A next-gen tank will be revealed in October

The long-running tank concept of American defense juggernaut General Dynamics was teased online last week. The Abrams NextGen indicates how a newer model of the legendary family of armored vehicles hopes to be an advancement over its predecessors and a resource for future battlefield commanders. It is part of a roll-out of several machines under the title of "Next Generation Battlefield Technology.

Four movies from General Dynamics, each with a title that sounds like advertising for an extra character in a video game, tease the Next Generation Abrams. They fit into "Legend Mode." The New Dominance," "Superpower," etc. "Brains and Brawn," "Cape Not Included. "Silent Strike," "A Lethal Combination," and others. They won't hear us approaching. The brief movies show the camera roving over a glossy tank image while showing details like headlights, embedded cameras, treads, and the main gun in the turret.

The updated Abrams, along with a number of other vehicles, will be unveiled by General Dynamics Land Systems on October 10 at the Association of the United States Army convention in Washington, DC. These include several types of support robots including the Next Generation Stryker armored transport that has been teased.

The preview instead makes the argument for why the Pentagon should continue to invest in heavy armored vehicles and why it should do so now since a broader roll-out of the Abrams is anticipated in the autumn.

This first tanks emerged in 1916

At the Battle of the Somme in September 1916, during World War I, tanks made their combat debut. For the last almost 106 years, military strategy has included tanks. In the years between the two World Wars, and particularly during World War II, tanks evolved quickly as anti-tank tactics were created and perfected. The 1930s-era "steel hedgehogs", which are jack-shaped barriers that can trap any tank that drives over them in the air, are making a comeback after being used by Ukraine to fend off Russia's invasion's tremendous tank-powered advances.

Numerous anti-tank weaponry, like Carl Gustaf recoilless rifles and Javelin anti-tank missiles, allow forces engaged in foot combat to ambush and destroy tanks. Some military pundits in the United States have questioned whether tanks still have a place on the battlefield in light of the success of these weapons, particularly in the early stages of Russia's invasion. Tanks are more expensive, more susceptible, require more personnel to operate, and are limited in their ability to cover more ground than infantry on foot can.

What tanks do give is the capacity to advance under fire and subsequently push defenders from entrenched positions, especially to a military that can back them effectively with foot soldiers, artillery, and an air force flying overhead. Tanks are more likely to reach the enemy lines if they are protected against common infantry rifles and have upgraded armour and protections against a variety of existing anti-tank weaponry. Tanks drive defenders into retreat and terror as they arrive at the opposing front line of battle. Since all contemporary tanks have large cannons, after a defensive line has been crossed, they will have enough firepower to kill any opposing artillery or vehicles they come across.

The Abrams began its life in 1979

The XM-1 Abrams was highlighted in PopSci's coverage of the first Abrams prototypes in 1979 as being particularly resistant to modern anti-tank weaponry. In comparison to earlier tank designs, these enhancements included a reduced profile and a smokeless and quieter engine. Additionally, segregated gasoline, ammo, and engine storage helped stop a fire from one location from contaminating and igniting another.

The Abrams has served as the primary combat tank in the US since 1980. It was developed to be impervious to the new anti-tank missiles that were devastatingly employed in the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict and to destroy Soviet tanks in ground engagements in Europe. While 2,000 M1 Abrams tanks were deployed during Desert Storm in 1991, no tank crew men were killed in action. The tank has subsequently been used in Afghanistan and Iraq while being commanded by the US; modifications to the armor and gun caliber have since been made, although at the cost of a slower peak speed.

The Army requested better cameras and sights for the gunner, more advanced cameras for the tank commander, a fire control system that could communicate with a new type of smart round for the gun, a meteorological sensor to calculate atmospheric effects on ballistics, and more helpful internal diagnostics in a 2019 document outlining desired improvements for the newest Abrams.

Although it's not obvious if any of those upgrades have been implemented, the teaser video's focus on sensors makes it seem as though the next generation of Abrams tanks will be equipped with modern, powerful cameras and sensors. Enhancing onboard processing and perhaps even hybrid electric operation are probably included in the promise of brains and silent striking, allowing the tank to function on an engine that is considerably quieter than internal combustion.

Its overall form can also have changed.“From what we can see in these various promotional materials, the [Next] Generation Abrams has at least some changes to the general outward shape of the hull and turret,” claims The War Zone. “It’s not clear whether this might reflect [any] changes to the crew composition in this version. All existing Abrams variants have four-person crews, with the driver in the hull and the commander, gunner, and loader in the turret.”

The M60 tank, which was utilized in Vietnam and had only been around for 21 years, was being replaced when the Army initially unveiled the Abrams as a tank. It's debatable whether the Abrams tank shape itself needs to alter as it enters its fourth decade of service or whether the future will consist of new components and sensors in the same old shell.
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