The M1 Abrams main battle tank has been the mainstay of the U.S. Army’s armor branch for more than thirty years.
Heavily armored, powered by a gas turbine engine and equipped with a powerful 120-millimeter gun, the M1 has proven an adaptable tank capable of fighting from the rolling hills of southern Germany to the deserts of Iraq. And yet, the tank appeared to be a failure at first, caught in a tug-of-war while competing with varied interests that threatened to sink the project completely.
A highly mobile third-generation main battle tank (MBT), the M1 Abrams is a well armed and heavily armored MBT designed for modern armored ground warfare. Included among the most notable features is the use of a powerful multi-fuel turbine engine, as well as the adoption of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety.
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Weighing nearly 68 short tons, it is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service, not to mention one of the heavyweights in every sense of the term.
Named after former Army Chief of Staff and commander of the 37th Armored Battalion late General Creighton W. Abrams, the M1 is the spine of not only the U.S. military, but also of several other countries. It is capable of functioning in any weather and on any kind of battlefield.
Production of the M1 first began in 1979, and has been used in some of the most epic battles in modern times, including the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Iraqi Civil War, and the intervention of Yemen by Saudi Arabia. General Dynamics (Land Systems Division) is the manufacturer of the tank.
Even though the M1 for years was considered the best in its class, it has had to shed its invincible reputation in recent times when modern tanks like the German Leopard 2, the British Challenger 2, the French Leclerc, which possess similar weight, power, and protection levels exist. The most recent challenge for the M1 is the Russian T-14 Armata tank. However, America has more M1’s than they have of those tanks. Combine that with other weaponry in the armored divisions of the United States Army, and America is easily still on top.
The M1 Abrams weighs 60 tons, and is 384.5 inches in length, while the M1A1 and M1A2 weigh 63 and 69.4 tons respectively, as well as a length of 387 inches. The maximum speed of the Abrams tanks is 45mph for the M1, and 42mph for the M1A1 and M1A2.