A soldier in a M1A1 Abrams tank
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The U.S. Army Is Signing Off The M1A1 Abrams Tank
In 2023, the U.S. Army announced that it’s canceling plans to update its existing M1 Abrams tank in favor of developing an all-new battle tank called the M1E3 Abrams.
The Army observed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and concluded the existing Abrams was too heavy, fuel-thirsty, and vulnerable to modern enemy weapons.
Since the new vehicle isn’t expected to be operational until the early 2030s, the U.S. is following through with plans to send 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Named after Vietnam War-era General Creighton Abrams, the M1 has served as the main battle tank for the U.S. military since the early 1980s.
One distinguishing feature of the M1 Abrams is its propulsion system: a 1,500-horsepower gas turbine engine that helped give it its reputation for speed, reliability, and quiet operation.
However, the turbine engine is also infamous for its fuel consumption, which could be a liability in Ukraine without the proper logistics support to keep the tanks going.
This fuel consumption could worsen if Ukrainian troops fit the M1s with additional armor scavenged from damaged Russian tanks.
With the M1 Abrams tank soon being replaced with the M1E3s, this could be the last ride for the vulnerable vehicle.