The M1 Abrams Tank...and Beyond

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The United States military decided to develop a new tank that could compete with and defeat the tanks of the Soviet Union. They began several projects initially in an attempt to replace the dated M60 tank, which entered the service in 1960. After several attempts, the U.S. Army awarded a contract to General Dynamics for the production of the MA Abram tank. The M1 tank has been continuously improved and it has proven itself as one of the military’s most effective and important fighting vehicles in battle.

Introduced in the service in 1980, the M1 Abram Main Battle Tank (MBT) was named after General Creighton W. Abrams who was the Army Chief of Staff of Military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972 (Federation of American Scientist, 2000). The M1 Abram was the lightest of the three tanks weighing 60 tons and this allowed it to be the fasted being able to reach a max speed of 45 mph. The vehicle could travel 310 miles on a full tank of fuel. It took four soldiers to operate the tank with the main armament being a 105 mm M68A1 Rifled Cannon. The Abram was protected by a 350 mm hull, which made it almost impossible to pierce. The Commander was equipped with a .50 caliber M2 machine gun, the coaxial weapon was a 7.62 M240 machinegun, and the loaders weapon was a 7.62 M240 machinegun that was on a skate mount (Federation of American Scientist, 2000). The 7.72 M240 machineguns could be fired with the computer fire control system from within the tank. The 105 mm main gun was very effective as it was capable of lethally striking a target beyond 3 kilometers or 1.9 miles. All of the Abrams were equipped with a ballistic fire-control computer system that ensured the gunner a 95% accuracy rating (Federation of American Scientist, 2000).


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...nd kept the members within it safe. Clay (2007) said that although his mission was very dangerous and many felt that they were not going to make it back to the U.S. alive, the engineering of the M1 Abram made their mission a success without the loss of life.

Works Cited

Antal, J. (2001). Hervibores or Carnivores? Military Technology 201 Vol. 35(3), 12-16

Basso, J. (1998). M1A2: One Year Later, Armor January-February, 31-34

Bourque, S.A. (1997). Correcting the Myths about the last Persian Gulf War: The last stand

Of the Tawakalna. The Middle East Journal 51(4).

Clay Anderson Collection (ACF/2001/001/311), (2007, May 29) Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Federation of American Scientist. (2000, April 14). M1 Abrams Main Tank Battle: Retrieved October 8, 2011 from:

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