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M1 Tank in 2000s: The War on Terror and Beyond

September 11, 2001 is a date that will never be forgotten in the annals of American History. Muslim extremists highjacked commercial airliners which were then flown into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.


M1 Abrams History Quick Jump
1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Thousands of innocent civilians perished and war fever spread throughout the United States. The M1 tank was at the forefront of the fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Things went less smoothly than in Operation Desert Storm. During operations in Iraq and Afghanistan 80 M1 tanks were damaged badly enough to warrant transport back to the United States for repair. A total of 15 M1 tank crewmen were lost during the war. According to Department of Defense statistics, 70 percent of M1 tanks out of 1,100 used were damaged during the war. Of course, any loss of life is tragic, but 15 deaths out of over 700 battle-damaged tanks are remarkable.

M1 Abrams Tank
An M1 Abrams Main Battlefield Tank (MBT) from the 1st Battalion, 632nd Armor, fires down the Multi-Purpose Training Range (MPTR) at Fort McCoy.
M1 Abrams Tank
A row of M1/A1 Main Battle Tanks fire at targets on Range A during the Combined Live fire Exercise (CALFEX) conducted near Mubarak Military City, in support of joint training Exercise BRIGHT STAR 01/02.
M1 Abrams Tank
During a sandstorm, a US Marine Corps (USMC) Regimental Combat Team 5 M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) rigged with an M1 Mine Clearing Blade System, is engulfed in blowing sand in Kuwait (KWT), during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
M1 Abrams Tank
On the road to Baghdad, a US Marine Corps (USMC) M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) lay destroyed after a firefight with Iraqi troops, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
M1 Abrams Tank
A US Army (USA) M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) and its crewmembers from Charlie Company 3-1, 270th Armor, 1st Armored Division (AD), relax before re-deploying, at a forward-deployed location in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
M1 Abrams Tank
US Army (USA) M1A1 Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank), and personnel from A Company (CO), Task Force 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment (1-35 Armor), 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Armored Division (AD), pose for a photo under the “Hands of Victory” in Ceremony Square, Baghdad, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The Hands of Victory monument built at the end of the Iran-Iraq war marks the entrance to a large parade ground in central Baghdad. The hand and arm are modeled after former dictator Saddam Hussein’s own and surrounded by thousands of Iranian helmets taken from the battlefield. The swords were made from the weapons of dead Iraqi soldiers, melted and recast into the 24-ton blades.
M1 Abrams Tank
U.S. Army Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, heads out for a mission onboard an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) on Oct. 27, 2004, at Forward Operating Base MacKenzie, Samarra, Iraq. (USAF Photo by Staff Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
A M1 Abrams tank from 1st Platoon, Apache Troop, 2-5 Cav, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav Div rolls back out to the fight during combat operation in Fallujah on Nov. 10, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Johancharles Van Boers) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
A M1 Arbrams tank from Apache Troop, 2-7 Cav, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav Div rolls back out to the fight after refueling during combat operation in Fallujah on Nov. 12, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Johancharles Van Boers) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
A M1 Abrams Tank from Apache Troop, 2-7 Cav, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav Div rolls back out to the fight after refueling during combat operation in Fallujah on Nov. 12, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Johancharles Van Boers) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Julio Escudero, Charlie Troop, 1-4 Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division, waits in an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank at the front gate of Forward Operating Base Wilson, Iraq, on Nov.14, 2004, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Shane A Cuomo) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
U.S. Army (USA) Staff Sgt. Hector R. Meza of Anvil Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, checks the identification of an Iraqi driver at a traffic control check point at Ad Duluiyah, Iraq on Dec. 21, 2004. In the background is a USA M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT). (USAF Photo by Tech. Sgt. Lee Harshman) (Released).
M1 Abrams Tank
On February 14, 2006 a M1 Tank from 2-506 Infantry from FOB Falcon maintained security over Observation Point Red in Southern Baghdad. OP Red was hit by an incoming mortar the night before.
(Released)
US Army photo by SSG Kevin L. Moses Sr.
M1 Abrams Tank
On February 14, 2006 a M1 Tank from 2-506 Infantry from FOB Falcon maintained security over Observation Point Red in Southern Baghdad. OP Red was hit by an incoming mortar the night before.
(Released)
US Army photo by SSG Kevin L. Moses Sr.
M1 Abrams Tank
On February 14, 2006 soldiers from A Company, 2-506 INF (Band of Brothers) continued Operation Astar Gate in Southern Baghdad. An M1 Tank followed down a road as a soldier checked with a metal detection for IEDs. This road was know for having powerful, deadly IEDs. A Navy Combat Photograhper, PH1 Samuel Shavers follwed him.
(Released)
US Army photo by SSG Kevin L. Moses Sr
M1 Abrams Tank
An M1 Abraham tank provides front security for a convoy bringing construction material to a traffic control point near a brick factory in Narwan, Iraq on April 11, 2006. This tank and crew is part of 1-68th Armor Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. The 4th Infantry Division is currently deployed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade) (Released)
M1 Abrams Tank
An M1 Abraham tank provides front security for a convoy bringing construction material to a traffic control point near a brick factory in Narwan, Iraq on April 11, 2006. This tank and crew is part of 1-68th Armor Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. The 4th Infantry Division is currently deployed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Teddy Wade) (Released)

The Future of the M1 Abrams Tank

The U.S. eyed developing a new Main Battle Tank but apparently has decided to improve the M1 rather than taking that more expensive route. In December of 2020, the Department of Defense announced the awarding of an over $4 billion contract to General Dynamics to produce the M1A2C SEPv3 tanks. The upgrade will improve main gun accuracy, provide a new power system, implement smart munitions ability which can be programmed via data link, a jammer to disable improvised explosive devices, an Israeli developed system to counter incoming rockets to missiles, ballistic armor upgrades, and an auxiliary power unit. The 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood received the first of the M1A2 SEPv3 tanks in May of 2020. The U.S. military plans to purchase over 2,100 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks.

Plans are already in the works to develop a M1A2 SEPv4 (or M1A2D) upgrade. This upgrade is projected to include meteorological monitoring capability to enhance main gun accuracy, a multi-purpose tank round, laser warning receivers and integrated on-board networks. One of the improved ammunition goals is to produce a round that can be set to anti-tank or anti-helicopter mode. There is also reportedly a special round in the works to deal with human wave warfare.


M1 Abrams History Quick Jump
1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

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