The M1 Abrams is the Main Battle Tank of the USA,Kuwait,Iraq,Saudi-Arabia,Australia and Egypt.

With over 9.000 Units its one of the most builded Tanks in the World today.

The newest Version is the M1A2 Sep with new Computer Systems and Depleted Uranium Armor (First Times on the M1A1 HA and HA+)

The Abrams is named after the U.S. Army General Creighton W. Abrams.The tank is protected against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare by an NBC protection system (with full overpressure filtered air) located in the turret bustle.

M1A1 fireing its M256 Gun

Prototypes were delivered in 1976 by Chrysler Defense and General Motors.The Name of the Prototyp was XM815,later XM1

XM1,the Prototyp of the M1 Abrams

First Gulf War

During Desert Storm in 1991,3.500 Allied Tanks fought against 4.500 Iraqi Tanks.

The most of the Allied Tanks were M1 Abrams Tanks of the U.S. Army.

The M1 Abrams was one of the best Tanks at his time.

The M1 was capable of making kills at ranges in excess of 2.500 metres.

Destroyed M1 Abrams during Desert Storm

M1 Abrams

The M1 Abrams was the first Version of the Abrams Series,heavy protected by the new British Chobham Armor,which give it a high protection against Kinetic Energy and Chemical Energy rounds.

His Armarment was the Royal Ordnance L7 105Mm Rifled Gun (M68),this Gun had a Maximum Range of 3.000Metres,but it has Problems to fire APFSDS Rounds,it usually fired only HEAT and HESH Rounds.

M1 Abrams and IPM1 Abrams

The second model, produced from 1984 to 1986, was the Improved Performance M1 (IPM1). The IPM1 was produced to take advantage of various improvements from the M1A1 program, before the full M1A1 was ready for production. These improvements consisted of a reinforced new suspension, various transmission modifications, improved armor protection, and the redesigned M1A1 turret gun mount and bustle rack, among others. The added weight (one ton) decreased performance only slightly.

M1 Abrams of the Australian Army

M1A1 Abrams

An M1A1 Abrams in the Desert,firing its new M256 120Mm Smoothboregun

The first M1A1 were produced between 1988 and 1992.

It has the new M256A1 120Mm Smoothboregun,a licensed Version of the German Rheinmetall L44 with was first used by the Leopard2.

It was first used in Desert Storm,and was able to making kills up to 4.000Metres,that was 1.500Metres more as the M1 with his 105 Mm Gun,the higher Range was possible because the Gun had a higher Calibre and was Longer as the M68 was and because it was using Fin Stabilized Rounds (The M829A1,an 120Mm Armored Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot Round (APFSDS)

It has also newer Computersystems which give the M1A1 a higher Vision Range (From 4x - 12x Zoom),give it more Accuracy at higher Ranges.

It first used the M829A1 DU (Depleted Uranium) APFSDS (Armored Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) Round.This Round was able to destroy 3 times the Armor of the Iraqi Version of the T-72 ("Lion of Babylon"),once it killed an T-72 behind a wall,the M1A1 detected the T-72 due to his Heat,the Abrams fired and killed the T-72 behind the Wall.

Another Story is that one M1A1 Abrams killed 2 T-72's with only 1 Round.

Later was the M829A2 DU APFSDS-T in service of the U.S. Army.

Here you can see the difference of the M1 and M1A1


One of the most interesting modifications of the M1A1 series was the new armor composite including depleted uranium (DU) plate. This armor greatly increased resistance against kinetic energy rounds. During the Gulf War, M1A1 tanks could directly engage enemy tanks while in the enemy's line-of-sight with little risk from any eventual damage from incoming retaliatory fire

M1A1 HA (Heavy Armor) Abrams, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment "Brave Rifles"


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 TNB's and HNB's 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.

An M1A1D,crossing a River during an exercise

M1A2 Abrams and M1A2 SEP

The M1A2 SEP (System Enhancemen Program), is the digital battlefield centerpiece for Army XXI. It is the heavy force vehicle that will lead Armor into the next century and transition the close combat mission to the Future Combat System (FCS). The M1A2 SEP is an improved version of the M1A2. It contains numerous improvements in command and control, lethality and reliability. The M1A2 System Enhanced Program is an upgrade to the computer core that is the essence of the M1A2 tank. The SEP upgrade includes improved processors, color and high resolution flat panel displays, increased memory capacity, user friendly Soldier Machine Interface (SMI) and an open operating system that will allow for future growth. Major improvements include the integration of the Second Generation Forward Looking Infared (2nd Gen FLIR) sight, the Under Armor Auxiliary Power Unit (UAAPU) and a Thermal Management System (TMS).

The mission of the M1A2 Abrams tank is to close with and destroy enemy forces using firepower, maneuver, and shock effect. The M1A2 is being fielded to armor battalions and cavalry squadrons of the heavy force. During the Army's current M1A2 procurement program about 1,000 older, less capable M1 series tanks will be upgraded to the M1A2 configuration and fielded to the active forces. There is currently no plan to field the M1A2 to the ARNG. In 1999, the Army started upgrading M1s to the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP) configuration. This sensor also will be added to older M1A2 starting in 2001. When the SEP enter production, all older M1A2 will eventually be converted to the SEP configuration.


