to run the Army's Common Operating Environment (ACOE) software
In production since 1998, the prime contractor for the M1A2 SEP program is using depot refurbished base M1 tank hulls supplied by the Government along with new production turrets. Therefore, for each M1A2 SEP tank produced, there will be a corresponding decrease in the Army's base M1 tank inventory.
Beginning with revision 4.156 the M1A2 SEP may be equipped with the Diehl Active Vehicle Protection System (AVePS) to enhance protection against RPG and ATGM threats.
The black (cool) squares are the thermal ID panels (CIP panels) which help prevent friendly fire.
Tank Commander's Position F7
In Steel Beasts Professional the tank commander's (TC) position on the M1A2 (SEP) is fully crew-able. The TC's position is accessed by pressing F7.
From this position the user can raise and lower their perspective (and exposure level) by holding the Q key (to go up) and the Z key (to go down). The TC can also button or unbutton (close and open the TC's hatch) by pressing the B key (toggle). While unbuttoned, the TC may also wish to use binoculars to get a closer view on a distant area by pressing the N key (toggle).
The TC also has smoke grenades at his disposal. The TC can fire up to two smoke salvos by pressing TAB, at which point the grenade launchers will need to be reloaded.
- The usefulness of the smoke grenade launchers should not be underestimated, and it is one of the most useful tools at the disposal of the TC. Smoke grenade launchers are a vital tool for the security of the vehicle and should be used for a variety or reasons. These include, but are not limited to: attempting to break contact with the enemy, protection against non thermal sight equipped threats, and protecting the vehicle from enemy attempts to range you with an laser range finder. At the same time, care should be taken on when smoke is deployed since you are basically announcing your location to anyone else who might be unaware of it.
Commander's .50 cal
The commander's M2HB caliber .50 which is mounted on a flexible (FLEX) mount. On the M1A1, the M2HB is remotely fired from the inside of the vehicle, but on the M1A2 it is fired while unbuttoned. This means that the commander on the M1A2 is vulnerable while using it, but it comes with a trade off of the FLEX .50 being quicker to get on target, and offering the TC better situational awareness.
The TC can access the caliber .50's iron sights by pressing ALT+F3.
Once the user is at the gun sight, the user can traverse and elevate the weapon using either the mouse or joystick and the SPACE BAR/default trigger to fire. Beginning with revision 4.016 three different sight pictures are available from the ALT+F3 view. The default view offers a vertical peep-sight graduated from 100 to 2600m adjustable with either the MOUSE WHEEL or SHIFT + UP ARROW / SHIFT + DOWN ARROW (forward reduces range and backwards increases). Pressing R flips the sight down to a standard (non-adjustable) ghost ring sight zeroed at ~750m and pressing N shifts the TC's view from “close” (through the sights) to “far” (over the sights).
Pressing O while looking thorough the sights shifts the TC's view to look "over" the gun, allowing a wide field of view and quick target acquisition, but requires BOT (burst on target) gunnery techniques to walk effective fire on to the target. As with the sights, pressing N shifts the TC's view from “far” to “close”.
The iron sights on the M2 do not have thermal or night vision capability, but NVG (Night Vision Goggle) viewing is available under appropriate lighting conditions if the platoon/vehicle is so equipped (rev. 2.640) and NVGs may be used with the weapon's sights (rev. 4.016). Additionally, it is possible to fit the M2 with either an ELCAN Specter 3.4x telescopic sight or a Swedish 3.4x reflex sight. The mounting and function of these optional sighting systems is fully covered here.
If all caliber .50 rounds are expended then you will need to reload the weapon. The easiest way to do this is by moving the mouse to the top of the screen and selecting the "Vehicle" menu. Scroll down to the "Reload" command which will open a sub menu, then select "M2 AP-T" or whatever HMG ammunition the vehicle is equipped with. You will need to remain unbuttoned to carry out the reload process.
Commanders Display Unit (CDU)
The commander's display unit (CDU) provides the primary interface with the commander's independent thermal viewer (CITV) and and also with the digital map and vehicle systems. The CDU is located to the front of the TC's buttoned position. The upper part of the CDU contains the CITV display, along with the associated buttons around the periphery of the display. The lower display is the commander's tactical panel (CTP), which features a digital map along with access to various vehicle systems to adjust CITV tracking rate and sector limits.
Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV)
The M1A2 differs from older M1 tanks in that it is equipped with the CITV. The CITV is a powerful upgrade to the Abrams as it allows the TC to observe his surroundings with a high magnification and high resolution FLIR sight, and he can scan, track and designate targets independent of turret orientation. The CITV can also be used to get range to a target through use of the stadia reticle (the CITV is not equipped with an LRF), and the TC can use the CITV to engage targets himself.
In the TC's CITV view, you will see a set of unique symbols around the sight: these are referred to as the gun sight symbology.
In the top right of the CITV the magnification level is displayed (either 3x, 6x, 13x, 25x or 50x). In the lower right of the sight a turret clock is displayed with the rectangle representing the hull of the tank, and the solid line showing where the gun is oriented in relation to the hull, and the dashed line showing which direction the CITV is oriented. To the left and right of the hull are "T" shaped symbols which denote the left and right sector scan limits for the CITV auto scan mode. The sector scan limits can be adjusted as explained below.
