A replacement for the Abrams?

It’s not a serious secret that TACOM is developing a new tank to replace the M1 series. I saw video of them up in Michigan fooling around with several engineers from the private sector as well as TACOM engineers. Location is close but also off a few miles. (I’ve been there).

Not much to see with the new tank as expected. What is nice is that they are finally asking the end users what they liked and what they didn’t like of course. Then incorporating it into something new. The new tanks (several) have been built, and there are three or four concepts. Now a lot of the new ideas are actually being adapted into the M1 to get a one on one feel. They are doing mock combat with real T72 tanks and various Warsaw Pact pieces of equipment. They also had the latest (Greatest?) M3a3’s and some other things.


When will Trumpeter release them as 1/35th kits?

Edit: See comment by @barkingdigger below
How on earth could I have missed that one
…duh! :man_facepalming:

As soon as Chinese Intelligence can send over Trumpeter mold making engineers to see the prototypes… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I think anti drone technology has to be a priorty along with anti tank missles. This problem may be a reason the Marines are ditching tanks.

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Yes. They are generally obsolete, except facing other tanks.

After Sinai in 1973, many were pronouncing the tank obsolete and a thing of the past due to heavy casualties in the first few days. But most of those IDF tank losses were due to poor tactics and lack of infantry & artillery support. A week later, those were addressed and balance restored to the battlefield. Many of the Russian tank losses in this war are from similar lack of combined arms ops. The Russian infantry are quite reluctant to engage their Ukrainian tank hunting counterparts.
It will be interesting to see how the drones are dealt with. What sort of countermeasures will be created and employed?


design and shape are not final as of today

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it’s in it, and was integrated onto an M1

Then Tamiya will make a kit now! :wink:


I think the power pack is finished right now, and quite a few of the designed in errors (machining wise) are gone. A gear box when 30 units a month were made cost about $447,000 each (1988). i’m thinking the new design will come in at somewhere around 50% of that price tag. Most people fail to understand that price tag. You have the same amount of machine labor whether you make 10 or 100 units a month. The more you make the cheaper the end product becomes. The final drives have always been a bear to make! The housing is made from a very high grade armor plate steel. This means it will just get tougher and tougher as you machine it. The carrier assembly is extremely ill designed, but well made if it meets the specs. The actual carrier housing has a minimum rockwell of 41 with no maximum!! Just insane. TACOM owns the machines, and those carriers alone eat up machine spindles like they were going out of style ($$$$). Bearings only last about six weeks at best in them. But TACOM won’t make any changes in the design. The new carrier is going to be two hundred percent easier to machine, and the same for the housings as well. It’s your tax dollars! I’ve seen the gear box all apart, but the hydro static drives were not present. A lot of money went into them as well. The old gear box was a TACOM design that wouldn’t work. We redesigned the hydro static drive to work, and they belong to us. Not perfect, but they of course worked. The new gear box is 100% rebuildable, while the older one wasn’t.


If I recall correctly, after October War it was determined that the vast majority of tanks were destroyed by other tanks as opposed to ATGM’s. After Grozny and more recent US ops there were those who believed that tanks could not survive in urban combat long enough to be effective.

Just as Grunts learn that combat is three (3) dimensional I think that all personnel will learn to scan the skies above them and the subterranean aspects for threats and how to reduce them effectively.


For those suggesting HB or Trumpeter for the inevitable 1:35 kit, I’d say a new tank made by TACOM needs to be kitted by… TAKOM! :grin:

Be interesting to see what a born-21st century new tank will look like…


After I retired from Ford, I worked as a consulting engineer at TACOM from 2007 - 2015. During that period I was involved in both the program to replace the Bradley as well as the program to replace the M-113 series of vehicles.

Knowing how the Acquisition and Product Development System at TACOM works, they should be fielding these vehicles no sooner than the next 20 years of so.

The decision to replace the M-113 was made in about 2009. The OBVIOUS choice was to go with a “turret-less” Bradley with BAE as the Vendor, but it wasn’t until December of 2014 that a contract was issued for the program. First Production vehicles were delivered in September 2020. And that was the SIMPLE Program.

The Bradley was originally planned to be replaced with a Future Combat Systems (FCS) vehicle, but that was cancelled in 2009. Then there was the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) which was cancelled in 2014. (I saw the GDLS prototype and it was as big as an M-88!)

This is from WIkipedia:

"in June of 2018, the Army established the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program to replace the M2 Bradley. In October 2018, the program was re-designated as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). In July 2021, the Army awarded contracts to five teams: Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems,General Dynamics Land Systems and American/Rheinmetall Vehicles. The total value of the contract was $299.4 million. Teams will develop concept designs during the 15-month long phase.

And this is for a plan to replace the Bradley which has been thought about for over 15 years already.

The Army is LONG way from fielding a “replacement” for the M-1. Improvements? Sure. A full on replacement? I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Yes, I was surprised at how quick that the MRAPs were developed and fielded. Current DoD acquisition system is ridiculously slow.

Exactly correct. The MRAP family was created entirely OUTSIDE of the normal DoD Acquisition system. I worked in Program Executive Office, Ground Combat Systems, or PEO GCS. We had responsibility for Abrams, Bradley, Paladin and the M-88. There were a lot of folks there who either disliked the folks at PM MRAP (or were secretly envious!) because they were simply able to cut through all the red tape and get whatever they wanted implemented immediately.

