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    HomeMilitaryU.S. Army Innovates Lighter, Tech-Enhanced Abrams Tank for Modern Warfare

    U.S. Army Innovates Lighter, Tech-Enhanced Abrams Tank for Modern Warfare

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    Tanks Abrams in Latvia. International Military Training “Saber Strike 2017”, Adazi, Latvia, from 3 to 15 June 2017. US Army Europe-led annual International military exercise Saber Strike Field Training Exercise in Latvia.

    In a sweeping overhaul aimed at boosting battlefield agility and survivability, the U.S. Army is charting the future of armored warfare with a preliminary design contract for the lighter and more technologically sophisticated M1E3 Abrams tank variant.

    This move comes as military strategists analyze lessons from Ukraine and anticipate the demands of future conflicts.

    ESK Mungo (Multicar M30/FUMO)” by yetdark is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman, spearheading the combat vehicle modernization, outlined a vision wherein the M1E3 and the M30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle could be fielded simultaneously to an armored brigade combat team.

    “I think that there would be real goodness for the Army if M30 combat vehicles and M1E3 tanks could be fielded simultaneously to an armored brigade combat team,” Norman said. “I think the Army senior leaders are going to push us to try to align those schedules, and whether that can be done is an open question right now.”

    EAS M1A2s arrive in Grafenwoehr” by 7th Army Training Command is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    This bold initiative reflects a departure from incremental upgrade paths, as the Army last fall abandoned its M1A2 SEP version 4 program, opting instead for a substantial modernization effort.

    The result is the M1E3, an engineering change proposal with a different design approach to meet the Army’s evolving needs. The forthcoming Abrams iteration is expected to cut down on weight, aiming to dip below the 60-ton mark—ambitious considering the current variant stands at approximately 73 tons.

    “That might be a little aggressive, but we’re pretty ambitious,” he said of the goal. “In order to do that, we anticipate having to change the crew configuration, potentially looking at opportunities to go to a remote turret or an optionally manned turret in order to save the space under armor.”

    In pursuit of enhanced mobility and stealth, the M1E3 is to explore innovative power trains with hybrid capability, potentially including remote or optionally manned turrets, and an integrated active protection system.

    “Those are the types of things where different systems are being competed to pick the best of the breed that then will be integrated into an engineering change proposal prototype,” Norman added.

    Drawing insights from the conflict in Ukraine, the Army is focusing on integrated protection systems. Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean emphasized that “The Abrams Tank can no longer grow its capabilities without adding weight, and we need to reduce its logistical footprint.”

    The U.S. Army is slated to transfer 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, demonstrating commitment to support and learning from the ongoing military challenges faced there.

    The forthcoming M1E3 is expected to be a technological marvel, possibly incorporating elements from the AbramsX concept, like the new turret, main gun, autoloader, and a hybrid-electric engine.

    The tech demonstrator’s features, such as an unmanned turret and hybrid-electric power, offer a sneak peek into the prospective capabilities of the new Abrams variant.

    In preparation for the high-tech overhaul, the Army and General Dynamics Land Systems will conduct a series of technology maturation efforts, including autoloader capabilities and active protection systems.

    Šaušana no tankiem “M1 Abrams”” by Latvijas armija is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The final timeline for the M1E3’s development will likely crystallize by fall, as the Army and the defense contractor work out the desired specifications.

    Relevant articles:
    A lighter, high-tech Abrams tank is taking shape, Defense News
    The U.S. Army Announces Updates For the Next M1 Abrams Tank, popularmechanics.com
    America’s next main battle tank may be a slimmed-down, high-tech version of the iconic Abrams, Business Insider
    Army wants lighter Abrams tank with new tech for future wars, Defense One

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