Main Battle Tank
Using Service (US):
Army and Marine Corps (USMC)
Vehicles are being upgraded and modified
The General Dynamics
M1 Abrams is the U.S. Army's main battle tank. The tank is powered by a single Honeywell
AGT1500 gas turbine engine with 1,500 hp. The M1, named after General Creighton Abrams,
first entered service in 1980 and was produced for the U.S. Army from 1978 until 1992.
The M1A1 entered production in 1985 followed by the the M1A2 in 1986.
Since then, the Army has modernized its M1 inventory with a series of upgrades to improve the tank's capabilities.
More information about the Abrams upgrade/modification programs following below.
In total, 8,367 (3,273x M1 + 5,017x M1A1 + 77x M1A2) Abrams tanks were produced for the U.S. military. Foreign users include Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
The M1 Abrams has a crew of four: driver, commander, gunner, and ammunition loader. The driver sits at the front of the tank inside the hull, while the commander stands inside the rotating turret. The gunner sits at his feet. Armored bulkheads separate the fuel tanks from the crew compartment.
The M1 is equipped with a laser range finder from Litton (now Northrop Grumman), which detects the targets position. The onboard fire control computer detects the elevation and angle of the gun + velocity. The Abrams can hit up to six targets per minute at distances of up to 2.5 miles (4 km) away. The M1A1 is fitted with steel encased depleted uranium armor.
Abrams tanks can be fitted with TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit), which is a series of improvements to the M1 Abrams intended to improve the vehicle's fighting ability in urban environments. Historically, urban and other close battlefields have proven to be the worst place for tanks to fight. TUSK provides add-on reactive armor tiles to protect against RRPGs and other shaped charge warheads. Also, a Transparent Armor Gun Shield (TAGS) and a thermal sight system are added to the loader's top-mounted M240 7.62 mm machine gun as well as a remote weapon turret from Kongsberg Gruppen carrying a .50 caliber machine gun is in place of the tank commander's original .50 caliber machine gun mount. Other TUSK equipment include a tank infantry phone (TIP), which is an exterior telephone that allows supporting infantry to communicate with the tank commander. The TUSK is a field-installable kit that allows tanks to be easily upgraded. TUSK entered service on M1A1/M1A2 tanks in 2007.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) M1 Abrams tank modernization effort supports two Abrams variants, the M1A1 Situational Awareness (SA) and the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP). The M1A1 SA modernization provides steel encased depleted uranium for increased frontal and turret side armor protection; suspension improvements; an advanced computer system with embedded diagnostics; a second generation thermal sensor; and a laser rangefinder to designate targets from increased distances. The M1A2 Abrams SEP modernization installs an independent thermal weapons station; position navigation equipment; improved fire control system; improved frontal and side armor for enhanced crew survivability; an upgraded transmission for improved automotive reliability and durability; and an improved AGT1500 engine.
During operation Desert Storm, 2,000 M1 Abrams tanks were used. The M1 proved vastly superior and not a single tank was destroyed by enemy fire.
The M1A2 Abrams is equipped with a 120mm XM256 smooth bore cannon (main gun) from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition, two M240 7.62mm machine guns, and a single M2 Browning .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine gun for the tank commander. For more detail, see specifications at the end of this page.
The M1A2 Abrams serves as the U.S. Army's main battle tank and provides mobile and protected firepower for battlefield superiority against heavy armor forces.
The DoD provides $436.3 million to purchase 63 M1A2 Abrams SEP Upgrade Vehicles for the U.S. Army including
the 1st Armor Division.
Also, FY 2012 provides $160.6 million in modification funds for the fielding of the Blue Force Tracking relocation; ammo rack installation kits; Commander's Remote Operating Weapon System (CROWS) II A Kit with Universal Display Interface Module; and many other new improvements.
FY2013 Base procurement dollars in the amount of $74.4 million supports contractor System Technical Support
and Total Package Fielding/New Equipment Training requirements for the final
M1A2 SEP V2 production. The M1A2 SEP V2 has improved frontal and side armor for enhanced crew survivability.
The M1A2 SEP is also equipped with the total integrated revitalization (TIGER) engine and
upgraded transmission for improved automotive reliability and durability. For more information, click to see the
Complete FY 2013 M1 Abrams Upgrade Budget.
Also, FY 2013 provides $129.1 million for vehicle modifications. The program applies Materiel Developer and Combat Developer approved modifications to the fielded Abrams family of vehicles. Common Abrams modifications included Thermal Management System Upgrades, Vehicle Health Management, Power Train Improvement & Integration Optimization Program (i.e. Total Integrated Engine Revitalization (TIGER) and Transmission Enterprise) which provide more reliability, durability and a single standard for the vehicle's power train and Blue Force Tracking. Survivability improvements include Frontal Armor upgrades. Key safety improvements included the loaders tray modification, ammunition rack upgrades, Autoflug weldments, Counter Sniper Anti-Material Mount (CSAAM) weldments, headrest brackets, and Rear View Sensing System (RVSS). For more information, click to see the Complete FY 2013 M1 Modification Budget.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), General Dynamics, and Honeywell.
Last Update: May 17, 2013.
By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (email@example.com)
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M1 Abrams U.S. Defense Budget Charts:
Primary Function: Main battle tank