TechLightweight and lethal: New M1E3 Abrams tank to roll out by 2030

Lightweight and lethal: New M1E3 Abrams tank to roll out by 2030

AbramsX technology demonstrator
AbramsX technology demonstrator
Images source: © GDLS

5:41 PM EDT, June 3, 2024

Work on the new generation of the Abrams tank is gaining momentum. The machine with the working designation M1A3—and probably the final name M1A3—is formally the next generation of the M1 Abrams tank. However, due to the planned scope of changes, it will be a completely new tank that, under the old name, will become the cornerstone of the American armored forces.

The interdisciplinary team for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team (NGCV CFT) announced an agreement made in May between the US Army and General Dynamics Land Systems. This agreement concerns developing the preliminary design for the future M1E3 tank.

Work on the new tank is being conducted in parallel with the new XM30 infantry fighting vehicle (Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program), which is set to replace the currently operated M2/M3 Bradley vehicles.

M1E3 Abrams - new tank for the US Army

According to ZBiAM services, the new Abrams is expected to be lighter than the current main battle tanks, weighing under 60 tons (modern tanks usually exceed 72 tons).

Despite the lower weight, the M1E3 will offer higher protection and greater mobility than the currently operated tanks. This will be possible, among other things, due to the use of an innovative hybrid drive and the introduction of an automatic loader, which reduces the crew by one person, thereby limiting the space that needs to be protected with armor.

AbramsX technology demonstrator
AbramsX technology demonstrator© Abovfold, Lic. CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Weight reduction will also be influenced by using an active defense system and solutions utilizing artificial intelligence to facilitate the crew's work. Some of these solutions were previously presented in the AbramsX demonstrator developed by GDLS.

New Abrams in 2030

It's unknown whether the tank will use existing components or be entirely newly designed at the current stage. The configuration of the tank is also unknown, including whether it will have a manned or unmanned turret (like the Russian T-14 Armata tank).

The technical requirements and the preliminary design of the new tank will be developed within the next 18 months. The schedule for the new Abrams project is to be set by the end of the current year, and according to present forecasts, the first vehicles may enter service as early as 2030.

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