M1 Abrams Reference

Developed in the early 1980s as a replacement for the M60 series of Main Battle Tanks in use by the US Army and US Marine Corps. The M1 Main Battle Tank, christened as the “Abrams” in honor of WW2 tank commander and US Army General, Creighton Abrams, the M1 Abrams is a Tthird-Generation main battle tank that incorporated some of the most advanced armor and weapon systems developed by the western powers, including the “Burlington” composite armor from Great Britain and the 120mm smoothbore main gun from Germany.

The tank was born from experience gained from the joint US/German MBT-70 Program in the 1960s, along with the XM803 project of the 1970s. Prototypes were offered by both Chrysler and General Motors for review, with the Chrysler prototype ultimately selected in 1976.

General Motors Prototype

Chrysler prototype.

The first production vehicles were built by Chrysler Defense before General Dynamics Land Systems bought Chrysler Defense after a low initial run of 1000 XM1 Abrams. The US Army officially adopted the M1 Abrams in 1980.

XM1 Abrams - Ft. Knox, KY; 1979.

M1 Abrams column, Germany, 1982.

M1 Abrams during REFORGER 85.

M1IP Saudi Arabia 1990.

M1A1 Abrams, somewhere in the Middle East, mid to late 90s.

M1A2 Abrams, Iraq 2004.

The Abrams tank would be adopted by ten nations, including Australia, Poland, Ukraine, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco and Taiwan.

Australian M1A1 SA

Egyptian M1A1

Polish M1A2

Iraqi M1A1


Already bookmarked :+1:

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Here is an article I wrote on the old site a few years ago; 2005 (Wow! It has been almost 20 years!!). It is a little dated, but covers up through the M1A2 SEP.


The heart of the beast - the Honeywell (formerly Avco-Lycoming) AGT-1500 Gas Turbine Engine.

Engine output peaks at 1,500 hp (1,100 kW), with 2,750 lb⋅ft (3,730 N⋅m) of torque at that peak, which occurs at 3,000 rpm. The turbine can provide torque in excess of 667 lb⋅ft (904 N⋅m) at significantly lower RPMs. The engine weighs approximately 2,500 lb (1,100 kg) and occupies a volume of 40 cu ft (1.1 m3), measuring 63 in × 40 in × 28 in (1,600 mm × 1,020 mm × 710 mm).

Engine compartment.


US Marine Corps M1A1 - The former structure was separated in Four Tank Battalions - Three Active and one Reseve:

1st Tank Bn. - Part of the 1st Marine Division; assigned to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, CA. (Deactivated in 2021)

2nd Tank Bn. - Part of 2nd Marine Division; assigned to Camp Lejeune, SC. (Deactivated in 2021)

3rd Tank Bn. - Part of 3rd Marine Division; Assigned to Camp Pendleton, CA (Deactivated in 1992)

4th Marine Tank Bn. (Reserve) - Part of the 4th Marine Division; assigned at US Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center, San Diego, CA (Deactivated in 2020)

According to a Marine Times article in 2021 LINKED HERE; The commandant of the Marine Corps. General David H. Berger stated that “should armor be needed by Marines, he would look to the Army to provide that capability.”…

Furthermore; “Army is huge,” he said. “We need a big Army. They win our wars. The Marine Corps doesn’t win the wars. We win the battles.”

With that, the USMC disbanded their three Tank Battalions, giving tanker officers and enlisted men to finish their contracts 1 year earlier. The Corps had 452 tanks at its disposal. By December 2020, 323 had been transferred to the Army. The ­remaining tanks were scheduled for transfer by 2023, which included tanks in overseas storage and aboard maritime prepositioning ships, according to Marine Corps Systems Command.

Given the history of the Abrams tank in Marine Corps service; it is the opinion of this former soldier and modeler, that this decision will come back to bit them in the rear; but! I am neither a Marine nor a tanker, nor am I in the decision-making process, so maybe the brass sees something I am not seeing.


It was 4 tank battalions. The nasty reservists :sunglasses:, would participated in all Marine armor conflicts as either stand alone units or backfilling active duty units either as individuals or temporary companies. The Reveille Engagement was the largest Marine Corps tank battles in its history and fought by B Co, 4th Tank BN who had limited training and experience (less than 6 months) on the M1A1 before the fight.

4th Tank Battalion was part 4th Marine Division. HQ was at Camp Elliot near MCAS Miramar. There were west coast units at Camp Pendleton CA, 29 Palms CA, WA and ID. East Coast units were NY, FL and KY.

I agree this decision to remove armor will probably hurt Marines in future operations. While Abrams would have been last version used, they should have pivoted to something lighter that still had a punch to support the grunts. Relying on others for support hasn’t traditionally gone well. I pray I am wrong cause being right means more brothers in Vallhalla before they need to be.


Kuwaiti M1A2K



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By comparison, how much does a Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 power pack weigh?

The AGT-1500 engine weighs 2500 pounds; it’s a multi-fuel gas turbine engine. The Cr. 2 has a twin turbo diesel V12, just like the Leopard 2. Can’t find tech specs for either of them on Wikipedia except that the Leopard engine is an MTU MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled V12 twin-turbo diesel and the cr. 2 has a Perkins CV12-6A V12 diesel.

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Understood, I was interested in hearing how much they differ in weight. My guess is that they are substantially heavier.

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Ballpark KG weight for the Perkins is around 1900 to 2200 I think (thats a pack ready to be fitted 1 for 1 in the field)


Here are some drawings of the basic vehicles:



Here are a couple nice websites:
105mm Gun Tank M1 Abrams (afvdatabase.com)
105mm Gun Tank M1 Abrams ‘Improved Performance’ (M1IP) - Tank Encyclopedia (tanks-encyclopedia.com)


M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams in Polish service.


The latest fielded version is the M1A2 SEP v3. It has extra frontal armor on the turret, larger towing point front and rear, a low profile RWS (Remote Weapons System), hangers for reactive armor, Under Armor APU (UAAPU), larger rear mud flaps, is designed to fit TROPHY APS, and a few other upgrades.

New two-tone green camo.


As mentioned above, the M1A2 SEP v3 is also able to mount the TROPHY Active Protection System (APS) designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems from Israel. Below is TROPHY on an M1A2 SEP v2 during testing. I have not been able to find any actually fitted to an M1A2 SEP v3 yet. This is not unexpected though since TROPHY is like TUSK and only fitted as need and usually only in combat situations.

There is a new kit of it by Rye Field Models, with TROPHY.

I’m used to the various sand-colored pieces on NATO-cam Abrams, but I’m not seeing the logic of the two toned brownish green/green on the Sep V3 tanks.

I believe it has to do with being harder to see in thermal imagers.

Does Trophy have reloads? I can’f figure out if the launcher can reload itself from that long side box, or if a crew member has to get out and reload it, meaning Trophy is a “one-shot” launcher before reloading is required. “Iron Fist” fires two interceptors before requiring reloading.


On the Merkava it looks like this


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Thanks, Frenchy! :grinning: