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The Us Xm-1 Program (History, Competition, Decision)


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Yes, ARNG M1A1SA's will also recive similiar upgrade. US Army do not use any M1A1's at this moment, only M1A2SEP v2's.

 

:huh:

 

You mean US Army has transitioned to an all-A2SEP force? Since when? And all those A1s are either ARNG or USMC? Interesting.

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Front and back roadwheels do the most suspension "stuff" - IIRC the M60 only has friction snubbers on the front and rear roadwheels

In addition to their torsions bars, the M60 does have shocks and volute springs at #1 and #6, the M60A1/2/3 have shocks at #1, #2, #6 with volute springs at #1 and #6.

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Yes, ARNG M1A1SA's will also recive similiar upgrade. US Army do not use any M1A1's at this moment, only M1A2SEP v2's.

 

:huh:

 

You mean US Army has transitioned to an all-A2SEP force? Since when? And all those A1s are either ARNG or USMC? Interesting.

 

Yup, the plan is that US Army will have active tank fleet of approx ~2,000 tanks, all of these will be M1A2SEP v2's, and the plan is preaty much completed. While ARNG will have approx ~1,000 M1A1SA's + single ABCT with M1A2SEP v2's. The plan for US Army and ARNG is to completely transition to the modular 2 variants fleet both for M1 and M2.

 

This means US Army - M1A2SEP v2 + M2A3, and ARNG - M1A1SA + M2A2ODS-SA.

 

USMC have 3 active tank battalions (58 tanks each) of M1A1's (HA, HC) that are currently upgraded to the M1A1FEP variant, I think that upgrade will be completed to the end of 2013.

 

Rest of tank fleet (approx ~5,000-6,000) is in storage and some of them are offered for export.

Edited by Damian
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Yup, the plan is that US Army will have active tank fleet of approx ~2,000 tanks, all of these will be M1A2SEP v2's, and the plan is preaty much completed. While ARNG will have approx ~1,000 M1A1SA's + single ABCT with M1A2SEP v2's. The plan for US Army and ARNG is to completely transition to the modular 2 variants fleet both for M1 and M2.

 

This means US Army - M1A2SEP v2 + M2A3, and ARNG - M1A1SA + M2A2ODS-SA.

 

USMC have 3 active tank battalions (58 tanks each) of M1A1's (HA, HC) that are currently upgraded to the M1A1FEP variant, I think that upgrade will be completed to the end of 2013.

 

Rest of tank fleet (approx ~5,000-6,000) is in storage and some of them are offered for export.

 

Thanks for the info. Pardon my ignorance but I'm really really confused designations of M1's... Could you Damian please dis-confuse me?

 

- I know the basic stuff: XM1, M1, IPM1, M1A1... what is the time line after those?

- M1A1 HA (Heavy Armor) is the one with new tracks and DU armor? M1A1 HC? (Heavy Common?) Whats the difference?

- Original M1A2's were the new all digital Force XXI vehicles that had TC's Thermals?...SEP? (System Enchacement Package?) What does it include? What are the differences between v1's&v2's?

- M1A1AIM (abbreviation of...?) are these partly digitalized old M1A1's (similar than M1A2's but modernized A1's not brand new ones?)? how does it differ from M1A1SA (abbreviation of...?)? What are the mod for M1A1SA from original M1A1?

- These TUSK (Tank Urban Survivability Kit). There was at least 2 versions, TUSK I and TUSK II? Did these really enter to prodction? Are these still employed in states too? In what kind of amounts?

------

- USMC bought new M1A1's in 1991 with some product line modifications (tank infantry phone, fording kit's, etc), were these plain M1A1's or HA's or HC's? How are these modernized along the years?

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The M1A1HA was original variant with Heavy Armor Package, new armor that replaced Burlington vel Chobham.

 

M1A1HC was a new variant that have some improvements for Marins but in the end as it's designation code ended as a common variant between Army and Marines. M1A1HC have Heavy Armor Package + such improvements like deep water fording kit, additional sealings and as my best guess had redesigned turret ammo racks with 2 additional rounds (so not 34 but 36 rounds total in turret bustle and 42 total in tank).

 

History with M1A2's is even more interesting, the original A2's had problems with IVIS, the system was generally liked but had buggy software, somewhere I seen rumors that not even all A2's had IVIS installed or functional, however great improvement was CITV. The SEP upgrade upgrades... well everything that needed to be upgraded in the A2. New FCS, new electrooptics with 2nd generation FLIR, more ergonomic displays, newer Heavy Armor Package, air conditioning, under armor APU or Hawker batteries etc.

