US Army fast tracks Abrams main battle tank modernization

US Army fast tracks Abrams main battle tank modernization
The M1 Abrams main battle tank
The M1 Abrams main battle tank
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The M1 Abrams main battle tank
The M1 Abrams main battle tank

Based on lessons learned in Ukraine, the US Army has announced that it's abandoning its current modernization program for its M1A2 Abrams main battle tank in favor of a more fundamentally upgraded version called the M1E3.

Despite decades of technological advances, the tank remains the ramrod of armies. Its combination of armor, firepower, and maneuverability makes it a formidable battle platform as it smashes through defensive lines, allowing the main force to advance.

However, the extended war in Ukraine has proven that 21st century conflicts can raise very old problems. Though both Ukraine and the invading Russian forces have heavy tanks, achieving maneuverability has turned out to be nearly impossible. Between mud, poor logistical support, anti-tank drones, and a host of other problems, the war of maneuver has turned into a static war of attrition like something out of the First World War, with tanks reduced to the status of mobile artillery.

Given that this has included the reported loss of a Challenger II tank, which has never been destroyed in combat before, the US Army is accelerating its armor modernization program.

Until now the policy was to produce the M1A2 System Enhancement Package version 4, which is an incremental improvement of the Abrams tank that essentially involves installing new equipment while tweaking the existing structure. Though no details have been released, the M1E3 Abrams is designed to be lighter, tougher, more agile along with features already incorporated into the M1A2.

According to the Army, the current tranche of M1A2 SEPv3 will continue in production, but will then be replaced by the M1E3. The new tank will have an open architecture and modular systems for faster updates. It's also designed for simplified logistics, allowing for faster deployment.

"The Abrams Tank can no longer grow its capabilities without adding weight, and we need to reduce its logistical footprint," said Major General Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems. "The war in Ukraine has highlighted a critical need for integrated protections for Soldiers, built from within instead of adding on."

Source: US Army

Cab we state the obvious and leave out the marketing. The Leo 2 had all that modularity decades ago. The M2 gets way to many creds for very little performance . And going up against some dirt old Iraqi tanks two decades ago how is that an accomplishment
It seems like tanks are just expensive targets for cheap drones and targeted munitions. Perhaps it's time to consider whether their day has come and gone.
Which tank models are powered by turbines instead of diesel? As I understand it, the turbines must be run continuously, use up all their fuel in about 8 hours, and then must be refueled. Since that sounds like a logistical nightmare, maybe try refitting to diesel again, instead of a turbine. Another option is to use batteries, which can act as ballast, and armor protection. Just make the lithium blow outward when hit. They might also need charging every eight hours, and in winter only 40% charge can be used, but you could just install a charging station every few miles powered by diesel generators, or a small nuclear plant.
Ukrainian tanks (Russian and Western tanks), esp. with advance Western tanks will work differently than their intended purpose because other than the drone dropping bombs and mines, Ukraine is not allowed to enter Russia to finish the fight even if they can because of the threat of nuclear attack from Russia. Tanks are effective if there are no limits to their operations where they are able to roll over enemy areas and hold them as their original purpose are.
CDE : With the development of active protection systems such as Trophy, tanks are still a useful way to project force. I wonder if the West has hesitated to provide Trophy protection to the tanks being provided to Ukraine,possibly to keep the tech out of Russian hands? Trophy would cure the problem of suicide drones taking out armored vehicles. The only thing it can't defeat is APDS rounds,which would be fired by another tank.
I do hope they make the base model completely autonomous and diesel-powered.
I worked on the first M-1 tanks at the Armor Center on Fort Knox back in 1980. The tankers loved the fire control system, which was reliable and super-advanced compared to older tanks, and they particularly liked the machine guns, which were a big improvement over previous ones. But....they absolutely detested the jet engine and wanted a diesel. Like the direct gas system in the M-4 carbine, the turbine in the M-1 has always been a bad deal for soldiers. They also did not like the loss of the drivers escape hatch. Many years later I met an ex-tanker who was trapped in an M-1 that had flipped into a ditch for hours.
The two really interesting tank designs are the Swedish S-Tank and the Israeli Merkava. The S-Tank was retired long ago but the Merkava soldiers on. The Merkava concept is really what the U.S. should have went with. The whole rear of the tank is a compartment that is filled with the main gun ammo or extra fuel tanks, or a mix, or a squad of soldiers. A variation of this concept with no turret like the S-Tank could carry even more ammo/fuel/troops. So a mix of these two types of chassis would be very efficient.
"It seems like tanks are just expensive targets for cheap drones and targeted munitions. Perhaps it's time to consider whether their day has come and gone."
Maybe cheap drones and precision munitions are the way to win a war now. Could be. The same argument can be made for manned combat aircraft. But as it stands, the main gun is like a giant sniper rifle and a tank carries far more of the much cheaper rounds than vehicles that carry missiles. The armor means artillery fragments and blast effect or any kind of machine gun have little effect and it provides all terrain mobility, communications, and sensors. It combines many things onto one platform.