At the bottom of the CITV a black box is displayed with various information symbols shown. On the left side of the black box an up or down arrow signifies what MPAT mode the FCS is in: an up arrow is for air mode, and a down arrow is for ground mode. In air mode, the LRF will fire out pulses while the lase button is pressed, thereby ensuring a more accurate range when lasing fast moving helicopters. Also, in air mode the MPAT fuze will be changed by the AI loader to air (proximity) from ground mode (impact). To the right of this a large "ready to fire box" with a letter inside of it will be displayed. The large box is shown if the gun is loaded, armed, in coincidence, and ready to fire. If the box is not shown then the gun cannot be fired. The letter inside the box specifies what ammo type and weapon system is selected by the gunner. The possible letters are:
- K = maingun, KE
- H = maingun, HEAT
- M = maingun, MPAT
- T = maingun, cannister
- C = coaxial MG
To the right of the "ready to fire box" is the range that is currently indexed into the FCS, and above it a horizontal line will be displayed if there are multiple returns from the laser to the target. If the multiple return bar is shown, then this is a sign that the range in the computer may not be the correct one, and the gunner should probably re-lase the target if possible.
To use the CITV to scan the surroundings, the CITV must be placed in one of two different scan modes: manual scan (MAN) or auto scan (AUTO). These scan modes are set via the "CITV SCAN" button in the top left of the CITV display. Use the mouse to left click on this button to enter CITV scan mode, and to toggle between the two modes.
- Manual scan mode allows the TC to manually scan or observe the terrain independent of gun and turret movement. When the CITV is in manual scan mode, holding the palm switch P key will allow the CITV to move and scan the environment.
- Auto scan mode allows the TC to automatically scan a sector without input. This allows the TC to concentrate on other tasks while also observing the CITV display for targets. While in auto scan mode, pressing the palm switch P key will temporarily place the CITV into manual scan mode allowing the TC to take over scanning, and releasing P will return the CITV to auto scan mode. This is useful if the TC thinks he sees an enemy target and wants to observe it, or to scan an area out side of the auto scan sector limits.
Pressing the N key while in either manual or auto scan mode will result in the CITV changing magnification levels.
Designating targets with the CITV
The first way the M1A2 TC can designate a target is through the use of the CITV manual scan mode. When in manual scan mode and while holding the palm switch P key to move the CITV, press the O key to designate a target and the turret and gun will swing over to the CITV's current facing. Once you press the designate button, the CITV will enter CITV GLOS mode (see CITV GLOS modes section for more information). You may then release the P key to give control back to the gunner so that he can track and engage the target on command, or you can continue to hold the override to engage and destroy the target yourself. Releasing P to give control back to the gunner to engage the target is the act of designating.
Using the stadia reticle to obtain range
While scanning with the CITV in manual mode, pressing the CTRL key will bring up the stadia reticle if the CITV is in either 13x, 25x, or 50x magnification (the stadia reticle will not be displayed in 3x and 6x magnifications). The stadia reticle can be very useful when the LRF is damaged on the vehicle as the TC can get the range to target in order to more accurately engage targets, or it can be useful to get range to target when looking in a direction that the turret is not facing.
The stadia reticle appears like a rectangle with two parallel horizontal lines in the middle of it. Use the ARROW UP and ARROW DOWN keys to adjust the size of the box larger and smaller respectively. The stadia reticle is calibrated to find the range of a T-72 sized tank target so anything smaller or larger then this will have to be compensated for by the TC. To find the range to a fully visible T-72 sized tank target, place the bottom of the box where the bottom of the target's tracks are located, then adjust the size of the box so that the top of the turret touches the top of the box. To find the range to a T-72 sized tank target which only has the turret visible, adjust the box so that the two parallel horizontal lines touch the top and bottom of the turret. In either case, as you adjust the size of the stadia reticle box you will see the range at the bottom of the sight adjusting. Once you have the box at the appropriate size/scale, the range displayed at the bottom of the sight is the estimate of the target's actual range. You may then press CTRL again to remove the stadia reticle, or you can press O to designate the target to the gunner.
Gun line of sight (GLOS) modes
The CITV can be placed in one of two gun line of sight (GLOS) modes, and these modes are used when the commander is either overriding the turret, or when the TC wants to use the CITV to observe exactly what the gunner is looking at. The two GLOS modes are set via the CITV GLOS and GPS GLOS buttons located to the left of the CITV display. It is important to note that the TC cannot scan independently of gun/turret orientation when the CITV is in either GLOS mode.
- CITV GLOS mode slaves the gun to the CITV sight. This mans that when the TC engages his palm switch (P key), the gun will follow CITV movement. Keep in mind that the CITV is more agile than the turret so the gun may lag behind the CITV's movement. When the gun and CITV are not in alignment (coincidence), the TC will not be able to fire the gun. While the commander is not holding the P, the CITV will follow gun movement. When in CITV GLOS mode you should use the CITV screen F3 to fire the gun and not use the GPSE F2 view.
