M1 A1 D Abrams Tank

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See Also:
M1 Abrams M1A1 M1A2
M1A1 Abrams Tank
M1A2 Abrams Tank
M1A1 D Abrams Tank
M1 Abrams Tank Variants
M1 A1 Abrams Tank Operations
M1 A1 A2 Abrams Career
Army General Abrams
M1 Abrams TUSK
M1A2 Abrams SEP

See Also:
Tank history WW1 WW2
List of tanks WW1, WW2, Modern
US Army List of Tanks WW2 M4_Sherman
US Tank Production World War 2
WW2 German Tank Production Panzer 3 III
Panzer 4 IV Pz4
Tiger 1
King Tiger 2
Maus (Tank) - Panzer VIII WW2 world largest tank
Matilda Infantry Tank
T-34 T34 Soviet medium tank IS-2_Soviet_Tank
T-35 Soviet Heavy Tank,
T-55 Tank,
T-62 Soviet Medium Tank,
T80 Main Battle Tank,
T-90 Main Battle Tank
T-72 Tank
M60 Patton
M1 Abrams M1A1 M1A2

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M1 A1 D Abrams Tank

The M1A1 fleet remains the majority of the Armor Force. The M1A1D is a digitized M1A1 that provides improved situational awareness and far target designate capability. The installation of a digital appliqué command and control package on the M1A1 is necessary to achieve Force XXI required capabilities. Another planned improvement is replacing the analog Turret Network Box (TNB) and Hull Network Box (HNB) with new digital units to eliminate the associated obsolescence problems and to allow the introduction of a built-in-test (BIT) capability to support the Force XXI maintenance structure. Digital TNBs and HNBs also allow future electronic growth by providing unpopulated VME card slots.

In the survivability area the Army is working to develop and field a contingency armor package that is thin and lightweight, but with a high level of protection. These armor packages can be applied to either the side or front of Abrams tanks to provide additional protection as required by the mission. The Army is also seeking to fund resource upgrades to the M1A1 fire control system with the same 2nd Gen FLIR package on the M1A2.

The Army initiated an innovative M1A1 rebuild program in 1999 known as Abrams Integrated Management (AIM). In a partnership with the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Alabama, General Dynamics Land Systems is engaged in a refurbishment program of more than 1,000 M1A1 Abrams tanks. Under a unique partnership agreement private and public industry cooperate in the rebuilding the U.S. Army oldest M1A1's to a like-new condition by maximizing their core skills and capabilities.

M256 smoothbore gun

The main armament of the M1A1D is the M256 120 mm smoothbore gun, designed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany and manufactured under license in the US by General Dynamics Land Systems Division in their plant in Lima, Ohio. It fires depleted uranium armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding-sabot long-rod penetrator (APFSDS) rounds like the M829A2 and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shaped charge rounds such as the M830, the latest version of which (M830A2) incorporates a sophisticated multi-mode electronic sensing fuse which allows it to be used effectively against both armored vehicles and personnel, or even (at least in theory) low-flying aircraft.

The new M1028 120 mm anti-personnel canister cartridge has been brought into service early for use in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contains 1,150 ten-millimetre tungsten shot projectiles which spread from the muzzle to produce a shotgun effect lethal out to 500 m. The tungsten balls can be used to clear enemy dismounts, break up hasty ambush sites in urban areas, clear defiles, stop infantry attacks and counter-attacks, and support friendly infantry assaults by providing cover-by-fire.

In addition to this the new M1A1D MRM-KE (Mid-Range-Munition Kinetic Energy) is also in development. Essentially a cannon-fired guided round, it has a range of roughly 12 km and uses a KE warhead which is rocket assisted in its final phase of flight.

Secondary armament

The Abrams tank has three machine guns:

1. A .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun in front of the commander's hatch. On the M1, M1IP and M1A1, this gun is on a powered mount and can be fired using a 3× magnification sight known as the CWS, while the vehicle is buttoned up. On the M1A2, M1A2SEP, the M2 is on a flex mount. With the forthcoming TUSK addon kit the M2, or a Mk 19 grenade launcher, can be mounted on the CROWS remote weapons platform. CROWS is similar to the RWS [(Remote Weapons System)] used on the Stryker family of vehicles.
2. A 7.62 mm (.30 caliber) M240C machine gun in front of the loader's hatch on a skate mount.
3. A 7.62 mm M240C machine gun in a coaxial mount. The coaxial MG is aimed and fired with the computer fire control system used for the main gun.

The turret is fitted with two six-barreled smoke grenade launchers. These can create a thick smoke that blocks both vision and thermal imaging, and can also be armed with chaff. The engine is also equipped with a smoke generator that is triggered by the driver.


The Abrams is equipped with a fire control computer that uses data from a variety of sources, including the Gunner's Primary Sight or "GPS" (thermal or daylight), a laser rangefinder, a wind sensor, a pendulum static cant sensor, and data on the ammunition type. The fire control system uses this data to compute a firing solution for the gunner. Either the commander or gunner can fire the main gun.

Standard Armor

The Abrams is protected by Chobham armour, a type of composite armor formed by multiple layers of steel and ceramics. It may also be fitted with reactive armor if needed (as in the Urban Survival Kit). Fuel and ammunition are in armored compartments with blow-off covers to reduce the risk of and protect the crew from the risk of the tank's own ammunition cooking off if the tank is damaged. Protection against spalling is provided by a Kevlar liner. Beginning in 1988, M1A1 tanks received improved armor packages that incorporated depleted uranium (DU) mesh in their armor at the front of the turret and the front of the hull. Armor thus reinforced offers significantly increased resistance towards all types of anti-tank weaponry, but at the expense of adding considerable weight to the tank. The first M1A1 tanks to receive this upgrade were tanks stationed in Germany, since they were the first line of defense against the Soviet Union. US tankers participating in Operation Desert Storm received an emergency program to upgrade their tanks with depleted uranium armor immediately before the onset of the campaign. M1A2 tanks uniformly incorporate depleted uranium armor, and all M1A1 tanks in active service have been upgraded to this standard as well. The strength of the armor is estimated to be about the same as similar Western, contemporary main battle tanks such as the Leopard 2. The M1A2/M1A1 can survive multiple hits from the most powerful tank munitions (including 120 mm depleted uranium APFSDS) and anti-tank missiles[citation needed]. In the Persian Gulf War, Abrams tanks survived multiple hits at relatively close ranges from Iraqi T-72's and ATGM's.

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