"M1 Tank" redirects here. For the early 20th Century light tank, see M1 Combat Car
M1A2 Abrams with prototype TUSK
equipment and Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS),
with 0.50 caliber machine gun at the commander's station
||Main battle tank
|Place of origin
||See Operators below
||Persian Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
War on ISIL
Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
||Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems)
||Lima Army Tank Plant (since 1980)
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant(1982–1996)
||US$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99)Estimated in 2016 as US$8.92 million (with inflation adjustment)
||M1: 60 short tons (54 t)
M1A1: 63 short tons (57 t)
M1A2: 72 short tons (65 t)
||Gun forward: 32.04 ft (9.77 m)
Hull length: 26.02 ft (7.93 m)
||12 ft (3.66 m)
||8 ft (2.44 m)
||4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)
M1, M1A1: Burlington composite armor
M1A1HA, M1A2: depleted uranium mesh-reinforced composite armor
- M1: Hull & turret –
350 mm / 470 mm vsAPFSDS,
650 mm / 700 mm vsHEAT
- M1A1: Hull & turret –
600 mm vs APFSDS,
700 mm vs HEAT
- M1A1HA: Hull –
600 mm vs APFSDS,
700 mm vs HEAT,
600 mm / 800 mm vs APFSDS,
1,300 mm vs HEAT[nb 1]
|M1: 105 mm L/52 M68 rifled gun (55 rounds)
M1A1: 120 mm L/44 M256A1smoothbore gun (40 rounds)
M1A2: 120 mm L/44 M256A1smoothbore gun (42 rounds)
|1 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2HBheavy machine gun with 900 rounds
2 × 7.62 mm (.308 in) M240machine guns with 10,400 rounds (1 pintle-mounted, 1coaxial)
||Honeywell AGT1500C multi-fuelturbine engine
1,500 shp (1,120 kW)
||From 26.9 hp/t (20.05 kW/t) to 23.8 hp/t (17.74 kW/t)
||Allison DDA X-1100-3B
||High-hardness-steel torsion barswith rotary shock absorbers
||M1, M1A1: 0.48 m (1 ft 7 in)
M1A2: 0.43 m (1 ft 5 in)
||500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal)
|M1A2: 426 km (265 mi)
||M1A1: Road 45 mph (72 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 30 mph (48 km/h)
M1A2: Road 42 mph (67 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 25 mph (40 km/h)
The M1 Abrams is an American third-generation main battle tank. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army chief of staff and commander of United States military forces in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972. 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 turbineengine, 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, replacing the M60 tank. It served for over a decade alongside the improved M60A3. The M1 remains the principal 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 for the improved M1A3 version has been known since 2009.
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 invasion of Iraq in 2003 destroyed Iraq's military. Vulnerabilities in urban combat were addressed with the TUSK modification. The Marine Corps sent a company of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan in late 2010.
The first attempt to replace the aging M60 tank was the MBT-70, developed in partnership with West Germany in the 1960s. The MBT-70 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 March 1982, General Dynamics Land Systems Division (GDLS) purchased Chrysler Defense, after Chrysler built over 1,000 M1s.
A total of 3,273 M1 Abrams tanks were produced 1979–85 and first entered U.S. Army service in 1980. Production at the government-owned, GDLS-operatedLima Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio, was joined by vehicles built at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren, Michigan from 1982 to 1996. The M1 was armed with the license-built version of the 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun. An improved model called the M1IP was produced briefly in 1984 and contained small upgrades. The M1IP models were used in the Canadian Army Trophy NATO tank gunnery competition in 1985 and 1987.
105-mm M1 Abrams tank of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Grafenwöhr Training Area in Germany, 1986
About 5,000 M1A1 Abrams tanks were produced from 1986–92 and featured the M256 120 mm (4.7 in) smoothborecannon developed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany for the Leopard 2, improved armor, and a CBRN protection system. Production of M1 and M1A1 tanks totaled some 9,000 tanks at a cost of approximately $4.3 million per unit. By 1999, costs for the tank were upwards ofUS$5 million a vehicle.
In 1990, Project on Government Oversight in a report criticized the M1's high costs and low fuel efficiency in comparison with other tanks of similar power and effectiveness such as the Leopard 2. The report was based on data from U.S. Army sources and the Congressional record.
As the Abrams entered service in the 1980s, they operated alongside M60A3 within the United States military, and with other NATO tanks in numerous Cold War exercises. These exercises usually took place in Western Europe, especially West Germany, but also in some other countries, including South Korea. The exercises were aimed at countering Soviet forces. However, by January 1991 the Berlin Wall had fallen and the Abrams was instead deployed in the Middle East.