 

Pictures are more worth than a thousand words.

 

Basic M1A2.

M1A2SEP.

 

As for M1A2SEP v1 and v2, from what I know the v2 have more advanced electronics and some other improvements not known to me, You need to ask guys that had contact with both of them. However I seen interesting thing on M1A2SEP v2, it have two rear cameras for driver/crew installed in new rear lights.

 

 

The M1A1AIM standard was for older tanks after general repair to the zero miles and zero hours condition, sometimes these had installed BFT system, but no really deep upgrades. The M1A1SA is opposition to the M1A1AIM. M1A1SA have the same Heavy Armor Package as M1A2SEP, it have partially upgraded FCS to the SEP standard + such goodies like thermal sight for commander weapon station cupola (good substitute for PERI/CITV but without full stabl that was introduced with improved cupola the SCWS - Stabilized Commander Weapon Station). The M1A1SA have integrated FBCB2/BFT package, and some other improvements. The designation codes means:

AIM - Abrams Integrated Management.

SA - Situational Awareness.

 

As for TUSK kits, yes there are two variants, the basic TUSK-1 and TUSK-2, TUSK-2 is really interesting and I seen these only on M1A2SEP v2.

 

The TUSK-2 have many improvements like layered ERA. Well honestly the M19 ARAT-1 is allready layered ERA but in TUSK-2 there are additional M32 ARAT-2 cassettes installed on M19 cassettes + M32's on turret sides. M32's are these "scutum" shaped ones.

 

 

However how many kits were manufactured I do not know, I suspect that in the end US Army will want to have enought kits for whole their active tank fleet, even USMC use some parts of TUSK like the addon belly armor, but I heard stories that in Iraq were seen USMC tanks with full kit installed, rarity.

 

As for M1A1's that USMC bought, well USMC was the first ones that in 1991 during ODS were using first manufactued M1A1HC's along M1A1HA's and M1A1's transferred to them from US Army inventory. How these are modernized? All M1A1's (I seen USMC using slick M1A1's for training), M1A1HA's (these that they had) and M1A1HC's will be brought to the M1A1FEP standard, M1A1FEP is USMC analog to US Army/ARNG M1A1SA.

 

Sorry for a bit chaotic answer but it is a bit late.

 

- I know the basic stuff: XM1, M1, IPM1, M1A1... what is the time line after those?

 

Uppsss I forgot the most important.

 

-XM1 (Late 1970's to 1980),

-M1 (1980-1985),

-M1IP (1984-1985),

-M1A1 (19851-1988),

-M1A1HA (1988-?),

-M1A1HC (1990-?),

-M1A1AIM (late 1990's early XXI)

-M1A1SA (2000's),

-M1A1FEP (2000's),

-M1A2 (1992-1999),

-M1A2SEP v1 (1999-2000 something),

-M1A2SEP v2 (2000 something to present day).

 

+ export variants:

Kuwait - M1A2 (but downgraded in armor protection compared to US model),

Saudi Arabia - M1A2 (as above) currently upgraded to M1A2S,

Egypt - M1A1 (dunno if it is same standard as original M1A1 from 1985),

Iraq - M1A1M/M1A1SA (downgraded in armor protection compared to US variants),

Australia - M1A1SA (custom made variant for Australia, in fact it have a bit of standarization from US Army and a bit standarization from USMC + different armor package).

 

Possible export sales:

Morocco - M1A1SA (SA means Special Armor, so it is not the same as M1A1SA used by US Army/ARNG).

Taiwan - M1A1 (deal is in very early phase, so no details known).

Greece - M1A1 (not much is known, probably slick M1A1's from US storage).

Edited by Damian
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The M1A1AIM standard was for older tanks after general repair to the zero miles and zero hours condition, sometimes these had installed BFT system, but no really deep upgrades. The M1A1SA is opposition to the M1A1AIM. M1A1SA have the same Heavy Armor Package as M1A2SEP, it have partially upgraded FCS to the SEP standard + such goodies like thermal sight for commander weapon station cupola (good substitute for PERI/CITV but without full stabl that was introduced with improved cupola the SCWS - Stabilized Commander Weapon Station). The M1A1SA have integrated FBCB2/BFT package, and some other improvements. The designation codes means:

AIM - Abrams Integrated Management.

SA - Situational Awareness.