M1A2 SEP Abrams,the newest Version of the M1 Abrams


Further M1A2 improvements, called the System Enhancement Program (SEP), are underway to enhance the tank's digital command and control capabilities and to to improve the tank's fightability and lethality. M1A2 SEP tanks were scheduled to begin fielding in 2000. The M1A2 System Enhanced Program (SEP) is an upgrade to the computer core that is in essence of the M1A2 tank.

The SEP upgrade includes improved processors, color and high resolution flat panel displays, increased memory capacity, user friendly Soldier Machine Interface (SMI) and an open operating system that will allow for future growth. Major improvements include the integration of the Second Generation Forward Looking Infared (2nd Gen FLIR) sight, the Under Armor Auxiliary Power Unit (UAAPU) and a Thermal Management System (TMS).

The 2nd Generation Forward Looking InfraRed sighting system (2nd Gen FLIR) will replace the existing Thermal Image System (TIS) and the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer. The incorporation of 2nd Gen FLIR into the M1A2 tank will require replacement of all 1st Gen FLIR components. From the warfighter perspective, this is one of the key improvements on the SEP.

The 2nd Gen FLIR is a fully integrated engagement-sighting system designed to provide the gunner and tank commander with significantly improved day and night target acquisition and engagement capability. This system allows 70% better acquisition, 45% quicker firing and greater accuracy. In addition, a gain of 30% greater range for target acquisition and identification will increase lethality and lessen fratricide.

The Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer (CITV) provides a hunter killer capability. The 2nd GEN FLIR is a variable power sighting system ranging from 3 or 6 power (wide field of view) for target acquisition and 13, 25 or 50 power (narrow field of view) for engaging targets at appropriate range.

The new features of the M1A2 SEP

Changes to the M1A2 Abrams Tank contained in the System Enhancement Program (SEP) and "M1A2 Tank FY 2000" configuration are intended to improve lethality, survivability, mobility, sustainability and provide increased situational awareness and command and control enhancements necessary to provide information superiority to the dominant maneuver force. The System Enhancement Program (SEP) allows for digital data dissemination with improved ability to optimize information based operations and maintain a relevant common picture while executing Force XXI full dimensional operation. This enhancement increases capability to control the battlefield tempo while improving lethality and survivability. Finally to ensure crew proficiency is maintained, each Armor Battalion is fielded an improved Advanced Gunnery Training System (AGTS) with state-of-the-art graphics.

An M1A2 SEP firing at the night,an very impressive picture

System Enhancement Program upgrades are intended to:

  • improve target detection, recognition and identification with the addition of two 2nd generation FLIR's.
  • incorporate an under armor auxiliary power unit to power the tank and sensor suites.
  • incorporate a thermal management system to provide crew and electronics cooling.
  • increase memory and processor speeds and provide full color map capability.
  • provide compatibility with the Army Command and Control Architecture to ensure the ability to share command and control and situational awareness with all components of the combined arms team.

Tank Urban Survival Kit for M1A2 - TUSK

M1A2 Abrams with the Prototyp of the Tank Urban Survival Kit (Tusk)

The Tank Urban Survival Kit, or TUSK, is a series of improvements to the M1A2 Abrams intended to improve fighting ability in urban environments. Historically, urban and other close battlefields have been the worst place for tanks to fight as the design of all Main Battle Tanks of the 3rd generation had to maximize the balance between armor/weight/mobility; and as a result the front armor is much stronger than that on the sides, top, or rear. However, in an urban environment, attacks can come from any direction, and attackers can get close enough to reliably hit weak points in the MBT's armor, or get sufficient elevation to hit the top armor square on.

Armor upgrades include reactive armor on the sides of the tank and slat armor (similar to that on the Stryker) on the rear to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and other shaped charge warheads.

This upgrade also includes reactive armor or explosive reactive armour (ERA), to be applied on the Abrams' side skirts, to lessen the damage from explosions caused from ATGMs warheads, exploding shells, grenades, or dropped bombs.

A gun shield and a thermal sight system are added to the loader's top-mounted 7.62 mm machine gun, and the mount for commander's .50-caliber heavy machine gun is modified to allow the weapon to be operated from within the turret with the hatch closed (the original M1 and M1A1 had this capability, but it was lost on the M1A2 due to the reconfiguration of several turret systems). An exterior telephone allows supporting infantry to communicate with the tank commander.

The TUSK system is a field-installable kit that allows tanks to be upgraded without needing to be recalled to a maintenance depot.


The main armament of the original model M1 was the M68A1 105 mm rifled tank gun firing a variety of high explosive anti-tank, high explosive, white phosphorus and an anti-personnel (multiple flechette) round. This gun is a license-built version of the British Royal Ordnance L7 gun. While being a reliable weapon and widely used by many NATO nations, a cannon with lethality beyond the 3-kilometer (1.9 mi) range was needed to combat newer armor technologies. To attain that lethality, projectile diameter needed to be increased. The M68A1's performance in terms of accuracy and armor-piercing penetration is on par with the M256A1 up to 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) out, but beyond that range the 105 mm projectile lacks the kinetic energy to defeat modern armor packages.

