M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank
The fmt production M1A2 Abrams tank rolled off the line at Lima Army Tank Plant on 1 December 1992, the fmt of 62 production tanks for the U.S. Army. The Army also plans to upgrade over a thousand M1 (105-mm) versions to the newer M1A2 (120 mm) configuration beginning in 1994. The MlA2’s outstanding performance makes it the main battle tank of choice for Saudi Arabia, which will purchase 315, and Kuwait, which will buy 236 MlA2s. At the time, the United Arab Emirates and Sweden were also looking at the M1A2 for their future main battle tank. Technical testing is ongoing at Aberdeen Proving Ground and Yuma Proving Ground. The initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) will evaluate a company of M1A2 tanks in an operational environment this fall at Fort Hood, Texas. The First Unit Equipped (FUE) for the U.S. Army is currently slated for the third quarter of F’Y 95.
|M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank|
The M1A2 Abrams maximum rate of fire is about six rounds per minute; if a single M1A2 were to engage a half dozen enemy tanks, the Abrams would be subject to return fire for nearly a full minute, since each opponent would have to be dealt with sequentially. On the other hand, a properly-designed, missilearmed
FCS could lock onto all six enemy vehicles simultaneously and salvo fire one missile at each target in perhaps
less time than the M1A2 crew would take to achieve its first kill. This would give an FCS-equipped force a
great advantage when fighting outnumbered.
Ideally, the FCS would use a multipurpose missile that can be employed not only against armored vehicles, but the entire array of ground and aerial targets encountered on the battlefield. As on modern naval vessels, it would probably be wise to include a small or medium caliber gun for close range and low priority targets, but this would depend on the capabilities of the missile system.
|M1A2 Abrams MBT|
|M1A2 Abrams MBT|
would read almost as if it were printed in a current issue of ARMOR. Admiral Knight’s words should stand as a note of caution to those who think the MBT is here to stay. Just as the self-guided missile has displaced the gun in naval warfare, so is it sure to do in ground combat. The question is, will the Armor community follow Javelin and Longbow Hellfire on the path to the future, or will it stay on the same dead end street that doomed the battleship to oblivion?
The M1A2 retains the best features of the Abrams family: 120-mm main gun, reliable and powerful drive train, and the heavy armor package. Some of the major enhancements on the M1A2 are the Intervehicular Information System, 1553b Data Bus, Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer, Improved Commander’s Weapn Station, a position navigation system, and Built-in Test and Fault Isolation. These major improvements, along with other enhancements, make the Abrams even more fightable, and bring the tank into the 21st Century.
The M1A2 Abrams MBT posted great results in all three desert regions. In Sharourah, Saudi Arabia, soldiers from the Fort Knox M1A2 New Equipment Training (NET) team trained the Saudi crew members using the tank, and table top trainers. Using the tank’s Po the crews completed a challenging 148-kilometer navigation course consisting of 15 way points. The U.S. and Saudi crew members fited a total of 102 main gun rounds during the demo. The exercise was a huge success. The Saudi soldiers and leaders were very impressed with the oved performance of the tank.