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  • M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT)

    Despite origins reaching back some three decades, the M1 Abrams remains a proven frontline performer for the American military and others.

     Updated: 6/22/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The M1 Abrams was designed by Chrysler Defense and produced under the General Dynamics brand. The tank was introduced in 1979, entered service in 1980 and is still undergoing production. The system has been featured in the 1991 Gulf War and Bosnia along with the US invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Along with the United States, operators of the Abrams include Australia, Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. As of this writing, roughly 8,800 Abrams have been produced in all its varied forms. In US military operations, the Abrams currently serves with both the US Army and the US Marine Corps.

    The origins of the M1 Abrams can be traced back to a failed partnership between the United States and West Germany in producing a new generation main battle tank system with the latest capabilities to combat whatever the Soviets were brewing (this turned out to be the T-72). The US Army was then fielding the M60 Patton series (its own origins lay in the World War 2-era M26 Pershing heavy tank) as their main battle tank and it was largely believed that the T-72 would outclass the Patton as soon as it arrived - likewise for the West Germans and their post-war Leopard 1 main battle tanks. The joint design became known as the MBT-70.

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    M1 Abrams Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1980
    Type: Main Battle Tank (MBT)
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): General Dynamics Land Systems - USA
    Production: 10,000

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 4
    Length: 32.25 feet (9.83 meters)
    Width: 11.98 feet (3.65 meters)
    Height: 9.45 feet (2.88 meters)

    Operating Weight: 70 tons (63,086 kg; 139,081 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: Yes
    Nightvision Equipment: Yes - Passive

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Textron Lycoming AGT-1500 gas-turbine developing 1,500 horsepower.

    Maximum Road Speed: 42 mph (67 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 265 miles (426 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    ORIGINAL (M1):
    1 x 105mm Royal Ordnance M68A1 (L7) rifled main gun.
    1 x 12.7mm Browning M1HB air-cooled anti-aircraft heavy machine gun in commander's cupola.
    1 x 7.62mm M240 co-axial machine gun
    1 x 7.62mm M240 machine gun at loader's hatch
    2 x 6 smoke grenade dischargers

    STANDARD (M1A1/M1A2):
    1 x 120mm Rheinmetall M256A1 (L/44) smoothbore main gun.
    1 x 12.7mm Browning M1HB air-cooled anti-aircraft heavy machine gun in commander's cupola.
    1 x 7.62mm M240 co-axial machine gun
    1 x 7.62mm M240 machine gun at loader's hatch
    2 x 6 smoke grenade dischargers

    40 x 120mm projectiles
    1,000 x 12.7mm ammunition
    12,400 x 7.62mm ammunition
    12 x smoke grenades

    Global Operators / Customers

    Australia; Egypt; Kuwait; Iraq; Morocco; Saudi Arabia; United States

    Model Variants

    XM1 - Prototype Model Designation.

    M1 - Base Production Model; 105mm rifled M68 main gun; 3,273 examples produced.

    M1IP ("Improvement Production") - 105mm rifled M68 main gun; various upgrades.

    M1A1 - Upgraded from Royal Ordnance rifled 105mm main gun to Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm main gun; armor upgrade package; decreased road speed to 41.5 mph.

    M1A1HC ("Heavy Common") - Based on M1A1; fitted with depleted uranium armor mesh; improved storage; 120mm smoothbore main gun; pressurized NBC protection system.

    M1A1-D ("Digital") - Based on M1A1HC; highly-evolved Abrams fitted with digital suite.

    M1A1-AIM ("Abrams Integrated Management") - Based on the M1A1-D; reconditioned former Abrams units; fitted with FLIR and various other sensors; onboard phone system and applicable communications; thermal sight for commander's 12.7mm gun.

    M1A1 KVT ("Krasnovian Variant Tank") - M1A1 models designed to mimic the look of Soviet-era tanks for training purposes.

    M1A1M - Iraqi Export Model; based on the M1A1.

    M1A2 - Land navigation system, new commander's Independent Thermal Viewer and new armor.

    M1A2 SEP ("System Enhancement Package") - Improved Road Speed to 42mph; increased combat weight to 69.5 tons; improved depleted uranium armor protection utilizing graphite.

    M1A1SA - Moroccan Army designation

    M1A1/M1A2 "Grizzly" CMV ("Combat Mobility Vehicle") - Dozer-fitted for Battlefield Engineering Vehicle assignments; not adopted.

    M1A3 - Proposed modernized M1A2; lighter overall weight; new lightweight main gun; development scheduled for 2020.

    M1 "Panther II" - Remote-Controlled Mine Clearing Vehicle

    M1 "Panther II" - Mine Clearing Vehicle variant with Blade/Roller System .

    M104 "Wolverine" HAB ("Heavy Assault Bridge")- Bridgelayer based on M1 chassis.

    M1 ABV ("Assault Breacher Vehicle") - Prototype Stage for ultimate use by the US Marines

    M1 ARV ("Armored Recovery Vehicle") - Single Proposed Prototype