M1 Abrams Mbt Armament Features

Rounds like the M829A2 were developed specifically to address the threats posed by a T-90 or T-80U tank, given their high level of protection provided the tanks by kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armor, and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) shaped charge rounds such as the M830, the latest version of which (M830A1) incorporates a sophisticated multi-mode electronic sensing fuse and more fragmentation which allows it to be used effectively against both armored vehicles and personnel and low-flying aircraft. Unlike the Soviet-built tanks it was designed to go up against, the Abrams uses a manual loader rather than an automatic device, due to the belief that having a person reload the gun is faster and more reliable.

The new M1028 120 mm anti-personnel canister cartridge has been brought into service early for use in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It contains 1,150 ten-millimeter tungsten shot projectiles which spread from the muzzle to produce a shotgun effect lethal out to 500 m. The tungsten balls can be used to clear enemy dismounts, break up hasty ambush sites in urban areas, clear defiles, stop infantry attacks and counter-attacks and support friendly infantry assaults by providing cover-by-fire. In addition to this the new MRM-KE (Mid-Range-Munition Kinetic Energy) is also in development. Essentially a cannon-fired guided round, it has a range of roughly 12 km and uses a KE warhead which is rocket assisted in its final phase of flight.

This is intended to be the best penetrator yet, an improvement over the US 3rd generation DU penetrator (estimated penetration 790 mm). The Abrams tank has three machine guns: 1. A .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2 machine gun in front of the commander's hatch. On the M1, M1IP and M1A1, this gun is on a powered mount and can be fired using a 3 magnification sight, known as the Commander's Weapon Station (CWS for short), while the vehicle is buttoned up. On the M1A2 & M1A2SEP, this gun is on a flex mount (seen at right), the Commander having to expose himself to fire the weapon manually.

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