More on the Abrams X

More on the Abrams X. I will continue to add more articals and details about the pathway to the M1A3. If you find additional information and articles, please post here so we can keep a running log.

AbramsX: General Dynamics’ Pioneering Tank and the Debate on Modern Warfare’s Future (

OK, I’ll bite.

I think that Laser Warning Receivers (LWRs) are possible on the M1E3/M1A3…after all, the M1A2SEPv4 already has LWRs on the turret.

I also think that 360-degree cameras are also very possible for “See through armor” and that shouldn’t be that hard to implement. The M1A3’s tank crews don’t need a fancy helmet like the F-35 pilots…they can use regular TV monitors. Already newer NATO AFVs have 360-degree cameras.

A new hybrid engine…sure…with more space for batteries and a generator in the engine compartment.

As for mounting a 30mm RWS autocannon on the turret roof for drone-defense, one has to recall that one has to get out to reload a 30mm and the 30mm ammo is bulky and heavy. I think a smaller caliber for drone defense might be more suitable, be it 12.7mm to 25mm. DoD needs to create airbursting shells for smaller calibers. The concept is good as airbursting shells can hit enemy troops in trenches also, but the 30mm profile is high.

As for M1A3 loitering munitions, sure, if the M1A3 has a remote turret with space for them. One doesn’t want a drone to return to the M1A3 to risk giving away the position of the MBT. Loitering munitions are one-way ISR kamikaze drones and will always reach out farther than the tank’s main gun. Also, unlike ATGMs, loitering munitions do not need a lock-on before launch…they can roam until they find a target or just slam into the ground if no target is discovered.

Crew in hull—sure—makes sense…and M1A2SEPs are all started from junky M1s anyway so a complete rebuild can put the M1A3’s crew in the hull.

There is no talk of the future armor package so one wonders if Chobham is implemented, and if so, for the hull and not the turret or for both? And if Chobham is used for the M1A3, would the top get Chobham? How thick would the armor sandwich be? So the M1A3 might want to reposition the armor sandwich around for more top-attack defense. The M1 Abrams only have Chobham on the front faces of the hull and turret.

I also think the M1A3 should have more EW/ECM and sensors. Anti-IED and jammers are essential now so the AbramsX seems to lack these. The Active Protection System on the AbramsX is the 30mm as there doesn’t seem to be any APS, but one has to go to the AUSA show or ask GDLS questions about the AbramsX. A RWS turret can hide many features if it is streamlined and has all these pop out and pop up panels.

A lot of the technology is already possible and the USMC now has uncrewed JLTVs that are remote controlled (NMESIS, ROGUE-FIRES, and Long-Range Fires). Will the M1A3 be optionally manned? That delves into the US Army’s RCV-Heavy tank concept though, not a MBT in the M1 Abrams family that are usually manned.

These are my thoughts on the AbramsX to M1E3/M1A3. I didn’t really think or write what I believe the M1A3 should have that isn’t in the AbramsX. That is another story and leads to the Future MBT (FMBT) which the US Army canceled a long time ago. FMBT does not use the Abrams family and Jane’s Defense had an Israeli armor officer give his winning FMBT design concept a 60mm mortar in the turret back in the 1990s.

Component Technology Testbed (CATTB) = Fiscal Year 1993


At which point do you favor cheaper simpler over fewer but more expensive? The “fancy” M60A2 didn’t last long.

Remember, “quantity is a quality”, ask the Russians / (WWII) Allies and Germans.

@TopSmith I don’t know my WW2 military history, but a famous WW2 US Army general (Abrams or Patton, I’m guessing) said, “Make killer tanks, not tank killers.” He was referring to how and why the US Army had to call upon the M10 Tank Destroyer when the M4 Sherman’s main gun wouldn’t do. The open turret of the M10 made Tank Destroyers very vulnerable to the US Tank Destroyer crews. Ever since that comment, the West has raced ahead to make “Killer tanks.” The M26 “Pershing” with its 90mm gun is an example.

It’s similar to the US Navy answering the question, “Why build a frigate when a light (not full size) destroyer will do?” Now retired Chief of US Naval Operations, Admiral Gilday, replied, “You want both. But it has to be a Navy that we can afford.”

The USMC is going the “Tank killer” route with JLTVs and ATGMs, or LAV-ATs, or ARVs with long-range precision fires and loitering munitions. The USMC believes whacking an enemy tank from far away is better than a 120mm main gun in which a USMC MEU only has four heavy M1A1s that don’t come in with the first wave.

The US Army always believed in attacking so “Overmatch” is one aspect of MBTs. While the US Army may not solve issues in the battlefield (unfortunately), the US Army learns from battlefield lessons and creates new solutions. One example is the 5.56mm M4 carbine, M-16A2, and M249 SAW were outranged and overmatched by the 7.62mm AK-47 in Afghanistan. The US Army had no solution—they can’t match the range of the Russian/Soviet 7.62mm AK-47, PKM, and RPD. Now after Afghanistan, the US Army is fielding the 6.8mm NGSW to match the range of the AK-47 and penetrate the body armor worn by peer nations. USSOCOM is testing the .308 round as well.

The Abrams X is a tech demonstrator so there are a lot of maybes on it. Reference the counter/anti drone/UAV system, agree 30mm maybe too big, if the targeting system is good, smaller caliber with pellets/frag may work. It is only a point defense system so it just has to be good enough, not exquisite. On board drone, not sure on this yet, all kinds of SWAP aspects that need to be sorted, and other than recon, what does 1 drone do for the crew? The other stuff is weight, protection and power trade offs, can you get the weight down and reduce need for bulk fuel? The M10 may provide some insights over time.

The M10 “Booker,” I believe, costs more per vehicle than the M1A2SEP.

The Sig rifle is good a 4 to 500 meters. Is it better than an M4 in an urban environment?