America's main battle tank, designed by Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems), has been in service for over forty years. The M1 Abrams is one of the world's most fearsome tanks, though it's becoming outdated and vulnerable on the modern battlefield.
Earlier this month, General Dynamics' unveiled "AbramsX," the next generation of main battle tanks that could one day replace the M1 Abrams, at the United States Army annual conference in Washington, D.C.
A demonstrator version of the AbramsX was on the show floor. The most notable upgrades for the new tank are weight reduction, fuel efficiency, artificial intelligence systems, and reduced crew size.
At 73.6 tons today, the M1 Abrams is a behemoth. Meanwhile, General Dynamics was able to shave off more than ten tons -- with the new tank coming in around 60 tons, Timothy Reese, director of Business Development for General Dynamics Land Systems, told Sandboxx.
AbramsX features an auto-loader for the main gun, eliminating the need for a human tank loader, thus reducing crew size from four to three. Reese said the new tank's land speed would stay the same, but lighter displacement would make it more maneuverable.
Another radical new design is the AbramsX's power plant. It's a diesel hybrid-electric system, compared with the M1 Abrams' gas-guzzling turbine engine dating from the 1970s. The new power plant offers a 50% fuel savings, which increases mission time.
It's too early to say what the future of the Army's battle tank will be, considering new versions of the M1 Abrams are slated for the battlefield in the next several years.
General Dynamics also released a video of the AbramsX driving around a parking lot.
If the Army wants to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse pollution by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, then AbramsX could be America's next main battle tank.