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. 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 M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) is a successor to the M1A2. It is also an upgrade package for the older Abrams tanks. It has improved armor protection, improved system components, improved computer components, and some other improvements. First upgraded tank was delivered in 1999. A total of 240 M1A2 SEP tanks were newly built. Another 300 M1A2 tanks were upgraded to M1A2 SEP standard. Furthermore 400 oldest M1A1 tanks were upgraded to M1A2 SEP. Also unknown number of the basic refurbished M1 tanks were upgraded to this standard. So the US military operates at least 900 main battle tanks upgraded to this standard. It is the backbone of the US military armored forces. This tank has not been exported. It is planned that the fleet of refurbished and upgraded M1A1 tanks will remain with the US military service until at least 2021. The M1A2 tanks will remain in service beyond 2050. The M1A2 SEP is one of the best main battle tanks in the world. It has incredible technology and armor. Upgraded tanks are slightly heavier than the baseline M1A2. The baseline M1A2 tank uses advanced armor, reinforced with depleted uranium layers. The M1A2 SEP has a further upgraded depleted uranium armor components with graphite coating. Protection of this MBT is considered as one of the best in the world. The M1A2 SEP has significant level of protection against all known anti-tank weapons. It can also employ counter-IED equipment. Protection can be further increased with add-on explosive reactive armor. The tank is armed with the same 120-mm M256 smoothbore gun as its predecessor. Range of effective fire is in excess of 4 km. It can fire the M829A3 APFSDS rounds with depleted uranium penetrator and M1028 canister rounds that discharges massive blast of tungsten fragments at muzzle exit. This round has devastating lethality against assaulting infantry between a range of 200-500 meters. Ammunition for the main gun is stored in the turret bustle, fitted with blow-out panels. The SEPv2 (version 2) added CROWS or CROWS 2 remotely operated weapon station, armed with a 12.7-mm machine gun. This weapon can be fired from inside of the tank without exposing the crew to enemy fire. Also there are two 7.62-mm machine guns. One of them is mounted coaxially with the main gun. The other is mounted on top of the roof and is operated by the gunner. The SEPv3 (version 3) was publicly revealed in 2015. Today it is the most modern version of the Abrams tank. It has a number of upgrades in the area of survivability, maintainability, fuel efficiency, and network capabilities. Main survivability upgrades are the new armor package and improved anti-IED capability. Testing of this upgraded tank is planned to be completed in 2016. The SEPv3 should be delivered to the US Army starting in 2017. The M1A2 SEP has a more advanced fire control system with upgraded ballistic computer. Both the gunner’s sight and commander’s independent thermal viewer use new 2nd generation FLIR technology and have improved thermal imaging and night vision capabilities. Commander and gunner can designate and track multiple targets simultaneously. This gives the tank a hunter-killer engagement capability. This tank is fitted with a digital battlefield management system. It allows commanders to track friendly and hostile forces on the battlefield. This system is near real-time based. Locations of friendly vehicles are constantly updated. This system increases vehicle commander’s situational awareness. This tank is operated by a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.
Seven platoons from 6 NATO nations (Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and the United States) are participating in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany May 10-13, 2016. The competition is designed to foster military partnership, build esprit de corps and promote interoperability with NATO nations. This is footage from the first day of the event. Denmark and Poland have the Leopard 2A5, Germany the Leopard 2A6, Italy the Ariete, Slovenia the M-84 and U.S. M1A2 Abrams.
In February 1972 a working group was formed at Fort Knox, to design the new battle tank MBT (in English: Main Battle Tank, main battle tank). The objectives for this new tank were, among others, in order of importance, the crew safety, the possibility of direct hit on the first shot, the speed to acquire and hit the target, the country mobility the integration of a secondary armament, equipment safety, the potential for further development and ease of transport. The army of the United States asked prototypes to General Motors and Chrysler. This competition was intended to provide the best solutions to lower costs. The new battle tank was originally named XM 815. In October 1973 took place the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. It was then necessary to include in the draft XM 815 all the lessons learned from this conflict. One of the major new features in this war was the wide use of AT-3 anti-tank missiles and rocket launchers RPG-7 anti-tank of Soviet origin. However, the most important lesson of this war is the battle tank remained the dominant weapon on the battlefield. It revived the project of the new American tank renamed XM-1.
General Motors and Chrysler continued to work on their prototype, incorporating the shield Burlington. The first copies for the validation phase appeared between January and May 1976. Finally, November 12, 1976, Chrysler was declared holder for the development of the project. The first prototypes (XM-1) rolled in February 1978 and production in small quantities XM 1 began on May 7, 1979. The first production tank was produced in February 1980 in Lima Arsenal Tank Plant. In February 1981, its large scale production was accepted and was given the name battle tank cannon 105 mmNote 1 “M1 Abrams” in honor of the battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division during World War II and then Chief Staff of the US Army in 1972, Creighton Abrams, one of the strongest supporters of the project XM 1. in 1982, the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant also began producing this chariot.
The first phase in the evolution of M1 was the contribution of canon 105 improved. The second was the installation of a simplified version of the Rheinmetall 120 mm gun German, which led to the M1A1 release in August 1984. In October 1988, appeared a new version, the M1A1 HA (English: “Heavy Armor “heavy armor), which incorporated a special shielding layer of depleted uranium mesh to double the protection against shell types HOOF or APFSDS (for Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot Fin-Stabilized). He then began to be replaced on the assembly lines of Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant and Arsenal Tank Plant Lima in 1985 with improved versions. Between 1986 and 1990, 840 tanks were produced annually in the United States Army, and between 1991 and 1992 it was produced 691 copies for the Marine Corps
The T-72M2 Moderna is a Slovakian upgrade of the Soviet T-72 main battle tank. The T-72M was license-produced in the former Czechoslovakia. First prototype of the T-72M2 Moderna was revealed in 1993. Development of this tank is completed. Indigenous tank design, based on the Russian T-72M1, with new night vision and thermal devices, improved armour (up to 650 mm) and anti-radiation cladding, rubber side skirts, C4I and IR suppression coating.
The T-72M2 Moderna has improved protection. The tank is fitted with DYNAS explosive reactive armor. The second prototype is fitted with a cage armor that provides protection against RPG rounds. The tank has a laser warning receiver. It notifies when the tank is illuminated by a laser beam and identifies direction of the threat. Then smoke grenades can be discharged to hide the tank. The tank is fitted with new automatic fire suppression system.
The tank is fitted with a modernized 2A45MS 125-mm smoothbore gun. The gun is fitted with an autoloader.
In the 1990s Czech MoD issued request for a substantial modernization program of the ageing T-72 tanks. One of the requirements was improved overall protection, and improved protection against NBC threats. Two prototypes, the T-72M3 and T-72M4 were completed to meet requirements of this upgrade program.
The T-72M4 has improved armor protection. The tank is fitted with composite armor and new Polish DYNA explosive reactive armor. It provides protection against HEAT, APFSDS and HESH rounds. The T-72M4 is fitted with mine protection system, that neutralizes mines with magnetic fuse. This tank is fitted with new German automatic fire suppression system. It also has new NBC protection system. Upgraded tanks are fitted with laser warning system. It detects once the vehicle is illuminated by a laser beam and identifies direction of the threat. Then smoke grenades can be discharged to hide the tank.
The T-72M4 has the same 125-mm smoothbore gun as its predecessor. A muzzle reference system was added for improved accuracy. The gunner can quickly check that there is an accurate relation between the gun and the sight. This tank is fitted with an autoloader. Enhanced 125-mm APFSDS-T rounds were developed for this tank.