10 Fascinating Facts About the M1 Abrams Tank

The photo depicts a powerful combination of American M1 Abrams tanks Mi-24 helicopters, which have been deployed to support the Ukrainian military in their ongoing conflict, providing advanced fir

10 Fascinating Facts About the M1 Abrams Tank

There is something deeply interesting about the venerable M1 Abrams battle tank fielded by American forces. In service since 1980, the tank has seen conflicts all around the world and built a fearsome reputation as a result. If you ever wanted to learn about America’s main battle tank, you’re in the right place.

It Was Developed by Chrysler

The Abrams could’ve looked very different if developed by General Motors.

It might come as a surprise, but the M1 Abrams battle tank started life as a competition between General Motors and Chrysler. American manufacturers like Ford and Chrysler have always been part of manufacturing military equipment. The winning contract for the Abrams would end up going to Chrysler in 1977.

It Wasn’t Tested Until the Gulf War

11 years without a combat trial is quite a while.

Despite being officially fielded in 1980, no American combat forces were using tanks in the 80s. Invasions like Grenada didn’t see a need for a tank. Instead, the M1 Abrams would prove its mettle on the battlefield during Operation Desert Storm.

It Has Received Upgrades

The Abrams is the epitome of something working well with minor upgrades.

Despite being 44 years old at this point, the M1 Abrams has received numerous upgrades. The current revision is the M1A2 TUSK. It brings an independent thermal viewer for the commander, better navigation equipment, and a 120mm smoothbore cannon.

It Is No Longer in Production

You won’t see any new Abrams assembled anytime soon.

All the M1 Abrams that are fielded today were manufactured years ago. As tanks receive damage, they get refurbished and overhauled. The nature of warfare is constantly changing, and American priorities lie elsewhere.

It Has Special Armor

The Chobham armor has proven highly effective against most anti-tank weapons.

Before the development of the M1 Abrams, battle tanks typically used homogenous armor to deflect rounds and absorb damage. What makes the Abrams special is the inclusion of Chobham armor, which is heterogeneous by design. It certainly has proven effective, with anti-tank rockets glancing off the tank during both wars in Iraq.

Firefighting Measures Are in Place


he Abrams has a reduced risk of cook-off thanks to the firefighting equipment.

There is nothing more catastrophic for the interior of a tank than fire. Thankfully, the M1 Abrams has an automatic halon fire extinguishing functionality. When fire is detected in the cabin, it is immediately doused, leaving the occupants safe from harm.

It Is Resistant to Biological Warfare

You don’t even need special equipment to survive a chemical attack in an Abrams.

The M1 Abrams was developed during rising tensions with the Soviet Union. As such, it might surprise some of you that it is fairly resistant to all biological agents. This started with the M1A1 variant, which is resistant to nuclear fallout, biological agents, and chemical warfare deployment.

It Can Be Equipped for Urban Combat

Urban combat can be a nightmare for any tank.

There are few combat arenas as stressful for tank crews as a city. The TUSK or Tank Urban Survival Kit, makes sure that tank crews stay safe when the fighting gets close. The TUSK system has been in place for Abrams tanks since 2006, being a standard part of the kit for any close fighting.

It Has an Ingenious Countermeasure System

The armor only does so much compared to the active countermeasures on the modern Abrams tank.

Modern tanks utilize something called active armor. What this entails is that a preventive explosion fires off to prevent an anti-tank weapon or explosive from damaging the tank. The Abrams utilizes one based on the Israeli Trophy system, which is one of the most precise in the world currently.

The Main Gun Is One of the Best Around

The Abrams main gun punches well above its weight when compared to its contemporaries.

The M1028 smoothbore cannon came about due to complaints about the efficacy of the main cannon on the original M1 Abrams. The 120mm cannon is based on the same one used by the German Leopard 2 but with some tweaks to the formula. It started seeing use as a multipurpose weapon in 2006, handling everything from armor to obstacle clearing with specialized ammunition.

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