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M1A2 Abrams

Main battle tank

M1A2 Abrams MBT

The M1A2 Abrams is one of the best main battle tanks in the world

Entered service 1992
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 62.5 t
Length (gun forward) 9.83 m
Hull length 7.92 m
Width 3.48 m
Height 2.44 m
Main gun 120-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 2 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 9 to + 20 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 12 400 x 7.62, 1 000 x 12.7
Engine Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 67 km/h
Range 425 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 2 m


   The M1A2 Abrams main battle tank is a further development of the M1A1. Currently it is one of the best MBTs in the world. Development of improved M1A1 began in 1988. About 1 200-1 500 M1A2 main battle tanks were delivered to the US army. Out of this number approximately 1 000 out-dated M1 main battle tanks were upgraded to the M1A2 standard. It is planned that this tank will remain in service beyond 2050. The M1A2 has been exported to Kuwait (218) and Saudi Arabia (457).

   The Abrams is protected by Chobham composite armor. Protection of the M1A2 was improved by using depleted uranium mesh at the front of the hull and turret. It offers significant protection against all known anti-tank weapons, however overall weight increased comparing with the M1A1. Protection of the M1A2 Abrams is considered as one of the best in the world. All active service M1A1 tanks have been retrofitted with depleted uranium armor. M1A2 tanks supplied to Kuwait and possibly Saudi Arabia have downgraded armor without depleted uranium layers. Ammunition for the main gun is stored in the turret bustle, fitted with blow-out panels. Interior is lined with Kevlar liner for protection against spalling. The M1A2 Abrams can be fitted with explosive reactive armor blocks. Some M1A2 tanks are equipped with missile countermeasure devices, intended to detect and jam guidance of the laser-guided missiles.

   Vehicle is armed with the M256 120-mm smoothbore gun, originally developed by Rheinmetall and manufactured under license in USA. This gun is loaded manually. The M1A2 has an improved fire control system and its components. Range of effective fire in excess of 4 km. The M1A2 has a target acquisition system with hunter-killer capability. Many tanks produced in the early 90s lack this capability.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun, another 7.62-mm MG mounted over the gunner's hatch and 12.7-mm MG mounted over commander's hatch.

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

   The M1A2 Abrams is powered by Honeywell AGT1500 multi-fuel gas turbine engine, developing 1 500 horsepower. This engine can run on any grade of petrol, diesel, kerosene, or jet fuel. Its main drawback is a high fuel consumption and troublesome maintenance. Engine can be replaced in field conditions within 30 minutes.

   This main battle tank can be airlifted by a C-5 Galaxy or C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.




   M1A2 SEP (or System Enhancement Program) variant. It is a successor to the M1A2. It has improved armor protection, improved system components, improved computer components, and some other improvements. The SEPv2 (version 2) is fitted with remotely operated weapon station, armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun. First M1A2 SEP tank was delivered to the US Army in 1999. There are at least 900 M1A2 SEP tanks in service. 240 of them were newly built. The over were upgraded to this standard from the M1, M1A1 and M1A2 tanks;

   Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) was developed for the Abrams series tanks to improve their survivability in urban environment. Once kit is applied the tank has improved protection, firepower and situational awareness. The TUSK can be applied by the units in field conditions.

Video of the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank