Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The experimental M1 Abrams.

Thanks to MidgetMan for the idea.

Above are a few of the known experimental M1 Abrams tanks (there might be more that are classified...I just don't know).  Want an improved M1 Abrams MBT?  No problem....the issues have been worked and it only takes a look into the recent past to get either increased armor protection, drastically reduced weight or both.

Jedsite has done a fantastic job of cataloging all the known experimental vehicles and you can check it out here.  


  1. Well The Army Does have M1A3 under development right now. supposed to reduce weight improve suspension with more road wheels and a new track. Replace the Gas Turbine with a more conventional engine or just add a APU. Replace the current M256 with a lighterweight cannon maybe leveraged form the Gun that would have gone on the FCS MCS new electronics and who knows what else most of this is rumor mill though.

    1. i've heard the same rumors. i'm looking for the Army to do a comprehensive upgrade so the Marine Corps can piggy back off it and the build will be solid...at least for awhile. all these incremental upgrades have made it a bit difficult. even inside the US Army you have different vehicle upgrades throughout. if they could settle on a standard and then get all operational vehicles up to that standard it would help out the ground forces of the USA!

    2. Current top-tier M1s already have a separate APU.

      It started as an external box

      This was later moved under-armor as part of the M1A2 SEP.

    3. Things you list are contadictory reduce weight? - swap a gas turbine with diesel =more weight ,add apu =more weight more roadwheells are typicaly added to carry more weight M256 barrel bends enough already with every shot i doubt a lighter barrel would be installed.

    4. the weight savings was supposed to come from shaving some armor, new tracks, newer wiring and a lighter gun. With the recent TUSK The Army might have decided to standardize reactive armor or even dare I say imagined a Hard kill active defence system.
      As to the lighter barrel the FCS system Mounted Combat System was under development with a 44 calibre 120mm XM360 gun using a composite wrapped new steel alloy barrel with a muzzle break.

    5. The majority of the weight savings will likely come from Gen 3 Chobham armor. People forget or don't know that the Abrams was designed with Gen 1 Chobham, a lot of it, that is part of the reason why it has great survivability (now add basic upgrades, DU armor, and reactive armor/full TUSK Kits and you see why they are so hard to kill). The Challenger 2 benefitted from Gen 2 Chobham, and in the 16 or so years since its entrance, there have been even more advancements.

      The way I see it, there are two reasons why there has not been much solid info about actual progress on the M1A3 since rumors came around years ago:

      1) They are settling on a standardized upgrade that can be applied to all current vehicles to bring them all up to the same standard. Likely mods would probably be: armor tweaks where possible, tech/electronic updates, fiber-optics, suspension, road wheel, and track upgrades, new engine, and some type of Gen 2
      TUSK for all.
      2) GD is working on a full re-design that incorporates Gen 3 Chobham (probably end up with some weight savings but I would guess they would push for greater protection at close to current weight) as well as all of the possible upgrades from option 1.

      Option 2 seems much more probable, they say that the Abrams will be around until at least 2050, given that, a full re-design has to occur sometime soon to give the platform much more growth potential as well as adapt it to the current threat environment AND take advantage of recent improvements.

      *It would also be a crime if the M1A3 doesn't have some sort of standardized soft-kill, hard-kill, or both, by now, we have seen the benefit of soft-kill with jamming IED's and hard-kill with the Israeli's. They should be standard.

  2. This video came out, which was interesting http://defensetech.org/2011/01/27/name-that-mystery-tank/

    The reason why, I believe, the M1 wont ever move away from the 120mm is because
    1.) To incorporate anything bigger, you need a autoloader
    2.) Anything bigger weighs more and has less ammunition capacity
    3.) The 120mm already kills the shit out of anything in its path currently (and the US isn't even fielding the 55 cal)
    4.) Armor penetration values and unique attributes (such as top attack and sheer range) of tube launched missiles are far more promising than just up-gunning a main gun.

    Apparently the Swiss prototyped the same thing with the leo 2 (maybe it was rheinmetall)? and the Swedes with the Strv-2000?

    Thanks for posting that site. I found it a while ago and forgot about it.

    1. i keep going to the new flashy sites and forget about the old standbys that were doing it the best then and now. JEDSITE is a godsend. i wonder why he hasn't taken the time to modernize and monetize it. aviation sites are a dime a dozen. a good armor site is worth its weight in gold.