- GPS GLOS mode slaves the CITV to the GPS. This means that when the TC engages the palm switch (P key), the CITV will follow the GPS sight, therefore the CITV will behave more sluggishly as it matches turret movement but the gun will not lag behind the sight in this mode. Just like in CITV GLOS mode, when the TC is not holding P, the CITV will follow gun movement. When in GPS GLOS mode you use use the GPSE (F2) to engage targets and not the CITV screen F3 view.
Located to the left of the CITV display are three buttons used for battle sight. Battle sight is used for close and sudden targets, which enters a range in which super elevation is not an issue and the gunner only has to place the reticle on target and fire.
To use the battle sight mode, left click the mouse on the BATTLE SGT button. A green light will illuminate, and the range in the CITV display should change to the battle sight range (which is 1200m for KE). You may then left click on the ADD or DROP buttons in order to increase or decrease this range. Also, other ammo types will have different battle sight ranges because their ballistics are different (i.e. the range at which super elevation is not required is different). Note that these range values may be changed using the GCDP (Gunner's Control and Display Panel) as described below.
Commander's Tactical Panel (CTP)
The CTP display is located below the CITV display and it features a digital map view and a vehicle systems information menu. To access the map, left click the mouse on the "C3" (command, control and communication) button on the left side of the panel. To access the vehicle systems menu, left click on the "VEH SYS" button located just below the "C3" button.
Setting sector limits and tracking rate of CITV
The TC can specify the CITV's auto scan sector limits and scan rate. To do this, use the mouse to click on the "VEH SYS" button to the left of the map display. Once pressed, the vehicle systems will be displayed which features various information across the top, such as time, date, grid coordinate at vehicle heading, as well as volt level and fuel status (LF = left front fuel tank, RF = right front fuel tank, R = rear fuel tank). Across the bottom of the display is a row of selections. Use the mouse to left click on the button below the "CITV SETUP" selection and then a new set of selections will be displayed. To set the CITV sector limits, use the mouse to left click on the button below "SECTOR LIMITS" and then follow the on screen instructions (any instruction to press the "4-way button" is referring to left clicking the mouse on the four way arrow pad to the bottom left of the display). Once set, use the mouse to left click on the button under "RETURN". To set the CITV scan rate, left click on the button below "SCAN RATE ADJUST" and, again, follow the on screen instructions. When complete, you should left click on the "C3" button to return to the digital map view.
Gunner's Primary Sight Extension (GPSE)
The GPSE, as the name implies, is an extension of the Gunner's Primary Sight (GPS). The TC can look through the GPSE to see what the gunner is looking at and can use to to override the gunner onto another target or even choose to engage the target himself. Press F2 to access the GPSE.
Once in the GPSE view, the view will essentially be identical to the GPS view (which is explained in the gunner's section). The important thing to remember is that the TC can override the gunner by holding the P key. While looking through the GPSE and holding the override key, the TC can move the turret and engage targets if necessary. By releasing the override key, you are giving control back to the gunner.
- When using the GPSE, it is better to be in GPS GLOS mode
Designating targets with the GPSE
The second way to designate a target to the gunner on the M1A2 (SEP) is the same method the TC does so on the M1 and M1A1: by using the GPSE and overriding the gunner onto a target, then releasing control to the gunner. If the AI gunner identifies the target that you have put in view, it will begin tracking and wait for your order to fire (SPACE BAR).
TC's Vision Block View
On some occasions the TC may need to look around the vehicle without having to spin the turret and without having to expose himself to hostile fire. The vision block view allows the TC to remain safely inside the vehicle and quickly scan around for close threats. It is most useful when enemy infantry are in the immediate area. Access the TC's vision block view by pressing F4.
Once in the vision block view, the mouse or joystick can be used to quickly and seamlessly pan the TC's view from vision block to vision block, allowing him to scan around the vehicle. While the vision block view completely protects the TC from hostile fire, it does have an extremely limited field of view and offers no magnification.
Key listing for M1A2 (SEP) TC's position
TAB: Pop smoke. Launches smoke grenades to deploy a smoke screen in the direction that the turret is facing. Useful for breaking up enemy LRF or completely obscuring your vehicle against a non thermal sight equipped threat.
P: Override. Hold to override the turret and use the joystick or mouse to move it.
O: Designate. Press to designate a target when using the CITV. Once designated, the turret will move to that orientation and releasing the override (P) will give control back to the gunner.
CTRL: Stadia push. While in CITV manual (MAN) scan mode, press this to bring up the stadia reticle, which will only appear in 13x, 25x and 50x magnifications. Pressing this again will remove the box.
Q: Raise position in hatch. Moves the TC's view and exposure level up in the hatch.
Z: Lower position in hatch. Moves the TC's view and exposure level down in the hatch.
B: Button and unbutton the hatch (toggle). This is used to close and open the hatch.
N: Multipurpose zoom (toggle). When the TC is unbuttoned, this will bring toggle the binocular view. When the TC is inside the turret this key will make the TC lean forward, essentially zooming in on that spot in the turret.
LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW: When in the TC's eye view F1, pressing these keys will cause the TC to face to the left or right of the main gun (turret).
UP ARROW / DOWN ARROW: Multipurpose. When in the TC's eye view F1, pressing these keys will cause the TC to face in the direction of or to the rear of the gun (turret). When at the "Peri" (CITV) view F3 with the , pressing these keys will cause the stadia reticle to increase and decrease in size.