The main armament of the M1A1 is the German Rheinmetall L44 Smoothboregun,it fires the M829A1-A3 DU Rounds.All are fin stabilized and are APFSDS-T (Armored Piercing Fin Stabilized Sabot - Tracer).But it can also fire the M830 HEAT Munition against light armored targets (Like APC's)

The M829 have get at his upgrades more firepower.

Here its listed:

M829A1 120mm DU 610mm at 2km,645mm at 1km

M829A2 120mm DU 730mm at 2km,750mm at 1km

M829A3 120mm DU 765mm at 2km,810mm at 1km


Marines from 1st Tank Battalion load a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine back into the tank at Camp Coyote, Kuwait, February 2003.The M1 Abrams is powered by a 1,500 shaft horsepower (1,100 kW) Honeywell AGT 1500 (originally made by Lycoming) gas turbine, and a six speed (four forward, two reverse) Allison X-1100-3B Hydro-Kinetic automatic transmission, giving it a governed top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) on paved roads, and 30 mph (48 km/h) cross-country. With the engine governor removed, speeds of around 60 mph (97 km/h) are possible on an improved surface; however, damage to the drive train (especially to the tracks) and an increased risk of injuries to the crew can occur at speeds above 45 mph (72 km/h). The tank for all intents and purposes was built around this engine.The tank can be fueled with diesel fuel, kerosene, any grade of motor gasoline, JP-4 jet fuel, or JP-8 jet fuel; the US Army uses JP-8 jet fuel in order to simplify logistics. The Royal Australian Armoured Corps' M1A1 AIM SA uses diesel fuel; it is cheaper and makes practical sense for Australian military logistics.Since the Iraq War, the US Army began looking at replacing the AGT-1500 turbine engine in the M1vseries because of its fuel usage. The turbine engine provides better acceleration, but takes twice as much fuel as a comparable diesel engine. Turbine engines are lighter than diesels, but take up the extra space and weight in a larger fuel tank to produce the same range. The became a problem in the Gulf War as the speed of a tank division was limited to the speed of its refueling trucks.


ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics (Land Systems Division)
Crew4: Commander, Gunner, Loader & Driver
Weight60 Tons63 Tons69.54 Tons
mce_style="font-size: small; " mce_fixed="1">Length (Gun Forward)384.5 inches387 inches
Turret Height93.5 inches
Width143.8 inches144 inches
Ground Clearancespan">19 inches
Ground Pressure13.1 PSI13.8 PSI15.4 PSI
Obstacle Crossing49 inches42 inches
Vertical Trench9 Feet
Power plantAGT-1500 turbine engine
Power Rating1500 HP
Power to Weight Ratio25 hp/ton23.8 hp/ton21.6 hp/ton
Hydro Kinetic Transmission4 Speed Forward
2 Speed Reverse
Speed - Maximum45 mph (Governed)42 mph (Governed)
Speed - Cross Country30 mph
Speed - 10% Slope20 mph17 mph
Speed - 60% Slope4.5 mph4.1 mph
(0 to 20 mph)
7 Seconds7.2 Seconds
Cruising Range275 Miles265 Miles
Main Armament105mm M68A1
Rifled Cannon
120mm M256
Smooth Bore Cannon
Commander's Weapon.50 Cal M2 Machinegun
Coaxial Weapon7.62 M240 Machinegun
Loader's Weapon7.62 M240 Machinegun on Skate Mount
NBC SystemN/A200 SCFM -CleanCooled Air
Inventory - US Army3,2734,393N/A
Inventory - USMCN/A403N/A
Estimated Unit Replacement CostN/A$4,300,000$ 5,600,000

Almost all versions of the M1 Abrams have other protection levels,the list of the "official" protection levels

    Tank                                           vs KE (mm)                                             vs CE (mm)

M1                                                  Turret: 400 Glacis: 400                            Turret & Glacis:700-800

M1IP/M1A1                                       Mantle & Turret: 450                               Mantle: 990 Turret: 800 Glacis:510-800

                                                      Glacis: 350-490                                      Lower front hull: 570-790

                                                      Lower front hull:430-470

M1A1HA                                            Turret: 660-680 Glacis:560--590                Turret: 1080-1320 Glacis:510-800

                                                       Lower front hull:580-630                           Lower front hull:800-900

M1A1HC/M1A1HA+/M1A2                       Turret: 880-900 Glacis:560-590                 Turret: 1310-1620 Glacis:510-1050

                                                        Lower front hull:580-650                           Lower front hull:800-970

M1A2 SEP                                            Turret: 940-960 Glacis:560-590                 Turret: 1320-1620 Glacis:510-1050

                                                         Lower front hull:580-650                           Lower front hull:800-970