    2. I would not put my fait in that vid', probably some movie prop. Why? riding in commercial train as part of larger composition and absolutely no cover on it...

      The prototype of real machine would be on M1000 with HET, under full cover and MP escort, or without.

    3. Actually the video is of a CATTB2
      Maybe it was being move to re use the hull for something.

  3. We use the 44 cal gun because we run depleted urainium ammo. Depleted urainium works better at lower velocitys compared to tungsten rounds. This means the next step is a tube launched ATGM or a 140mm with autoloader.

    1. yeah but what is the future? are we going to keep seeing these incremental upgrades or will they get serious about a major overhaul?

    2. Solomon takes every opportunity to remind us all what lies ahead. Electric enabled weapons. These weapons are going to be revolutionary. So revolutionary that we might get electric enabled armor to help us cope with it. If only the gods of storing electricity answer our prayers quicker.

    3. That and metals/ceramics/alloys that can withstand the high temperaturs andfriction generated when repeatedly pumping out slugs at Mach 7-9.

    4. yeah but electric enabled would rail guns....and i see hypervelocity conventional rounds hitting the battlefield first. as a matter of fact that can be the weight reduction. go down to 90mm but have hypervelocity rounds and you get all the punch, less the weight and if you want more rounds carried. when rail guns hit then all bets are off. what happens to a modern battlefield when you can sit back and fire round after round of shaped concrete at targets and get explosive results?

    5. any sites worth recommending for good reading on Hyper velocity weapons and ammo and ongoing projects ?

    6. no but i'll be trying to find out.

    7. If it doesn't have IR camouflage, anytime the enemy is in range, so are you.

      If the odds are ever more than say 2:1, every engagement you take second shot on means one more chance to get hit, lose the optics and thus be down to coax and TLAR for laying. Hence the use of high end thermal sights that can only see a few hundred meters under most (urban, builtup, European) conditions is also dumb.

      All modern tanks have dynamic lead shooting but very few have the ability to track multiple targets (as in the computer has the gunlay, you just consent the pickle) which means that a team datalink which sorts and morts from a shootlist doesn't work because it takes too long to assign targets.

      Obviously, you can train 'center to left, center to right, right to center, left to center' but what happens when the threat does something like this-

      Fire Ant Mobile ORM


      What happens when, instead of an EFP at danger close, it fires a salvo of 2-3 Javelins?

      If multiple tanks have the ability to autoengage, coupled to NLOS rounds and masted or UAV sensors, then you don't have to come within the swarm threat's ambush coverage range to hit targets under it's protection. And if you are moving in small platoon sections of 4-5 tanks, then you can combine engagement capabilities by time or seeker cone limits to hit multiple light vehicles coming at any given section without wasting shots.

      In addition to which, it intuition tells me that none of those Abrams upgrades are going into a combat zone in the back of a C-130.

      Simple upguns and automotive changes to powerpack and chassis are not the answer.

    8. All good points M&S. If trends are heading towards swarm-fire (and I think they probably are), then do 80-ton heavies even make sense in that environment? Or do you really want 40-50 tanks that can cross more types of terrain? The 80 ton heavies suddenly become a liability when they can't cross soft ground or light bridges.

  4. At this point we have less reliable information on the Abrams A3 than we have on the Armata. Everybody has ideas, few have facts.

  5. The next step up for anti-armour (or at least the current step up) are segmented sabot. Don't claim to understand the maths the eggheads crank out, but apparently using 2 piece or 3 piece segmented sabot increases the penetration.

    All the rest (electro-chemical gun, rail gun, HV etc) seems to be stuck in development labs.

  6. a bit off topic , but this is a good read :

    "That "best-equipped" meme needs to die.

    I am curious how significant cuts in operations and sustainment funding including much needed training days/hours per year for all parts of the service in order to pay for gold-plated failures like the Stryker, Bradley, M-1 tank, LCS, $3B flat-tops for the USMC mission without a well deck. $6B glass-jaw dreadnoughts called "destroyers", $15B aircraft carriers (the coming JFK being stripped not equipped), the Super Hornet, the F-35 Just So Failed and several other examples makes us, "best-equipped"? You can add having soldiers equipped with a short-barrelled carbine firing a varmint round that has trouble knocking down an enemy past 200 yards; that is when it fires. (Note: I like the M-4. I just don't want our Infantry and Marines armed with it unless maybe it is door-kicking.)

    It is the total of low spending on training and sustainment and massive spending on gold-plated, faulty, military equipment that has built a paper-tiger force structure.

    It will lose us major wars. "


    1. I am not going to comment on Navy or Airforce matters but heres what i will say.
      1) Stryker, Bradley, Abrams are combat proven. and every event where they have failed would have resulted the same or worse for any other vehicle of there class.
      2) The US Army issues today M4A1 as it's chosen Infantry carbine. the USMC issues M4A1 only to Raiders, the M4 is there Carbine and then only to selected specialists like Corpsmen and Officers. The Marine Corps Service Rifle is still and will likely remain the M16A4.
      M4A1 has a heavy barrel with Full Auto selector trigger and heavy buffer. US Army M4A1 receivers feature a ambi selector and are supposed to have fully ambi bolt and mag eject by the end of the decade.
      M4 has a light barrel and 3 round burst.
      Standard barrel length for both is 14.5 inches. standard round is 5.56x45mm NATO. now then the full length M16A4 fires the same round from a 20 inch barrel but realistically has only slightly more range. The Idea of the one hit kill is a myth unless your issuing 120mm tank guns."Trouble Knocking down an Enemy past 200 yards" comes form the way Ammunition and regulation are governed. Police and Law enforcement state side are authorized to use Hollow point and Expandable bullets these conceivably cause more lethal blows to the human body. Military is type classified by the Geneva convention to Ball ammo and was optimized to Ap as the priority this results in so called Ice pic wounds but again there is still more to it. The human body is not as easy to shut down as some people think. Death only occurs via three means Destruction of the central nervous system, Overload of the Central Nervous system or massive pressure loss ( hemorrhaging) of the circulatory system. Bleeding out is a long slow process the quickest means is to hit a vital artery or the heart it's self even then it can take hours for the victim to finally die. Overload of the Central nervous system is almost impossible as to do that you need to inflict so much pain that there body can no longer function. Destruction of the central nervous system is the easiest but even then it takes precision as a simple head shot is not going to do it. people have survived with severe head injuries and brain damage before. to get absolute knock down you need to destroy the primitive brain the nerve or brain stem. even then an M14 doesn't always do the Job. additionally the AK Series is based around a 16 inch barrel the latest versions the AK74, AK74M, AK12 using a even smaller calibre then M4. another case to point to is the Israelis for decades they have prefered short barreled AR's with a even shorter barrel then the M4. if that's not enough there latest issue is the X95 carbine which has supplanted the Tavor from which it was derived. X95 fires the same 5.56x45mm Round but from a even smaller 13 inch barrel. the G36K uses a 12,5 inch barrel which would have been the same barrel bolt and gas system in the XM8, the Russian issued AK105 also uses a 12.5 inch barrel and fires 5.45x39mm.
      And in combat M4 equipped troops have engaged targets out to and some times beyond 1000 yards. claims of it's lack of stopping power come from failing to get the perceived idea of a one hit kill. Which is a falsehood brought about by pop culture.

    2. wait! what! you're engaging a mansized target at 1000 yards with an M4? the M4 has equal performance to the M-16A4? the Israeli's as an example when it comes to what US fighting men need?

      wow. really? seriously? the Israeli's do all kinds of things right but when it comes to weapon handling they're kinda weird...and thats a guy that likes the Israelis! the Tavor was perfect but they jacked it up by trying to get cute with the X95. the M4 as a "battle rifle" is a joke. the M-16A5 (simply add a collapsible stock and lighten up the rails) will make a good, real rifle better. the M4 was born from an attempt by Gen Shin to revitalize the Army. it had nothing to do with effectiveness and everything to do with image. SOCOM was using the M4 so the big Army had to get its grubby paws on it! the same really applies to the M4 in USMC service. for aircrew, tank crews, officers etc...the M4 is no great shakes. a real PDW is needed and there are many out there that would fill the bill much better. and with the 1000 yard range for the M4. show me. i've seen people hit shots at long range with a pistol but they were basically trick shots that no one would attempt in a real life situation. if the M4 is that capable then we should do away with the DM and simply work on marksmanship.

    3. When I was in the Army, we started seeing some of the first M4s on ranges, nobody could hit the 300 yard target. Many could barely get the 200 yard target, the infantry guys who had them first hated it since they had a much harder time getting high scores on the range compared to us aviation guys that still fielded the old M16A2.

  7. Fuck, that's a awesome site!
    I even found info about Brazilian tanks there.


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