Driver related commands:
SHIFT + BACKSPACE: Shut down / start up engine (toggle). Orders the driver to shut off or start up the engine. If the TC is a platoon leader then it orders the platoon to execute a "short count" and simultaneously shut down or start up their engines.
W: Driver, move out. Instructs the driver to move forward (press again for increased speed.
S: Driver, stop. Instructs the driver to stop.
X: Driver, backup. Instructs the driver to reverse.
A: Driver, go left. Instructs the driver to go left (hold the key).
D: Driver, go right. Instructs the driver to go right (hold the key).
Gunner related commands:
BACKSPACE: Battle sight range (BSGT). This key represent the "BSGT" button on the commander's control panel which, when pressed, puts 1200m into the ballistic computer and dumps all lead calculations. This button should be used when the TC wants to gives a battle sight engagement, basically a tank becomes visible at 1200m or less. With battle sight in place, the gunner need not lase the target, he only needs to point and fire.
SPACE BAR: Multipurpose. Orders the gunner to fire at a target he is looking at when not overriding the gunner and when not in the caliber .50 gun sight view. If the TC is overriding the turret, the this will fire the main gun. If the TC is in the caliber .50 gun sight view, this will fire the caliber .50.
H: Hold fire. Orders the gunner to hold fire. If the TC is a platoon leader then it will also order the platoon to hold fire.
F: Fire at will. Orders the gunner to fire at will. If the TC is a platoon leader then it will also order the platoon to fire at will.
E: Engage. Orders the gunner to engage, and instructs the driver to take up a battle position. If the TC is a platoon leader then it orders the platoon to engage and take up a battle position in the direction of the user's view.
,: Manual mode. Orders to gunner to put the turret in manual mode.
.: Emergency mode. Orders the gunner to put the fire control system in emergency mode.
/: Normal mode. Orders the gunner to put the fire control system in normal mode (default).
M: Coax / Main gun (toggle). Orders the gunner to toggle between the main gun and coax to engage targets.
SHIFT + LEFT ARROW: Gunner, scan left. Orders the gunner to put move the turret approximately 45 degrees to the left and scan for targets.
SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW: Gunner, scan right. Orders the gunner to put move the turret approximately 45 degrees to the right and scan for targets.
SHIFT + UP ARROW: Gunner, scan front. Orders the gunner to put the gun over the front and scan for targets.
Loader related commands:
INSERT: Fire, fire (ammo type 1, usually sabot/KE). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 1 after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load this round type (if one is not already loaded).
DELETE: Fire, fire (ammo type 2, usually HEAT). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 2 after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load this round type (if one is not already loaded).
HOME: Fire, fire (ammo type 3, usually MPAT). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 3 (if there is any) after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load an ammo type 3 round (if one is not already loaded).
END: Fire, fire (ammo type 4, usually cannister). Orders the loader to start loading ammo type 4 (if there is any) after the next round is fired. Holding SHIFT and pressing this key will instruct the loader to reload this round type from the semi ready rack. Double tapping this key will instruct the loader to unload the current round and immediately load an ammo type 4 round (if one is not already loaded).
SHIFT + PAGE DOWN: Reload all. Orders the tank crew to reload all weapons systems.
Gunner's Position F6
In Steel Beasts Professional the gunner's position on the M1A2 SEP is fully crew-able. The gunner's position is accessed by pressing F6.
Gunner's Primary Sight (GPS)
The gunner's primary sight (GPS) is the primary sight the gunner utilizes to engage and destroy targets. The GPS view is accessed by pressing F2.
Thermal Imaging Sight (TIS)
The most useful aspect of the GPS view is the thermal imaging system (TIS). The gunner is provided with a relaxed viewing bi-ocular display on the right side of the periscope body with the sight itself accessed by pressing the F2 key. The TIS image may be focused using either the NUM DEL key or holding the ALT key and scrolling the mouse wheel. Pressing + on the num pad toggles the TIS between on and standby (off), while pressing - on the num pad toggles the sight's polarity.
The M1A2 SEP's TIS uses a 2nd Generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) imager, and provides optical magnification at 3x, 6x, and 13x along with digital enhancement at 25x and 50x. Pressing N toggles through the magnification levels. The 3x and 6x magnification levels are intended for quick scanning of the terrain and target acquisition, and have brackets to show the area that the next level of magnification will zoom into. The 13x magnification level shows the reticle for lasing and engaging targets, and is the recommended level of magnification for engaging targets. The 25x and 50x magnification levels also have the reticle for engaging targets, and are recommended for identifying characteristics of the target, such as it's type and current status. These two highest levels of magnification are also good for engaging partially concealed targets that cannot be easily identified and engaged at 13x magnification.