 

As for TUSK kits, yes there are two variants, the basic TUSK-1 and TUSK-2, TUSK-2 is really interesting and I seen these only on M1A2SEP v2.

 

The TUSK-2 have many improvements like layered ERA. Well honestly the M19 ARAT-1 is allready layered ERA but in TUSK-2 there are additional M32 ARAT-2 cassettes installed on M19 cassettes + M32's on turret sides. M32's are these "scutum" shaped ones.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Damian! Wow. And here I thought A2SEP was only a small segment of the US Army Abrams tank fleet, with the A1 being the workhorse. How many of these A2SEPs are new build? How many were converted from A1s?

 

Also, that pic above, the commander's station looks like the M1A2's, but there's no CITV, so is this the M1A1SA with FBCB2/BFT?

Edited by TomasCTT
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Thanks Damian! Wow. And here I thought A2SEP was only a small segment of the US Army Abrams tank fleet, with the A1 being the workhorse. How many of these A2SEPs are new build? How many were converted from A1s?

 

New builds are only these that were converted from originally manufactured basic M1A2's. But in fact all M1A2SEP's are rebuilds from M1, M1IP, different variants of M1A1 and M1A2's... and most M1A2's in US Army service were rebuilds of the previous variants.

 

As for workhorse, currently yes, due to reduction in the active tank fleet, the workhorse of US Army is purely M1A2SEP, however in case of bigger conflict where quick mobilization will be required, workhorse still will be M1A1's, unless someone will order production of new tanks that will be in M1A2SEP standard or completely new standard (possible M1A3). ;)

 

Also, that pic above, the commander's station looks like the M1A2's, but there's no CITV, so is this the M1A1SA with FBCB2/BFT?

 

No, this is M1A2SEP, You can see a bit of CITV when You take closer look to commander machine gun mount, JW Collins is right, it is just due to the photo angle that CITV is difficult to see.

 

Actually this photo is a funny indicator how fluid are changes in the FBCB2/BFT antenna placement.

 

Here antenna is mounted to the gunner primary sight "doghouse".

 

And here antenna is placed at the turret edge behind side turret storage box.

 

So as we can see in case of M1 series, the upgrade program is very fluid, and it not only focus on big things, but also on the smaller ones.

 

 

It is a bit pity that Hunnicutt never focused more on such details in his book, so a better description of the differences between variants could be avaiable.

 

Well if I will have luck maybe in future I will try to collect informations, proper photo material and write article or book. ;)

 

BTW:

 

 

It is not my research but other guy who is making proper 3d models of the M1 series. Interesting observations.

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"It is a bit pity that Hunnicutt never focused more on such details in his book, so a better description of the differences between variants could be avaiable."

Hunnicutt's 'Abrams' wasn't published (first edition) until 1990. Many of the mod's and improvements were likely either not possible or even imagined at the time. It was, after all nearly 23 years ago.

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Hunnicutt's 'Abrams' wasn't published (first edition) until 1990. Many of the mod's and improvements were likely either not possible or even imagined at the time. It was, after all nearly 23 years ago.

 

Well it is not that I do not respect his work... damn up to this day it is the best book about M1 series avaiable (not to mention other of his books). However I still have a feeling that what it lacks is that focus on all these "screws and nuts" and the differences between variants. And back then there was preaty much differences between M1, M1IP, M1A1 and M1A1HA. Even a simple description how to seek difference between M1A1 and M1A1HA would be nice, and it is simple by just looking on to turret serial number.

 

Such things in literature might not be looking as very important, but there are people like me that like to have such details mentioned. ;)

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Hunnicutt's 'Abrams' wasn't published (first edition) until 1990. Many of the mod's and improvements were likely either not possible or even imagined at the time. It was, after all nearly 23 years ago.

 

Well it is not that I do not respect his work... damn up to this day it is the best book about M1 series avaiable (not to mention other of his books). However I still have a feeling that what it lacks is that focus on all these "screws and nuts" and the differences between variants. And back then there was preaty much differences between M1, M1IP, M1A1 and M1A1HA. Even a simple description how to seek difference between M1A1 and M1A1HA would be nice, and it is simple by just looking on to turret serial number.

 

Such things in literature might not be looking as very important, but there are people like me that like to have such details mentioned. ;)

His book was published in 1990, yes? The M1A1 didn't substantially change until late 1989 early 1990, so how was he to write about the M1A1HA (or DU) when it hadn't yet been fielded?

 

BTW, absence of visible weld lines in a phote isn't evidence of absent visible weld lines in reality.