Back in the seventies or late sixties the Army and Germany developed the tank that was to become the end all tank. (MBT70 or something like that). It didn’t do half of what was projected. Then they sort gave it a quick redesign while doing away with some of the troublesome high tech ideas. It was OK but also not what they wanted. In the early 1970’s they opened contracts again. There were three designs that I know of, but one never got much off the drawing board (it did get built later). Sometime in the late seventies (I’m thinking 1977) two prototypes evolved, one from Chrysler and the other was G.M. Similar but not reall all that much alike. One was gas turbine powered and the other used a diesel engine. Gear boxes were almost identical (per specs), and the final drives were the same. The tracks road wheels and gun and things were the same. Fast forward a year or two, and Chrysler gets the contract (actually closer to a year). We already knew we were doing the power pack and final drives. In late 1977, we start building what is known as Plant 14, and at the sametime we start the tooling process. Machines were starting to come in before the concrete was laid down, and were secured away all over Plant 12. Lots of interest as large machine centers were something brand new to everybody. In the winter of 78/79 we set some of the main case input machines on a temporary basis (think it was a dozen altogether). In the early spring of 79 the concrete was felt to be good enough, so we started pouring isolation pads for the machine centers. Getting about two a week done. We start setting the machines all over the place. Nobody has ever seen that many CNC machine centers under one roof with the exception of maybe Catapillar. It takes roughly thirty days to get one of the big machines up to where it can cut metal (spend about three weeks on alignments alone). Around the first of June we are cutting our first main case and valve bodies. There are many glitches and at least two companies are way behind on delivery. TACOM steps in and forces the companies to get their machines done. At about this time we get inquiries as to just when can they expect shipments (we have not even started the assembly area). We simply send the parts over to experimental test area and they put them together. We start out by shipping a couple gear boxes and some final drives. Then it was six or eight and so on till we actually did 95 units a month. How things were going in Lima I can’t say as we have our own bag of worms to deal with. An engineer decided to save a lot of money by taking in a bunch of Fellows gear generators to cut the main bull gear inside the gear box. Whoever rebuilt them didn’t know what he was doing. We have to take them off line and rebuild them one at a time (that was about a years worth of work). Then there was a political issue going on between TACOM and us over the purchase of four Japanese gear grinders. They didn’t understand gear development technology (TACOM), and those gear grinders were the sole grinders in the world that could do the gear pitch. That ate up three months till somebody that knew what he was doing stepped in (TACOM’s side). So now we just about got everything there to build power packs. The gear grinders had to be retooled a couple times before we’re happy. We’re right on top of 1980, and I’d guess we’re shipping 20 a month. More than they need in Lima. The whole operation was developed with the idea of building 100 tanks a month max. We could do 90 without too much trouble. Then TACOM decides they want us to do 150 a month! It takes roughly a week to completely do that main case alone. You get one case every eight hours whether you want it or not. We go on a buying binge again. Two years out we have all these machines set and running (remember we were also in a learning curve). Never built 150 power packs, but did 105 a few times. We go to war and TACOM is in the panic mode, and they simply cannot understand that with their running this stuff seven days a week @ three shifts a day; it’s wearing out. Now we are learning to do semi rebuilds out on the floor to get them up to the task. We start a rebuild program with a lot of upgrades in the process (some machine don’t even resemble what they used to look like). About that time I quit working on the floor 80% of the time, and concentrate on the rebuild program.
Tacom announces the fact that the X1100 project is a twenty year max project. They decide to incorporate other military projects into the building to keep the equipment running (actually goes bad setting still). Spend almost a billion dollars on a bunch of new equipment, and the project is cancelled! We have a lot of brand new equipment that we can’t use (think about 2004). Last I heard it’s just setting there rotting. I cleared out and went across the street to where the serious money was at, and only went over there two or three times. Looked like a ghost town of lost tax dollars. I’ve come to the conclusion that if TACOM has their nose it it; it’s a lost cause.

If they use that new power pack I wrote about, they’ll have to rebuild virtually everything in there. You do make good money, but not great money. Commercial projects are where the money is at. (almost double)
But was fun while it lasted.

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It’s one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it (fielded)” type of things… :face_with_peeking_eye:

The replacement for the M1 Abrams has been around for decades with the 140mm M1 Abrams, the FMBT, the MBT with the crew in the hull (as seen on the Discovery Channel with the diamond-shaped tank barrel but the Russians with their T-14 “Armata” got the design in first), the FCS, the RCV-Heavy, and “ooga-ooga-booga-booga” talk.

There are graphics of the M1 tank replacement leaked.



I say that it makes sense…the M1 turret is “maxed out” in terms of space, weight, power, capabilities, etc.

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Is there any point to developing any new ground vehicles when a drone can pop them so easily and at a much greater cost benefit? And drones don’t kill the pilot if shot down.


“King of the Killing Zone- the story of the M-1, America’s Super Tank” by Orr Kelly

Explains the complete development history, if that’s your thing.

Also, I was on an M-1Ip with #LZ5400 on the back.

Was that your era in Lima?

never worked in Lima Ohio. Just visited it a couple times and came over by request on some machine upkeep issues. I’ve also been in the Warren tank plant a couple times that I can think of. Should have been in there a lot more, but wasn’t that interested. I used to go to Warren Tech to study what they knew about artificial intelligence every Tuesday morning, and the tank plant was near by. The one I never got into was the Cadillac plant in Cleveland Ohio. By the time I had the time it was shuttered. Of course there was FMC out west, but actually had little interest in it. My main goal (at the time) was to see how each of them used robotics, and take what I could from them while giving them what I could. U.S. automotive plants was where the technology was at. Most of the military plants were still in the dark ages. Of course that would be because of the volume of production alone.

An interesting thing about the GM version of the Abrams was in foreign sales. Israel was developing the Merkava tank and they actually drove the GM and Chrysler tanks. They told G.M. that they’d buy them if it went into production. Their order alone would have paid for 25% of the tooling cost. There were five or six other countries interested in it as well.