TIS is an excellent sight for engaging targets at any hour and under all weather conditions. Unlike the daylight sight, TIS can see through non multi-spectral smoke screens, fog and thin clouds of dust. The TIS is also at an extreme advantage over non TIS equipped foes in low visibility conditions such as night, poor weather, or fog. Sometimes target identification in TIS view can be difficult. As a trigger puller, you need to be extremely certain that what you are observing is an enemy vehicle before you commit an act of fratricide. The best way to be certain of this (in good visibility) is to switch to daylight view once a target is acquired. That said, gunners with experience will memorize TIS signatures of all vehicles to the point that they can identify targets in the TIS as effectively as they can in daylight view. Also, remember that TIS cannot see the specific camouflage pattern a vehicle has. If you are in a mission where the enemy and friendlies are both using the same vehicle (ex. T-55A) but with different camouflage patterns, switch to the daylight sight to make sure you aren't mistaking a friendly tank for an enemy tank.
The daylight view of the GPS sight is mostly used when the TIS is damaged or, in good visibility conditions, to better identify targets. If you are currently in the TIS imager view, you can switch to daylight view by pressing the + key (on the num pad).
The zoom level in the daylight sight can also be toggled with N and it is independent of the zoom level set in the TIS.
In both the TIS and daylight view, you will see a set of nearly identical symbols in the bottom of the sight and a reticle in the center of the sight: these are referred to as the gun sight symbology.
The GPS aiming reticle is located in the center of the appropriate sight and is used for aiming at the target. The center of the reticle is a circle (or a box in the TIS sight) with a dot in the middle of it. The center dot is the aiming point for lasing and firing.
The set of numbers in the lower part of the sight is the range, in meters, that is currently entered in the fire control system (FCS). This range is either entered manually by the user (through the use of the Gunner's Control and Display Panel (GCDP)), entered by the TC using the "BSGT" button, or entered automatically when the laser range finder (LRF) is used, the latter being the most common and is referred to as "lasing".
The box to the upper left of the range value is the "ready to fire box". This box is displayed after a variety of conditions are met (most notably the loader's arming handle must be "up") and signifies that the gun is ready to fire.
In the same image you will see a horizontal bar above the range value. This bar is displayed in cases where the "lase" has multiple returns. In other words, when the gunner lased the target, the laser passed through an obstruction (or went beyond the target and caught a piece of it) and has returned from multiple distances. This is a warning that you may have an inaccurate range to the target. Before you lase the target you should use the ` key to switch between 1st and last return on the LRF to minimize possibilities of a multiple return; choosing which one depends on the situation. If there is an obstruction such as tree or bush between you and the target (just like what is in the first sample image in the "Daylight Sight" section), then last return should be selected before you lase so that the GCDP uses the last return as the range (the return beyond the tree). If only a small part of the target is visible at a long range (such as the turret), then 1st return should be selected before you lase since there is a possibility that he laser will return off the small portion of the target but continue on down range and return a longer range.
In some cases you may see an "F" to the upper right of the range. This "F" symbolizes that an FCS fault of some kind has occurred. The exact fault may also affect the other symbols in the reticle. In the example image the ballistic computer has been damaged which causes the range to be displayed as all zeros. In other cases the numbers may flash, be frozen with the last known range, or you may completely lose your aiming reticle. The only thing you need to be concerned with is that if an "F" is displayed in the view then there has been an FCS malfunction and you may need to use the gunner's auxiliary sight (GAS).
Engaging targets with the GPS can be a complicated affair. Obviously the first thing you need to do to engage a target is to acquire it. The best way to do this is by using the TIS 3x sight.
Once a target is acquired, the gunner should switch to 10x magnification by pressing N and place the dot in the center of the reticle on the target and lase by pressing CTRL or Joystick Button 2. Once you lase the target and get the range, lead (pronounced "leed") begins to be calculated.
The most important thing to realize is that the FCS on the M1A2 automatically induces lead. Lead is the term used to refer to putting a gun in front of a target which is moving perpendicular to your vantage point. When you lead a target, you essentially need to fire in front of target at the point in which the round and target will meet. Lead is automatically applied whenever an object is lased and the turret is traversed left or right in normal mode. When a moving target is lased, the turret will jump ahead of the target in order to apply the appropriate lead. Unlike the M1 and M1A1, the reticle does not move within the sight picture when lead is applied. Instead, the turret moves out of alignment with the GPS to aim ahead of the target, thus leading the target. The ballistic computer calculates lead depending on the range entered into the computer from the lase, the indexed ammo type, and the horizontal rate of traverse of the turret.
- On the M1A2, the reticle remains in the center of the GPS view when lead is applied. On the older M1 and M1A1, the reticle moved left or right within the GPS view to apply lead to the target.
A "good track" is when you can assume a steady track on the target with the reticle remaining on target as you follow it for a second or so. A "bad track" is when your tracking rate is either too fast or too slow in relation to the targets actual movement; track the target too fast and the reticle slowly moves in front of the target, track the target too slow and the reticle will fall behind. If you fire with a "bad track" then you are most likely going to shoot in front of or behind the target. M1A2 gunners use a variety of techniques to minimize a bad track, which are mentioned in the techniques section below.
- If you and the target are stationary then you do not need to utilize lead. In this case it is advisable that you quickly "dump lead" (see below) by pressing P after you lase, then fire at the target. This ensures that there is a minimal chance or user induced error from a sudden movement of the sight before firing.
Once a target is lased and, if the target is moving, a steady track executed, the gun is ready to be fired. To fire the main gun press SPACEBAR or Joystick Button 1. The round will now be launched down range and the enemy will hopefully be rewarded with a quick and painless death.