 

Edit to add. If the early M1A1 didn't have the CITV mount, and the M1A1 Late had the CITV mount and engine deck hatches, what do you call the M1A1s with the CITV mount and no engine deck hatches? Then there is the matter of having three different windsensors, all of which were inter-changable. Have you addressed that, and how? Then there is the matter of at some point the M1 series swapped out the CWS clear vision blocks for those which would filter some laser wavelengths.

 

I don't have his book, have either you or he addressed when the final drives were changed back in the mid-1980s?

Edited by DKTanker
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His book was published in 1990, yes? The M1A1 didn't substantially change until late 1989 early 1990, so how was he to write about the M1A1HA (or DU) when it hadn't yet been fielded?

 

AFAIK M1A1HA was fielded in 1988, so untill 1989 and 1990 there should be enough of them in the units.

 

BTW, absence of visible weld lines in a phote isn't evidence of absent visible weld lines in reality.

 

Edit to add. If the early M1A1 didn't have the CITV mount, and the M1A1 Late had the CITV mount and engine deck hatches, what do you call the M1A1s with the CITV mount and no engine deck hatches? Then there is the matter of having three different windsensors, all of which were inter-changable. Have you addressed that, and how? Then there is the matter of at some point the M1 series swapped out the CWS clear vision blocks for those which would filter some laser wavelengths.

 

The drawings on these photos were not done by me as I wrote in previous post. It was done by a guy that is making as close as possible to reality 3d models of M1 series.

 

So the question should not be adressed to me. ;)

 

I don't have his book, have either you or he addressed when the final drives were changed back in the mid-1980s?

 

I will check it.

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Damian. Thank you very much. Your info is much appreciated! This cleared a lot.

 

I really hope that you could find some time to write the book or even comprehensive article - maybe sort of "last chapter" or "Chapter 1990-2015" to Hunnicutt's 'Abrams'.

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Maybe when I finally get my licentiate (I think it is called bachelor's degree in the Anglophone countries) I will have time to start collecting and systematize data + definetly I will need to go to USA for some data and to make photos... of course if Yanks will allow me to do so... You know, we Poles still have problems to get in to US. :P

 

However the additional problems are with US nomenclature when it comes to M1 series. Instead of standard A# suffix added after each upgrade, they left such designation codes only for major upgrades, while less major upgrades are covered under codes like HA, HC, SEP etc.

 

Sometimes even I'am confused, despite the fact that I spent a lot of time on learning and making own research about M1 series.

Edited by Damian
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The CITV is a big thing, and the angle of the shot looks level enough.

It's there. Look between the CWS and the gunner sight, just beyond the support arm for the .50 MG.

 

Bingo. I see it. I was expecting it to be more forward, hence I was looking at the wrong place. :)

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At what point did they dump the M85 and M60 machine guns for the M2 and M240D?

The M85 soldiered on until the last M60A1/A3 was retired. I believe the AAV7A1 was rearmed during the same time period.

 

The active army component replaced most of their M219s with M240s by 1981ish, the NG some years later. Of course no fielded M1 ever had an M219 or M85.

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I know the M73 and M219 were quite unpopular due to reliability issues, but what was the M85's flaw? Reliability and ease-of-use sacrificed to get a more compact weapon??

Lots and lots of parts. Lots of little parts, lots of parts that would wear out, some would break, and some would fall out during reassembly as you said, Jesus. Think Rube Goldberg's mentor designed a dual rate machine gun. I suppose its biggest single problem wasn't the weapon itself, it was the cupola feed chute. Still, it was hard to get around Jesus pins that would fall out of the bolt assembly to fall into the black hole of the sub-turret. Or the twenty* odd itty bitty springs smaller than in your ball point pen losing their spring. And of course there was the backplate which when it wasn't disassembling itself, hid a drive rod ready to lance you upon backplate removal.

 

Most tank commanders had a love hate relationship with their M85. They loved flipping the lever to high rate so they could hear it sing like an MG42*, they hated it for it's complexity and idiosyncrasies. On balance I was partial to the M85.

 

*So I exaggerate a bit.

Edited by DKTanker
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When did they switch from Cherry Juice hydraulic fluid to the more piss colored hydraulic fluid? Think they still had some cans of cherry in stock since someone showed me a can back in summer of 92. Unless, I don't remember correctly or someone was messing with me.

 

I very much remember sponging up the piss juice from under the turret floor since a leak was one of the deficiencies my track had before tank turn in.

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