The Abrams tank closes with and destroys enemy forces on the integrated battlefield using mobility, firepower, and shock effect. The purpose of this vehicle is to provide mobile firepower for armored formations of sufficient capability to successfully close with and destroy any opposing armored fighting vehicle in the world, while providing protection for it’s crew in any conceivable combat environment.
It is capable of engaging the enemy in any weather, day or night on the multi-dimensional, non-linear battlefield using its firepower, maneuver, and shock effect. The Abrams Tank System synchronizes its high tempo, distributed maneuver via its digitized situational awareness and the fusion of onboard and remote battlefield sensors.
That being said, here are 5 Things You May Not Know About the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank.
1. The M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) is named after the late General Creighton W. Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and commander of the 37th Armored Battalion. Almost every single US Army Tank has been named after a famous US Army General. I.E. The Sherman, The Patton, The Bradley, The Pershing, etc.
2. Three versions of the Abrams tank are currently in service the original M1 model and two newer versions, designated M1A1 and M1A2. The M1A1 series, produced from 1985 through 1993, replaced the M1’s 105mm main gun with a 120mm gun and incorporated numerous other enhancements, including an improved suspension, a new turret, increased armor protection, and a nuclear-chemical-biological protection system. The newer M1A2 series includes all of the M1A1 features plus a commander’s independent thermal viewer, an independent commander’s weapon station, position navigation equipment, and a digital data bus and radio interface unit providing a common picture among M1A2s on the battlefield.
3. Despite weighing about 72 ton, the M1A2 can reach speeds exceeding 45 MPH! The M1 series tank is equipped with a 1500 horsepower Lycoming Textron gas turbine engine coupled to an Allison hydrokinetic transmission with four forward and two reverse gears.
4. The Abrams remained untested for over 10 years. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, there were concerns that the Abrams would fall victim to the sand and long months of continuous operation without the luxury of peacetime maintenance facilities. There were also doubts about the combat survivability of the extensive turret electronics. The Iraqi Army had a considerable array of tanks, mostly purchased from the former Soviet Union. Chief among these were T-72’s. These modern Soviet tanks were armed with an excellent 125mm smoothbore weapon and had many of the same advanced features found on the Abrams. Despite it’s advanced design, the T-72 proved to be inferior to the M1A1’s deployed during the Gulf War. This led to further confidence and development of the M1A2 MBT.
5. When we say, “One Shot, One Kill”…we mean it! The fire control system of the M1A2 Abrams is one of the most technically advanced pieces of equipment in our modern Army. Every time a gunner acquires a target in their sights, which by themselves are highly advanced thermal sights, and uses their FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Laser) to input a range, a ballistic solution is calculated. The fire control system is like your Physics professor on steroids…taking into consideration the speed of the target, the wind speed, temperature, humidity, speed of your platform, cant barometric pressure, the trajectory of the specific round it is firing…basically any variable that could affect the round and COMPENSATES FOR IT! Your gunner may be looking through his sights and be looking straight, but the gun tube is physically on an angle, to ensure the round hits the target. One shot…one kill! Coupled with that is the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) which provides a hunter killer capability. Basically, the TC (Tank Commander) is able to search for targets independently of the gunner and once he finds a target…BOOM, he can designate the gunner to that target and continue his scan…or engage the target from his position.
***** Watch this video of the M1 tank in action to see what I am talking about.
Final Thoughts: The M1 Abrams Tank is a fantastic fighting machine! If you’ve ever worked on a tank crew or have experience with the Abrams tank, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment to share your story.