If by some chance you miss the target, you should dump lead, lase the target again, and get a steady track. Also, ensure you have the proper ammunition type indexed.
If the TC changes the main gun ammo type (ie. from sabot to HEAT), you must select the new ammo type when the round is loaded by pressing INSERT, DELETE, HOME or END. This is referred to as "indexing" the round type. Essentially the gunner pushes the appropriate button on the ammo selection panel, which tells the ballistic computer what round trajectory to calculate.
If the gunner does not properly index the ammo type then the round will be wildly off target. If sabot is indexed and a HEAT round is fired then the round will impact short of the target. If HEAT is indexed and a sabot round is fired then you will launch a small unmanned sub-orbital mission.
- The easiest way to tell when you need to index a new round type is by listening to the TC announce "fire, fire HEAT" or "fire, fire sabot" etc. Another sign of when to index a new ammo type is by listening to the loader. Every time a HEAT round is loaded into the gun the loader will announce "HEAT up". If a sabot round is loaded following a HEAT round then he will announce "sabot up". Every subsequent sabot round loaded will only be announced with "up".
Fire Control Modes
The FCS on the M1 series tanks function under three “modes” of operation: Normal, Emergency, and Manual.
- Normal Mode: This is the default fire control mode, with the gun electrically slaved to the GPS reticle and the turret stabilized in azimuth. Normal mode is selected using the / key.
- Emergency Mode: Emergency mode is used when normal mode has suffered a malfunction or stabilization is lost. During emergency mode operation, the GPS Reticle is electrically slaved to the movements of the gun and all forms of lead and stabilization are disabled. When a target is lased in Emergency mode, or a range is manually entered through the GCDP or BSGT button, the reticle will appear to jump up or down in the sight picture. Realigning the sight with the target applies the appropriate superelevation to the gun, similar in operation to the TPD-K1 day sight of the T-72A. Lead is applied to moving targets manually. Emergency mode is selected using the . key.
- Manual Mode: Manual mode provides gun and turret control independent of the vehicle electrical and hydraulic power sources, and is typically used when these systems fail due to battle damage. Manual mode is selected using the , key.
Manually Inputting Range
There may be instances when the gunner must manually index a range into the Gunner's Control and Panel (GCDP). This may be necessary if a target cannot be lased through a smoke screen and another tank in the platoon has a good range on it, or the gunner wants to make an estimate, or for a variety of other reasons.
To manually input a range into the GCDP, look at the GCDP in eye view. The best way to do this is to press F1, move the view to the right then press F1 again to disconnect the mouse from the view direction. While looking at the GCDP, use the mouse to press the SENSORS button.
Once in the SENSORS menu, use the mouse to press the RANGE button at the far left.
In the RANGE menu, the computer will now display the range currently entered into the fire control system in meters (the bracketed number) in the lower left corner of the display. The ballistic computer is now waiting and ready to accept manual range entry, simply use the mouse to enter the desired range using the keypad. As you press the numeric buttons, the numbers above the bracketed range will update accordingly. Once you have the range you want, press the ENTER key at the keypad's lower right corner to index that range into the ballistic computer; DO NOT press the RETURN button before pressing ENTER, as doing so instructs the ballistic computer to cancel the operation, and it will ignore the new range you entered. Once the range is indexed into the ballistic computer, the bracketed currently entered range in the readout will update.
If you entered the range while the palm switches are depressed (which are always depressed by default unless you hold P or have a gunner control handle setup), the gun tube will elevate or depress as if you just lased a target, and lead will now be induced as well. If you do not want lead to be calculated after you entered the manual range, then simply release the palm switches to dump lead by pressing P or release the palm switching while entering the manual range into the CCP.
Practice makes perfect when entering manual range into the GCDP. At first the above process may seem cumbersome, but with practice you can enter range into the GCDP in about three seconds.
- The process of looking at and entering range into the GCDP simulates the fact that on the real M1A2 you could not and would not enter the range into the GCDP without also looking at it, otherwise it would be too risky as you may end up pressing something on the panel that you did not intend (such as LEAD, MRS, AIR TEMP etc).
Changing Battlesight Ranges
Although the TC can adjust the pre-indexed battlesight range when using the battlesight button, there may be instances when the gunner must change the initial battlesight range for a given ammunition type based on the commander’s analysis of METT-TC and other factors such as weather, smoke, or other conditions that reduce visibility. These changes are made through the GCDP.
To change battlesight ranges through the GCDP, look at the GCDP in eye view as as described under "Manually Inputting Range" above and press the ADJUST button.
Once in the ADJUST menu, use the mouse to press the BATTLESIGHT button.
As with the RANGE menu above, the BATTLESIGHT menu will display two ranges in the lower left corner. The top number is the range currently entered into the fire control system in meters, and the bottom number is the pre-indexed battlesight range for whatever ammunition type is currently selected. To change the battlesight range select the desired ammunition type on the GPS, use the mouse to enter the desired range using the keypad, and press ENTER. Note that both the battlesight and currently indexed ranges will update.
By re-selecting SABOT, you can see that the indexed range stays at 800m while the battlesight range changes to 1200m.
