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M1 Abrams

General Characteristics
Length:8,48 m (27.82 ft)
Width:3,64 m (12 ft)
Height:2.43 m (8 ft)
Weight:69.5 t
Speed:67 km/h (42 mph) (road governed)
48 km/h (30 mph) (off-road)
Range:465 km (288 miles)
Primary armament:M1: 105mm gun
M1A1 and M1A2: 120-mm smoothbore gun
Secondary armament:.50 caliber machine gun
7.62 mm machine gun
Power plant:1119 kW (1500 hp) gas turbine
Crew:4 (Commander, Gunner, Loader and Driver)

The M1 Abrams main battle tank, the US Army's principal combat tank is named after General Creighton W. Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff.

Production history The M1 Abrams was designed by the General Dynamics Corporation and first entered US Army service in 1980. An improved version of the M1, the M1A1 was introduced in 1985. The M1A1 has an 120mm smoothbore gun developed by Rheinmetall GmbH of Germany, improved armor and an NBC protection system. The M1A2 is a further improvement of the M1A1 with a commander's thermal viewer and weapon station, position navigation equipment, digital data bus and a redio interface unit. The army has upgraded older M1s and A1s to the A2 configuration.

A further upgrade of the A2 called the System Enhancement Program (SEP) was began in 1999.

During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm some M1A1s were modified with add-on armor and others were equipped with mine rollers (Panther II) and mine plows (Grizzly) for breaching obstacles and clearing minefields.

Over 8,800 M1 and M1A1 tanks have been produced.

Reduced capability export variants of the M1 Abrams are also used by the defence forces of:

Combat history The M1 remained untested until the Gulf War in 1991. A total of 1,848 M1A1s were deployed to Saudi Arabia. The M1A1 was clearly superior to the Soviet produced T-72, T-62 and T-55 tanks fielded by the Iraqi. Only 18 M1A1s were taken out of service due to battle damage. The M1A1 was capable of making kills in excess of 3000 m. (Add Iraqi losses)

See also: List of tanks, Leopard, Merkava, T-80

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