Main Battle Tank - United States
The M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) is an advanced variant of the iconic M1A1 Abrams tank, featuring state-of-the-art enhancements in firepower, situational awareness, and survivability. Key improvements include an Improved Commander's Weapon Station (ICWS), a Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), an Inter-Vehicular Information System (IVIS), a Position/Navigation System (POS/NAV), and a suite of survivability initiatives. The M1A2 offers significant advantages in lethality and maintainability compared to its predecessor.
Development of the M1A2 began in 1988, and the first production models were completed in 1992. The U.S. Army approved the M1A2 for production in 1990, recognizing its technological advancements over the basic M1A1 design. The M1A2 entered U.S. Army service in 1992, with production for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia completed by mid-1996.
On July 8, 2019, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the potential sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks to Taiwan, including related equipment and support, at an estimated cost of $2 billion. In October 2019, Taiwan confirmed plans to purchase 106 M1A2T tanks and proceeded to sign a Letter of Offer and Acceptance.
During a press conference on January 26, 2023, U.S. Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh announced that the United States would deliver the latest M1A2 Abrams variant to Ukraine, with 31 tanks being supplied. These tanks would not be sourced from U.S. Army stocks.
M1A2 Abrams MBT Main Battle Tank main variants:
- M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package): Has upgraded 3rd generation depleted uranium armor components with graphite coating (240 new built, 300 M1A2s upgraded to M1A2SEP for the USA, also unknown numbers of upgraded basic M1s and M1IPs, also 400 oldest M1A1s upgraded to M1A2SEP).
- M1A2 SEP V2: includes improved displays, sights, power, and a tank-infantry phone. It represents the most technologically advanced Abrams tank and can accommodate future technology improvements to ensure compatibility with the Army's Future Combat Systems.
- M1A2 SEP V3: improvement in lethality for the Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 will derive from the combination of developmental upgrades and the addition of mature technologies that include the Ammunition DataLink (ADL), improved 120mm ammunition, Improved Forward-Looking Infrared (IFLIR) and the low-profile (LP) Common Remotely Operated Weapon System (CROWS).
The main armament of the M1A2 Abrams tank consists of one 120 mm smoothbore M256 cannon which can fire a wide range of ammunition as the M829 APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot), M830 HEAT-MP-T (High Explosive Anti-Tank-Multi Purpose - Tracer), M831 TP-T training round and M865 TPCSDS-T training round. Mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament is a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun, and a similar weapon skate-mounted on the left side of the turret for the loader can be elevated from -30 to +65º, with total traverse being 265º. The commander's station is armed with a standard 12.7 mm Browning M2 HB heavy machine gun which can be elevated from -10 to +65º and traversed through 360º. This weapon has powered and manual controls for traverse and manual controls for elevation. Mounted on either side of the turret is a British-designed (L8A1) six-barrelled smoke grenade discharger designated the M250. A smoke screen can also be laid by an engine-operated system. Some M1A2 can be fitted with a remote weapon station for the commander.
|Design and protection|
The layout of the M1A2 Abram is standard for a main battle tank with the driver position at the front in the center, the turret is in the middle of the hull, and the powerpack at the rear. The commander and gunner are seated on the right of the turret and the loader is on the left. The M1A2 is very similar to the previous version M1A1, the most notable exterior changes on the M1A2 are the redesigned Commander's Weapon Station (CWS) and the addition of a Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer) on the left side of the turret forward of the loader's hatch. Internally, however, the M1A2 has been radically redesigned to take advantage of newer technology. The hull and the turret is made with advanced armor similar to the Chobham armor developed in the UK that gives protection against ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) and RPGs (Rocket-propelled grenades). The armor of the M1A2 also includes 2nd generation depleted uranium armor components.
|The first M1A2 Abrams tank was motorized with a Textron Lycoming AGT 1500 gas turbine engine developing 1,500 hp at 30,000 rpm, replaced by a German MTU. Now, the Abrams M1A2 is motorized with a German MTU EuroPowerPack diesel power pack. The installation of the MTU EuroPowerPack is in direct response to market requirements as potential customers believe that the diesel engine is more fuel-efficient than the turbine and will give an increased operating range. The MTU EuroPowerPack consists of the MTU 883 V-12 diesel developing 1,500 hp coupled to a Renk HSWL 295 TM automatic transmission with five forward and three reverse gears together with a cooling and air filtration system. The M1A2 can run at a maximum speed of 68 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 425 km. The torsion bar suspension consists of seven road wheels on each side with rotary shock absorbers at the first, second, and seventh road wheel stations. The drive sprocket is at the rear with the idler at the front and there are two return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is protected by vertical armored skirts that hinge outwards to allow access to the suspension for maintenance. The M1A2 can cross a water depth of 1.21m and 1.98 m with preparation. It can climb a gradient of 60% and a side slope of 40% and it can cross a vertical obstacle of 1.06 m and a trench of 2.74 m.|
|The subsystems of M1A2 Abrams tank include the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV), Hull/Turret Electronics Unit (H/TEU), Line of Sight/Dual-Axis Head Assembly (LOS/DAHA), Position/Navigation Unit, Direct Support Electrical System Test Set (DSESTS), Commander's Integrated Display (CID), Driver's Integrated Display (DID), Fire Control Electronics Unit (FCEU), Gunner's Control and Display, Panel (GCDP), Hull Power Distribution Unit (HPDU), Hull/Turret Position Sensor (HTPS), Improved Commander's Weapon Station (ICWS) and Radio Interface Unit (RIU). The M1A2 Abrams tank has a two-axis Raytheon gunner's primary sight-line of sight (GPS-LOS) which increases the first-round hit probability by providing faster target acquisition and improved gun pointing. The tank is also fitted with a thermal imaging system (TIS) that has magnification ×10 narrow field of view and ×3 wide field of view. The thermal image is displayed in the eyepiece of the gunner's sight together with the range measurement from a laser range finder. The improvement in the lethality of M1a2 is primarily a function of the M1A2’s faster target acquisition times, due to the tank’s “hunter-killer”-capable Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV). The CITV, controlled by the Commander’s Control Handle Assembly (CCHA), allows for independent scanning and a sight picture displayed on the Commander’s Integrated Display (CID). The CCHA has a “designate” button that slews the turret from the gunner’s current sight picture to the target the commander has identified. The M1A2’s drastic improvement in situational awareness comes primarily from the Inter-vehicular Information System (IVIS), which indicates to crew members where they are on the ground, where friendly forces are in relation to them, and where enemy forces have been identified. IVIS provides the commander his current position (through the tank’s POSNAV system), along with icons, representing friendly vehicles, on a blank, gridded screen. The tank is protected against nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) warfare.|
|One 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun, one coaxial 7.62 mm M240 MG, one 12.7 mm M2 machine gun, one 7.62 mm M240 machine gun||Chobham armor and 2nd generation depleted uranium armor|
|United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait||63,086 kg|
|United States||68 km/h|
|Thermal viewer, NBC protection system, navigation unit, Computerized Fire Control Electronics Unit, night vision||425 km|
|4||Length: 7.92 m; Width: 3.65 m; Height: 2.88 m|
Pictures - Video