M1 Abrams MBT
Main Battle Tank United States
The M1 is the first variant of the U.S. Abrams series MBT Main Battle Tank. The program to design the new M1 was started in 1971 to answer a request of U.S. army for a new main battle tank. In June 1973, contracts for the prototype development validation phase of the new tank, called the XM1, were awarded to the two prime contractors. In February 1976, the U.S. army accepted the first prototype vehicles from both US contractors and operational and engineering testing was conducted through to April 1976. In November 1976, the Secretary of the Army announced that the Chrysler Corporation prototype had been selected to enter Full-Scale Engineering Development (FSED). Both final bids included the AGT 1500 turbine engine, in the initial offer General Motors only bid with the diesel engine. Total production of the M1 was 2,374 tanks, with last vehicles being delivered in February 1985 when production switched to the Improved M1 which was completed in May 1986. Currently the M1 Abrams main battle tank is no longer in service with the US military and a number of these tanks were upgraded to the M1A1 and M1A2 standard.
M1 Abrams MBT variants:
- M1: First production variant. Production began (at Chrysler) in 1979 and continued to 1985 (at General Dynamics) (3,273 built for the US). The first 110 tanks were Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) models, still called XM1s, because they were built prior to the tank being type-classified as the M1.
- M1A1: Production started in 1985 and continued to 1992, pressurized NBC system, rear bustle rack for improved stowage of supplies and crew belongings, redesigned blow-off panels and M256 120 mm smoothbore cannon (4,976 built for the U.S. Army, 221 for USMC, 755 for Egypt, 59 M1A1 AIM SA sold to Australia).
- M1A1 AIM (Abrams Integrated Management): A program whereby older units are reconditioned to zero hour conditions; and the tank is improved by adding Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and Far Target Locate sensors, a tank-infantry phone, communications gear, including FBCB2 and Blue Force Tracking, to aid in crew situational awareness, and a thermal sight for the .50 caliber machine gun. General Dynamics has been awarded contracts by the U.S. Army to supply this variant.
- M1A1 SA (Situational Awareness): Upgrades similar to AIM tanks + new 3rd generation depleted uranium armor components.
- M1A2: Production began in 1992 (77 built for the US and more than 600 M1s upgraded to M1A2, 315 for Saudi Arabia, 218 for Kuwait). The M1A2 offers the tank commander an independent thermal sight and ability to, in rapid sequence, shoot at two targets without the need to acquire each one sequentially, also 2nd generation depleted uranium armor component.
- 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: Added Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station as standard, color displays, improved interfaces, a new operating system, improved front and side armor with ERA (TUSK kit), tank-infantry phone as standard, and an upgraded transmission for better durability.
- M1A2 SEP V3: a modernized version of the M1A2 SEPV V2 main battle tank which has a number of upgrades in the areas of survivability, maintainability, full efficiency and network capability. In October 2015, the M1A2 SP V3 was presented for the first time at AUSA, defense exhibition in Washington D.C.
- M1A2 SEP V4: will be upgraded with many equipment as a new laser rangefinder, color cameras, integrated on-board networks, new slip-rings, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers and a far more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round.
- M1 Grizzly Combat Mobility Vehicle (CMV): This has been designed to clear minefields, neutralise obstacles, demolish berms and fill in anti-tank ditches for highly mobile forces.
- M1 Panther II Mine Clearing Vehicle: a specialized mine detection and clearing vehicle, based on the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Turret was replaced with a small superstructure. Two arms were mounted at the front for mine rollers or mine plough attachments.
- M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge: consists of an MLC 70 (Military Load Class) horizontally launched bridge integrated onto a modified M1 MBT chassis. When opened out, the bridge is 26 m long and can be used to span gaps of up to 24 m.
- M1 ABV Assault Breacher Vehicle: Assault variant for the USMC. Based upon the M1A1 Abrams chassis, the Assault Breacher Vehicle has a variety of systems installed, such as a full-width mine plow, two linear demolition charges, and a lane-marking system. Reactive armor has been fitted to the vehicle providing additional protection against HEAT-based weapons. The turret has been replaced by a new smaller one with two MICLIC launchers at its rear. A M2HB .50 machine gun in a remote weapons station is mounted on the commander's cupola and a bank of grenade launchers are fitted to each side of the superstructure to cover the frontal arc are provided for self-protection
The main armament of the M1 Abrams consists of a M68A1 105 mm rifled tank gun which can fired a variety of ammunitions as high explosive anti-tank, high explosive, white phosphorus and an anti-personnel (multiple flechette) round. The turret is stabilised in azimuth with a gyro reticle compensation (gyroscope) drive to keep the aim point on target in deflection. A 7.62mm coaxial machine is mounted to the right side of the main armament and a similar weapon is mounted on the left side of the turret for the loader which can be elevated from -30 to +65º, total traverse being 265º. As secondary armament, a 12.7mm machine gun is mounted in front of the commander's hatch. This weapon has powered and manual controls for traverse and manual controls for elevation. The 12.7 mm machine gun has electric power traverse and can be aimed and fired from within the turret. Mounted on either side of the turret is a British-designed (L8A1) six-barrelled smoke grenade discharger designated the M250.
|Design and protection|
The M1 Abrams hull and turret was made based on advanced armour construction similar to the Chobham armour developed in the UK and gives protection against ATGWs (Anti-Tank Guided Weapons) and other battlefield weapons. Chobham armour is the name informally given to a composite armour developed in the 1960s at the British tank research centre on Chobham Common, Surrey, England. The driver is seated at the front of the vehicle in the centre and operates the vehicle from a semi-reclining position when driving with the hatch closed. The commander and gunner are seated on the right of the turret and the loader on the left.
|The M1 Abrams is motorized with a Textron Lycoming AGT 1500 gas turbine developing 1,500 hp at 30,000 rpm coupled to an Allison automatic transmission X-1100-3B with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. The M1 Abrams uses a torsion bar suspension with seven road wheels and shock-absorbers at the first, second and seventh roadwheel stations. The top of the suspension is protected by vertical armoured skirts which hinge outwards to allow access to the suspension for maintenance. The drive sprocket is at the rear with the idler at the front and there are two return rollers.|
|The commander hatch is equipped with six day periscopes which cover 360º, as well as a day sight with a magnification. The gunner has a primary sight (GPS) with dual day optics with a magnification of ×10 (narrow field of view), magnification of ×3 (wide field of view), close-in surveillance magnification of ×1 and an 18º field of view, thermal imaging night vision optics with a magnification of ×10 (narrow field of view), magnification of ×3 (wide field of view), sight stabilisation in elevation and a Raytheon Systems Company laser range-finder. The M1 Abrams is equipped with a fire-control system including laser range-finder, full-solution solid-state digital computer supplied by General Dynamics Canada and stabilised day/thermal night sight.|
|One 105mm gun, one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, one 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine||Chobham armour|
|United States||55,000 kg|
|United States||67 km/h|
|Fire control system, NBC protection system, night vision,||426|
|4||Length: 7.91 m; Width: 3.65 m; Height: 2.88 m|
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