Note that the typical range setting (1,200 meters for sabot, 1,000 meters for MPAT, 900 meters for HEAT, and 300 meters for canister) should be used, unless the commander gives guidance otherwise. (Selecting a range in excess of 1,200 meters for sabot, 1,000 meters for MPAT, 900 meters for HEAT-T, or 300 meters for canister, at certain ranges will cause the trajectory of the round to exceed the height of the target.)
There are many different gunner techniques (aka. "ancient Chinese secrets") when dealing with gunnery on the M1A1. The two most common techniques are lase and blaze and lase, steady track, fire.
Lase and blaze is a technique where the gunner picks up a good track on a target for a second and a half or more then rapidly lases and fires (in a lase, fire one-two movement) as quickly as possible. The theory behind this technique is that a rapid lase and fire minimizes gunner error on lead calculation. The general tendency for gunners is to over compensate or change their track speed after a target is lased if the gunner hesitates when firing the gun. The disadvantage of this technique is that depending on how fast the target is moving and its range, lase and blaze may cause firing to occur before the turret fully "jumps" in front of the target to its proper lead position, but this should be a rare occurrence, especially if you time the one-two lase-fire at about a half second interval.
Lase, track, fire is a technique where the gunner puts / tracks the reticle on target, gets a good lase, then performs or maintains a steady track of the target for a second and a half or more. The gunner then fires once a good track on the target is achieved. The theory behind this technique is that after the gunner lases, the gunner maintains the appropriate traverse speed to visually see that a good track is achieved on the target with the dynamic reticle. This method has the greatest chance of applying the correct lead on the target, but the disadvantage is that if the gunner waits too long then the range may be incorrect when he finally decides to fire. However, the gunner can always re-lase the target to get a new range while he is tracking it, it just means that you may have to readjust your track which can cost life saving seconds.
- The successful gunner may use a mixture of the two techniques or perfect their own technique, but the most capable gunner recognizes when to dump lead, re-lase, and start the process over instead of firing and wasting a round, precious seconds, or blowing the element of surprise.
Gunner's Auxiliary Sight (GAS)
The gunner's auxiliary sight (GAS) is the gunner's secondary means to engage targets when the GPS is disabled or when the fire control system has a fault. The GAS is also the sight that the gunner should reference when determining whether the gun tube is clear of a forward obstruction (like a berm or ridge line). Press F3 to access the GAS.
The GAS sight has a fixed 8x magnification and is always aligned with the gun.
- When the gun is elevated and depressed the GAS sight picture will rotate. This behavior models the actual awkward behavior in the real tank. The behavior occurs as a result of how the GAS sight is hinged half way down the tube in order to keep the sight piece in the same place as the gun moves. As the gun elevates and depresses, the elbow pivots and the sight must rotate around the joint, thereby rotating the entire sight picture.
The GAS sight is fairly simple to understand. At the top of the sight is the name of the reticle that you currently have selected. Below this is a left to right descending stadiametric scale which is used to bracket a target and determine its range. The numbers at the top of this scale represent the range to the target in hundreds of meters. Below the horizontal stadia scale are the aiming lines which are used to determine the elevation of the gun once you determine the range to the target. The numbers to the right of the aiming lines are the range in hundreds of meters and the horizontal dashes (offset from the center of the sight) are to assist the gunner with estimating lead on moving targets.
Engaging targets with the GAS is not an exact science. It can require several rounds, a good deal of estimation, and "Kentucky windage" before you hit a moving the target, but stationary targets should be relatively easy to hit if the process is done correctly. The basic process behind using the GAS to engage a target is to select the proper reticle, estimate the range to the target, engage the target, make adjustments and reengage if necessary.
Selecting the Proper Reticle
The first thing you must do is select the proper reticle of the round which is currently loaded by pressing R.
- The sight marked "APFSDS" at the top is for sabot.
Choking the Target (Ranging)
After you have the correct reticle selected, the next thing you need to do is "choke" the target. Choking the target is the term used to estimate range to a target by using the stadia scale at the top of the GAS sight.
As mentioned, the numbers on the scale represent hundreds of meters. When estimating range to a target, the target is put in between the long horizontal line and the dashed lines above it (the lines just below the numbers). In the case of a fully exposed target, the bottom line is placed on the bottom of the vehicle (where the tracks touch the ground) and the horizontal dash is placed at the top of the vehicle's turret. In the case where only the turret of a target is visible, the bottom of the turret (aka. the top of the hull) is placed on the bottom horizontal line and the top of the vehicle's turret is placed on the dot (in between the horizontal line and the horizontal dashes).
Essentially, the target is placed within the scale at the increment in which it most fully fills the top and bottom of the scale. In the above image, the enemy tank is completely visible so the horizontal line and horizontal dash above the dot is used. The bottom of the line is placed below the tank and the top of the dash is placed at the top of the turret. The target fills the scale marked "20" so the target is approximately 2000m away.
- It is important to remember that the stadia scale is used to determine average tank sized targets. For larger or smaller vehicles (such as APCs or IFVs) a little bit of guess work may be required.
Once the range is estimated to the target, elevate the GAS sight so that the appropriate range numbers to the right of the lower vertical scale are even with the target in the sight. Next, if the target is stationary, align the target with the center of the sight marked with the vertical lines above and below the middle circle. If the target is moving, use the dashed lines to the left and right of center to estimate lead depending on the target's speed.
