Profile
Chrysler
M1 Abrams
Following its resounding success in the Gulf and Iraq wars, the M1 Abrams has established itself as one of the most successful tanks of all time. It was originally developed in the early 1970s following the failure of the US-West German MBT-70 project. Designed to counter the latest generation of Soviet armor, it boasted feature that are now standard in Western third generation tanks, such as advanced composite armor (it was the first tank to use British-developed Chobham armor), a large angled turret with blow-out panels for the ammunition compartment, and a powerful gun capable of firing a variety of US and NATO ammunition, including depleted uranium rounds. It also featured a gas turbine which gave the 70-ton vehicle outstanding speed and a large power-to-weight ratio. The M1 has been gradually evolved since its introduction in 1980, most notably by adopting the Rheinmetall 120-mm gun which is also standard on the Leopard 2 as well as adding depleted uranium to its already formidable armor. The M1 was first put to the test in the 1991 Gulf War where nearly 2,000 served. None was lost to enemy action, being practically invulnerable to the Iraqi T-72s which in turn were easily destroyed thanks to the M1's "Silver Bullet" M829A1 DU round. The story subsequently repeated itself during the Iraq War as the tank was tested even further in urban combat. Despite its performance, the M1 has had only modest export success (particularly compared with its rival, the Leopard 2), having received no NATO orders but serving with the militaries of Australia, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt which has received over 1,000 units.

The XM1 program began in 1971 and prototypes from Chrysler and Detroit Diesel were tested out in 1976, with the former winning the contract of what became the M1. These featured the British 105-mm L7 rifled gun, the same fitted on the M60. Additional frontal armor was provided in the Improved M1 (IPM1) but production soon switched to the M1A1 which was the first to be equipped with the now standard Rheinmetall 120-mm gun (produced locally as the M256). This also featured a new NBC system as well as numerous automotive and equipment upgrades, and was the main variant to serve in the 1991 Gulf War. Some of these received additional depleted uranium armor and were known as the M1A1 HA. Shortly thereafter, production began on the M1A2, which featured further armor protection as well as a myriad of equipment and electronic upgrades, including GPS navigation as well as an inter-vehicle information system. Most M1A1s have seen been brought up to A2 standards (standardization of M1 variants is undertaken as part of the M1A2 SEP program), and despite not being used during the initial combat phase of the Iraq war, has been the mainstay of US forces in the theater since. Prototypes of the M1A3 are expected in 2014 with service entry later in the decade. Non-combat versions include the M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge (HAB), and the M1 ABV (Assault Breacher Vehicle) for use by the US Marines.

M1 Abrams
Datafile
/tr>
DesignM1M1A1M1A2M1A2 SEP
NameAbramsAbramsAbramsAbrams
Code Name----
TypeMain Battle TankMain Battle TankMain Battle TankMain Battle Tank
Year1980198519922001
Crew4444
105-mm (L/52)
M68
Rifled
120-mm (L/44)
M256
Smoothbore
120-mm (L/44)
M256
Smoothbore
120-mm (L/44)
M256
Smoothbore
Traverse360°360°360°360°
Elevation-10° / 20°-10° / 20°-10° / 20°-10° / 20°
Penetration440 mm @ 2 km610 mm @ 2 km730 mm @ 2 km765 mm @ 2 km
Rounds55404040
1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
1 x 7.62-mm (c)
1 x 12.7-mm
1 x 7.62-mm
Length Overall9.77 m9.83 m9.83 m9.83 m
Length7.92 m7.92 m7.92 m7.92 m
Width3.66 m3.66 m3.66 m3.66 m
Height2.38 m2.44 m2.44 m2.44 m
Loaded54,545 kg57,154 kg63,086 kg63,000 kg
Ground Pressure0.96 kg/cm²1.05 kg/cm²1.08 kg/cm²1.08 kg/cm²
Power/Weight27.50 hp/t26.24 hp/t23.78 hp/t23.81 hp/t
SuspensionTorsion barTorsion barTorsion barTorsion bar
Engine1 x 1,500hp
Textron Lycoming
AGT 1500
1 x 1,500hp
Textron Lycoming
AGT 1500
1 x 1,500hp
Textron Lycoming
AGT 1500
1 x 1,500hp
Textron Lycoming
AGT 1500
FuelGas turbineGas turbineGas turbineGas turbine
Range498 km426 km426 km426 km
Speed48 / 72 km/h48 / 68 km/h48 / 68 km/h48 / 68 km/h
AmphibiousNoNoNoNo
Fording1.22 m (2.0 m)1.22 m (2.0 m)1.22 m (2.0 m)1.22 m (2.0 m)
Vertical Obstacle1.07 m1.07 m1.07 m1.07 m
Trench2.74 m2.74 m2.74 m2.74 m
Gradient60%60%60%60%
ArmorChobhamChobham/DUChobham/DUChobham/DU
Thickness0 - 400 mm0 - 490 mm0 - 900 mm0 - 960 mm
Max Effective400 - 400 mm RHAe450 - 490 mm RHAe650 - 900 mm RHAe650 - 960 mm RHAe
Hull Upper Front400 mm490 mm590 mm590 mm
Hull Lower Front-470 mm650 mm650 mm
Turret Front400 mm450 mm900 mm960 mm
Production2,6744,7961,547940
Total10,520
Gallery