United States Marine Corps Weapons & Equipment
M1A1 Main Battle Tank
Primary function: Main battle tank (MBT)
Manufacturer: General Dynamics (Land Systems Division)
Power plant: AGT-1500 turbine engine
Power train: Hydrokinetic, fully automatic with four forward and two reverse gear ratios.
Propulsion: 1500 horsepower gas (multi-fuel) turbine engine
Length, Gun Forward: 385 inches (9.78 meters)
Width: 144 inches (3.66 meters)
Height: 114 inches w/o DWFK (2.89 meters)
Weight fully armed: 67.7 tons (61.4 metric tons)
Caliber: 120mm (M256 main gun)
Commander's Weapon: M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun
Loader's Weapon: 7.62mm M240 Machine Gun
Coaxial Weapon: 7.62 M240 Machine Gun
Cruising Range: 289 miles (465.29 kilometers) without NBC system
279 miles (449.19 kilometers) with NBC system
Sight radius: 8 degrees at 8 power
Maximum: 42 miles (67.72 kilometers) per hour (Governed)
Cross Country: 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) per hour
Ground clearance: 19 inches (48.26 centimeters)
Vertical: 42 inches (106.68 centimeters)
Trench: 9 feet wide (2.74 meters)
Slope: 60 degrees at 4.5 miles (7.24 kilometers) per hour
Units: Two active duty battalions and two reserve battalions
Crew: A four-man crew composed of a driver, loader, gunner, and tank commander.
Warheads: M1A1 tank is capable of delivering both kinetic energy (sabot) and chemical energy (heat) rounds.
Main: 120mm M256 main gun
Secondary: (1) .50 caliber M2 machine guns
(2) 7.62mm M240 machine guns
Sensors: The 120mm M256 main gun has a cant sensor, wind speed sensor, automatic lead and ammunition temperature inputs to its ballistic fire control solution.
Introduction date: November 1990
Unit Replacement Cost: $4,300,000
Features: The M1A1 is an improved version of the M1 Main Battle Tank (MBT). It includes a 120mm smoothbore main gun, an NBC overpressure protection system, and an improved armor package. This tank significantly increases the capabilities of the Fleet Marine Forces across the full spectrum of conflict in the near and midterm. Engagement ranges approaching 4000 meters were successfully demonstrated during Operation Desert Storm.
The M1A1 Tank, in addition to the improved armor, 120mm smoothbore gun and the NBC overpressure system, has a Deep Water Fording Kit (DWFK), a Position Location Reporting Systems (PLRS), enhanced ship tiedowns, Digital Electronic Control Unit (DECU) (which allows significant fuel savings),and Battlefield Override. The M1A1 MBT has the capability to conduct operations ashore. It is compatible with all US Navy amphibious ships and craft (to include the LCAC) and Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS).
Background: The Marine Corps has fielded the M1A1 Common Tank to replace the aging M60A1 Rise/Passive tank. The M60 has reached the end of its service life and lacks the capability to survive and to defeat the threats expected to be encountered on the modern battlefield. Due to unique Marine Corps amphibious requirements, and the need for both supportability and interoperability between the Marine Corps and the US Army, the two services agreed to jointly produce the M1A1 Main Battle Tank. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the Marine Corps borrowed 60 M1A1s (called the M1A1 Heavy Armor) from the US Army. There were also 16 Marine Corps M1A1 Tanks delivered on an accelerated schedule for employment during the operation. This total of 76 M1A1 tanks was employed by 2d Tank Battalion and elements of 4th Tank Battalion. All loaned tanks were returned to the US Army after Desert Storm. The USMC will complete fielding of all tanks, to include active, reserve, MPS, and depot maintenance float (DMF) during FY 96.
See also: M1 Mine Clearing Blade System.
Information and Photos Courtesy of United States Marine Corps