Continuing with the example, the target's range was estimated at 2000m and the target is stationary. The sight is elevated so that the target is even with the "20" on the right side of the lower scale, and the target is centered in the sight along the center vertical lines.
Once this is done, you are now ready to engage the target.
In the event that you miss the target, you should simply adjust the sight in relation to where the round hit and walk it into the target. You should not waste valuable time estimating the range to the target again unless the target is rapidly moving towards or away from you.
- If you have sabot loaded and you need to quickly engage a target that is 1200m or less from your position, do not worry about the range: simply place the target in the center circle on the APFSDS reticle and fire!
Gunner's Unity Sight
The gunner's unity sight is simply a vision block that the gunner has that allows him to see a 1x view through the GPS housing (aka. "dog house"). This sight can be useful if you need to see immediately to the front of the turret in a relatively wide field of view. Press F4 to enter the unity sight and use the joystick or mouse to move the turret around normally.
Key listing for M1A2 gunner's position
Weapon system commands:
P or Joystick Button 3: Disengage palm switches. Press to release the palm switches and disengage hydraulic power to the turret. This is done mainly to dump lead in the ballistic computer.
N: Zoom (toggle). Toggles between 3x and 10x in the GPS day sight and 3x, 6x, 13x, 25x, and 50x in the TIS (the TIS and daylight sight can be at independent magnifications).
SPACE BAR: Fire. Fires the currently selected weapon system (main gun or coax).
SHIFT + SPACEBAR: Master blaster. Fires the main gun via the master blaster (the manual fire control handle which generates an electrical current when the handle is twisted). The master blaster is useful for fire control system malfunctions where the gun does not respond or when electrical power to the turret is lost.
CTRL: Lase. Lases the target or area currently in the GPS reticle.
M: Main / Coax (toggle). Toggles between the main gun and coax.
`: 1st return / last return (toggle). Toggles between 1st return and last return LRF modes.
R: GAS reticle (toggle). Toggles between the APFSDS and HEAT reticle in the GAS.
SHIFT + B: GPS shield (toggle). Toggles the GPS shield (dog house doors) open and closed. This is useful to protect the GPS from incoming high explosive artillery rounds.
+ (num pad): TIS / daylight (toggle). Toggles between the daylight and TIS filter in the GPS sight.
- (num pad): White hot / black hot (toggle). Toggles between the TIS white hot and black hot polarity modes.
INSERT: Sabot indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on sabot, indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.
DELETE: HEAT indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on HEAT, indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.
HOME: Ammo type 3 indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on ammo type 3 (if there is any), indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.
END: Ammo type 4 indexed. Places the ammo selector switch on ammo type 4 (if there is any), indexing that round type in the ballistic computer.
LEFT ARROW / RIGHT ARROW: Manual traverse. Tap to traverse the turret using the manual hand crank. Tap the keys quicker to traverse the turret faster. Manual traverse is vital when hydraulic pressure or electrical power is lost.
UP ARROW / DOWN ARROW: Manual elevation. Tap to elevate the main gun using the manual hand crank. Tap the keys quicker to elevate the main gun faster. Manual elevation is vital when hydraulic pressure or electrical power is lost.
/: Manual mode. Puts the fire control system in manual mode. This essentially makes it so that main gun can only be moved by the manual traverse and manual elevation keys.
.: Emergency mode. Puts the fire control system in emergency mode. This essentially slaves the sight to the gun and disables all form of lead and stabilization. This is necessary when the fire control system suffers a malfunction.
- If the fire control system suffers a malfunction or stabilization is lost while in normal mode then emergency mode must be selected in order traverse the turret.
,: Normal mode. Puts the fire control system in normal mode. This is the normal operating mode for the fire control system and essentially slaves the gun to the sight. Normal mode must be selected to have a stabilized gun sight and lead calculation.
Tank commander related commands:
T: Identified! Tells the TC that you have located a target and that you are going to engage it. Essentially it tells the AI TC to leave you alone while you engage and forbids the AI from overriding you to another target. Use at your own risk.
I: I can't see it! Tells the TC that you cannot see a target or the one he is commanding you to engage. Essentially it tells the AI TC to override you on to a target that it wants you to engage.
Driver related commands:
W: Driver, move out. Instructs the driver to move forward (press again for increased speed.
S: Driver, stop. Instructs the driver to stop.
X: Driver, backup. Instructs the driver to reverse.
Driver's Position F9
In Steel Beasts Professional the driver's position on the M1A2 (SEP) is fully crew-able but partially modeled. Currently there is no 3D view for the driver but there is a driver position view which has an image of the driver's hatch. The driver's position is accessed by pressing F9.
Once in the driver's position, you can drive the tank by using the joystick or W A S D X keys. You can also unbutton the driver and raise his view by holding Q and you can lower the driver and make him button up by holding Z.
In Steel Beasts Professional the loader's position on the M1A2 (SEP) is currently not crew-able and is handled by the AI. The AI loader performs the main responsibility of loading the main gun and he also replenishes ammunition from the semi-ready rack when the TC orders a reload command.
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