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M1 Abrams

Main battle tank

M1 Abrams

The M1 Abrams main battle tank was named in honor to General Abrams

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1980
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 54.54 t
Length (gun forward) 9.77 m
Hull length 7.92 m
Width 3.65 m
Height 2.38 m
Armament
Main gun 105 mm rifled
Machine guns 2 x 7.62 mm, 1 x 12.7 mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 55 rounds
Machine guns ?
Mobility
Engine Avco Lycoming AGT1500 gas turbine engine
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 72.4 km/h
Range 498 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 1.24 m
Trench 2.74 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 1.98 m

 

   The M1 Abrams main battle tank was developed by Chrysler Defence. Production of the M1 started in 1980 and ceased in 1992. This MBT was named in honor to the General Abrams, commander of US forces during Vietnam War. The M1 Abrams MBT replaced the M60 Patton in service with US Army. Currently the M1 Abrams main battle tank is no longer in operational service with the US military and a number of these tanks were upgraded to the M1A2 standard. US Army has over 2 300 of these tanks in reserve storage. The original M1 was never exported.

   The M1 Abrams features composite armor similar to British Chobham, which features multiple layers of steel and ceramics. It may also be fitted with explosive reactive armor. Interior of the tank is lined with Kevlar protecting the crew against spalling. Ammunition is stored in the turret bustle with blow-out panels.

   It is fitted with the M68A1 105 mm rifled gun. It is a license-produced version of the British L7 tank gun. This gun is loaded manually. Interestingly the M1 was designed from the start to accommodate a larger 120 mm gun. But the US Army had planned to fit the tank with a larger gun at the later date. Eventually the 120 mm gun was integrated on improved M1A1 Abrams, which replaced in production the original M1 in 1985.

   The M1 is compatible with all standard NATO 105 mm tank ammunition. A total of 55 rounds are carried for the main gun, including 44 rounds stored in the turret bustle and 11 rounds stored in protective containers inside the hull.

   The M1 Abrams has a modern fire control system with a high first hit probability. It can destroy tank-size targets at a range of 2 km while firing on the move.

   Secondary armament consists of 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. Also there is a 12.7 mm and another 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on top of the roof.

   Vehicle has a crew of four, including commander, gunner and driver.

   The M1 Abrams is powered by an Avco Lycoming (now Honeywell) AGT1500 gas turbine engine. Essentially it is a modified helicopter engine, adapted for use on tanks. It is a multi-fuel engine, which can run on any grade of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and kerosene. This engine has impressive performance and is compact for its power output. So even though the Abrams tank is heavy and bulky, it is surprisingly agile. It is faster than many other tanks and has superior cross-country performance. Also the engine is remarkably quiet. Due to this feature the Abrams is even nicknamed the Whispering Death. The gas turbine engine has servicing intervals significantly longer than those of diesel engines. However the gas turbine also has some drawbacks. Notably it is troublesome to maintain and has very high fuel consumption comparing with diesels. The engine can be replaced in field conditions within 30 minutes. The tank can be fitted with mine plow and mine roller attachments.

   The M1 was followed in production by the improved M1 with additional armor, M1A1 and later the M1A2.

 

Variants

 

   Grizzly combat engineering vehicle, specially designed to clear pathways through minefields. This program was canceled in 2001, before the Grizzly reached production.

   M1 Panther II mine detection and clearing vehicle.

   M104 Wolverine heavy assault bridge.

   M1A1 Abrams, a successor to the M1. It is armed with a larger 120 mm gun and has improved armor protection. Its production commenced in 1985. It is planned that the fleet of refurbished and upgraded M1A1 tanks will remain with the US military service until at least 2021.

   M1A2 Abrams is a further improved version. A depleted uranium armor mesh was added to the front arc in order to increase armor protection. Also the M1A2 has more advanced fire control system with a panoramic commander's sight. It gives this tank a hunter-killer capability. Production of the M1A2 commenced in 1992.

   M1A2 SEP is an improved and upgraded version of the M1A2. It has improved armor protection, improved system components, improved computer components, and some other improvements. First upgraded tank was delivered in 1999. Some of these tanks were newly built, while a number of older M1 and M1A1 tanks were upgraded to this standard. Currently the M1A2 SEP is the backbone of the US military armored forces. It is planned that these tanks will remain in service beyond 2050.

   K1 is a South Korean main battle tank, modeled after the Abrams. It was developed by General Dynamics, who designed and built the M1. It is based on the Abrams technology but has a number of changes to meet specific operational requirements of the South Korean Army. Series production commenced in 1985. Around 1 000 vehicles of this type were built by Hyundai for the South Korean Army.

 

Video of the M1 Abrams main battle tank

 
M1 Abrams MBT

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M1 Abrams MBT

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M1 Abrams MBT

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M1 Abrams MBT

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M1 Abrams MBT

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