Main Battle Tank M1 Abrams — follow the path of development

1st South American main battle tank M1 Abrams went assembly flow tank factory in the town of Lima (Ohio) in February 1980. Since that time (including for export) has issued more than 10,000 tanks of all modifications. Tank, initially designed for combat in the European criteria, but really, he had distinguished himself during the fighting in Iraq. Where, according to the views of the U.S. military, the tank proved to be quite excellent, firmly defending the crew of different weapons.

Applets SEP and SEP2

SEP The program was launched in 1999 as a digital version of modernization facing armed version of the M1A2 tanks. This update is provided for equipping the tank armor newest third generation, no filler content of uranium, the newest fully digital MSA thermal imaging system of the 2nd generation of the gunner and tank commander with significantly improved ability to detect targets at any time of the day. In addition, this set provides for the modernization of equipment of the tank auxiliary power unit for the operation of all electrical systems without the inclusion of the motor and a thermal management system for an electric air conditioning equipment and crew. In addition to all the rest were applied new microprocessors, increased the amount of machine memory used new network communication.

According to experts, the use of thermal imagers 2nd generation has allowed a 70% increment clarity of images, to reduce by 45% the time to create shots and more accurate shooting. Deliveries of the first modernized M1A2 SEP was started in August 1999. Total for this program there has been modernized 1150 previously issued M1A2 tanks. Prior to the new "digital" standard had been brought as Saudi M1A2 (contract for the modernization of the first 60 tanks was signed in 2006, is considered the beginning of the implementation of programs from November 2007).

Main Battle Tank M1 Abrams - further ways of development

The most recent modification of the tank on today is the "digital" configuration of the M1A2 SEP v2. Now under the new digital standard SEP v2 upgraded earlier vypushennye M1A1 machine. The new version differs from the previous "Abrams" enhanced color monitors to display a tactical environment, with new sights and electro-optical infrared channels, new means of communication that are compatible with the networks of infantry units and also modified the power plant. The upgrade involves the introduction of a number of MBT technology made by programmke Future Combat Systems (Combat Systems of the future). This modernization anticipates bringing to the "digital" standard 435 M1A1 battle tanks (are in service for more than 20 years) and 180 M1A2 vehicles.

The future development of the M1A2

In the middle of the 90s of the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Directorate presented several concepts of future development of the tank M1 "Abrams". Common to all projects is the installation of a tank turret instead of a remote-controlled guns, armor protected with a breech. This solution can significantly reduce the height of the machine and its mass. As a basic tool, to deal with the 120-mm smoothbore gun and promising electric guns of various calibers. The crew of a promising new tank should be reduced to 2 people through the installation of automatic charging and automate the process of pointing guns at the target. Due to savings (due to the lack of this tower) mass, tank armor is meant to increase, bringing it to the front of the chassis to the equivalent of 1,000 mm metal armor plating, the tank is also equipped with built-in dynamic protection.

It was assumed that the tank will be active suspension, electro-mechanical or hydro. More recent tests conducted in 1987-1989 on 2 specially modified tanks. With all of this to argue the reliability of running. On average, during the test refusal suspension was detected after 1,600 kilometers, and the design life is estimated at 10 000 km. Number of smoke grenade was planned to increase to 80 pieces, all of them had to be placed inside the tank corps.

Main Battle Tank M1 Abrams - further ways of development

The autoloader and the brand new experimental machine Sattva

Back in 1987-1988, in the United States began testing the automatic loader (AZ) FASTDRAW, destined for the M1 tank by "Western design." This machine consists of 2 stores carousel with automatic feeder and an actuator. Machine provides storage, protection and supply 36,120 mm tank rounds. Rate the tank during use increases to 11.6 shots per minute. Also, the system, according to the company of the manufacturer, provides a huge crew survival compared with those decisions, which are currently used in the tank "Abrams". This is achieved with the least vulnerability ammunition. Shops carousel split between an armored wall width of 40 mm, another armored partition separates the store from the inner space of the tower. This partition is armed with 2 sliding shutters that are significantly smaller than the huge sliding doors to M1A1 tanks.

The drive-loading mechanism can be used both electronic and hydraulic power elements (1st safer). AZ operates shot selection switch located at the gunner. Automatic controlled processor, which shows the capture location desired shot the coming and gives a command to open the outlet. After that shot is taken, turns and be sent to the breech automatic feeder. Also has a manual backup and drive, but it gives markedly reduced rate of up to 2 shots per minute. The main shortcomings of AZ FASTDRAW, by the statements of qualified individuals is a strong weighting of the design loading in comparison with manual (60%), and overall nedovedennost of the system as a whole.

Several stands apart programm to create experimental tank sattva (Componets Advanced Technology Test Bed). The purpose of its creation was a demo tests in real criteria MBT parts designed to be promising tanks, developed under the programs from A3. Elements processed on this platform already cut one in the modernization of the M1A2 and are planned to be included in the version of the A3.
It was assumed that sattva will exist in 2 versions. 1st — the car made on the M1A1 tank chassis (this standard was completed in 1993) and the second — based on a standardized chassis, which later was to become the basis for a promising tank.

Main Battle Tank M1 Abrams - further ways of development
Version of the tank with an uninhabited tower

The main instrument of sattva was supposed to be a 140-mm cannon system ATAC (Advanced Tank Canon). This instrument is a contribution to the United States in a four-sided development of a promising program from the main tank, to which also take the role of Britain, France and Germany. The system consists of a 140-mm smoothbore gun HM291, HM91 autoloader and family ammunition 140mm — HM964 (Subcaliber), HM965 (cumulative-explosive), HM966 (learning). Muzzle energy of
the gun in 2 times more than in the 120-mm M256 cannon, taking in a static position, and the same amount for all this with the least weight (90 kg). The implication is that the brand new gun system can be equipped with trunks as 120 and 140 mm. They can be replaced with one another in field tests in a rather rather short period of time (about an hour).

Real prospects

After many years of discussions on modernizing the MBT M1 Abrams, experts at the U.S. Army seems to converge in the outlook that we must confine ourselves smaller and less overhead tank improvements. Enough money for the large-scale modernization and not, apparently, there will be another 5-10 years. While the U.S. Army wants to get a tank battle with the least weight (60 tons compared to the current 62 tons). This requires the development of modern towers, comparable in mass to tank tower "Leclerc" (19 tons).

Impressive combat effectiveness, which M1 Abrams revealed during Iraqi companies, led the South American army to delay the retirement plans of the emergency tank. And focus on its modernization with the introduction of promising technologies FCS (Future Combat System). None of the options being developed under this program there are not able to show a greater capacity than the currently available armed with tanks. Not so long ago, programm FCS has been curtailed.

The main efforts of the South American engineers plan to focus on the works to build the latest version of the M1A3 tank. The implication is that the weight of the tank will be significantly reduced, it will get AZ, new technology in the form of fiber-optic cables and light version of armor. Brand new chassis and engine, will also contribute to a decrease in mass. The implication is that the M1A3 will weigh 55 tons or less.

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