The US Military unveiled new multi purpose munitions to give more power to the M1 Abrams Tank.The M1 Abrams is an American third-generation main battle tank. It is named after General Creighton Abrams. Highly mobile, designed for modern armored ground warfare, the M1 is well armed and heavily armored. Notable features include the use of a powerful multifuel turbine engine, the adoption of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety. Weighing nearly 68 short tons (almost 62 metric tons), it is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service.
The M1 Abrams entered U.S. service in 1980, ultimately replacing the M60 tank. The M1 is the main battle tank of the United States Army and Marine Corps, and the armies of Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Iraq.
Three main versions of the M1 Abrams have been deployed, the M1, M1A1, and M1A2, incorporating improved armament, protection, and electronics. These improvements and other upgrades to in-service tanks have allowed this long-serving vehicle to remain in front-line service. In addition, development of the improved M1A3 version was first publicly disclosed in 2009. Extensive improvements have been implemeted to the latest M1A2 SEPv3 version.
Main article: History of the M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams was developed during the Cold War as a successor to the canceled MBT-70. The M1 Abrams contract went to Chrysler Defense and was the first vehicle to adopt Chobham armor. Adaptations before the Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm) gave the vehicle better firepower and NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protection. Being vastly superior to Iraqi tanks, very few M1 tanks were hit by enemy fire. Upgrades after the war improved the tank’s weapons sights and fire control unit. The Abrams participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, exposing vulnerabilities in urban combat that were addressed with the Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK) modifications (armor upgrades and a gun shield). The Marine Corps sent a company of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan in 2010.
The first attempt to replace the M60 tank, which was introduced in 1960, was the MBT-70, developed in partnership with West Germany in the 1960s. The MBT-70 project, which attained testing readiness in 1968, had advanced features such as a height-adjustable air suspension and a very low-profile chassis with the driver located in the turret. The MBT-70 ultimately proved to be too heavy, complex, and expensive. As a result of the imminent failure of this project, the U.S. Army introduced the XM803, using some technologies from the MBT-70 but removing some of the more troublesome features. This succeeded only in producing an expensive system with capabilities similar to the M60.
An XM1 Abrams, during a demonstration at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1979
Congress canceled the MBT-70 in November and XM803 December 1971, and redistributed the funds to the new XM815, later renamed the XM1 Abrams after General Creighton Abrams. Prototypes were delivered in 1976 by Chrysler Defense and General Motors armed with the license-built version of the 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun along with a Leopard 2 for comparison. The turbine-powered Chrysler Defense design was selected for development as the M1; Chrysler had significant experience designing turbine-powered land vehicles going back to the 1950s. In February 1982, General Dynamics Land Systems Division (GDLS) purchased Chrysler Defense, after Chrysler built over 1,000 M1s.