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AbramsX: The New U.S. Army Tank That Will Crush Russia or China

 The M1 Abrams was a major leap forward in tank technology when it was introduced in the early 1980s. The next generation AbramsX promises to take this even further.

General Dynamics promo image of Abrams NextGen.
General Dynamics promo image of Abrams NextGen.

KEY POINT: The Army is likely closely evaluating the AbramsX and considering its innovations with a mind to ongoing plans for its next-generation tank.

Meet the AbramsX

 The M1 Abrams was a major leap forward in tank technology when it was introduced in the early 1980s. The next generation AbramsX promises to take this even further.

AI-enabled target data processing; laser-attacks; electromagnetic warfare (EW); long-range, high-fidelity targeting; breakthrough command and control systems; manned-unmanned teaming; drone controlling; autonomous navigation and sensing; hemispheric active protection systems; and course correcting ammunition are just a few of the attributes woven into the AbramsX tank variant. 

Uncovering the AbramsX

Unveiled last Fall by General Dynamics Land Systems, the AbramsX is a new Abrams variant demonstrator offered to the Army for consideration as the service weighs possibilities and options for the future of its armored vehicle force. 

The Army is likely closely evaluating the AbramsX and considering its innovations with a mind to ongoing plans for its next-generation tank, called Optionally Manned Tank. The new effort has thus far been largely conceptual but is fast evolving into the design phase. The question is, will there still be a need for a heavily armored AbramsX tank variant as the service pivots its force posture to address modern threat environments? The answer involves a nuanced blend of several priorities including a continued place for heavy armor, offset by an equally vigorous effort to advance new designs and technologies for a lighter-weight, faster-armored vehicle capable of addressing a new generation of enemy threats. 

Thus far, the Army appears to be following what could be called a dual-trajectory, meaning it is both preserving and upgrading heavy armor while also simultaneously exploring a wide range of new innovations sufficient to address the emerging generation of threats. 

The AbramsX does appear to represent an effort to address some of these concerns, as it is lighter weight, faster, and enabled by AI-capable computing. The upcoming tank has the ability to operate drones, has breakthrough levels of autonomy, and top-down hemispheric Active Protection Systems to stop overhead drone attacks and top-down-fire anti-armor weapons. 

One of the most impactful elements of the AbramsX may just be its more survivable yet lethal and precise unmanned turret and hybrid electric drive enabling “silent watch,” as well as greater fuel efficiency. 

In recent years, General Dynamics Land Systems has been working with the Army to develop and deliver several new, high-tech variants of the Abrams tank in recent years such as the v3 and v4 M1A2 SEP tanks.

These tanks incorporate several breakthrough technologies of great relevance to armored warfare.  Now, GDLS is trying to build upon these innovations with yet another, even more advanced AbramsX variant, a new demonstrator vehicle unveiled at the 2022 Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium.  

More Than a Variant

General Dynamics weapons developers emphasized that, while hybrid propulsion can improve the vehicle’s environmental impact, the reason for its existence is largely tactical.

Not only will a hybrid system massively reduce the logistics footprint and increase fuel efficiency, but it will also increase survivability in a number of critical respects. 

A smaller, leaner, logistics and resupply trail creates fewer targets for an enemy and keeps soldiers out of enemy fire. Tactically, a hybrid system enables a “silent watch,” meaning the ability to operate with sensors and weapons without needing to emit an acoustic or thermal signature. This improves the lethality and survivability of the vehicle and massively expands its operational envelope.

These advantages are greatly maximized by 3rd-generation Forward Looking Infrared Sensor targeting systems, which bring much longer range and high-resolution targeting to armored offensive attack operations.

Kris Osborn is the Military Affairs Editor of 19FortyFive and President of Warrior Maven – Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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Written By

Kris Osborn is the Military Editor of 19 FortyFive and President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

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