At the recent 2022 Association of the United States Army (AUSA2022) exposition in Washington, DC, General Dynamics unveiled its latest main battle tank concept, the AbramsX. The AbramsX technology demonstrator will have improved mobility and transportability, delivering the same tactical range as the M1A2 Abrams but with a 50% reduction in fuel consumption. The AbramsX will have a hybrid power pack that will allow for silent mobility and silent watch capabilities. With a reduced crew size and AI-lethality, increased survivability, mobility, manned/unmanned teaming (MUM-T), and autonomous capabilities, The AbramsX will be a key node in lethal battlefield networks. Tyler Rogoway of The Warzone writes abridged:
AbramsX very much looks the part of a future tank, with its highly revised turret that features multiple electro-optical sights and a remote weapon station sporting a big 30mm chain gun. The sniper gray-like urban camouflage with countershading along its serrated skirt also gives it a very futuristic look, as does its XM360-derivative 120mm cannon with its ported muzzle brake.
— Global Defense Insight (@Defense_Talks) October 10, 2022
But the heavily-armored tank’s hybrid powertrain buried deep inside it is probably its most exciting feature. General Dynamics says this will result in a whopping 50 percent fuel saving — the Abrams’ kerosene-guzzling turbine engine has long involved a major logistics-versus-performance trade-off. This hybrid system will also allow AbramsX to operate silently while sitting idle and possibly for short durations at low speed, which would provide a huge tactical advantage.
An unmanned turret with an auto-loading ammunition system makes possible a reduced crew size, down from four to three. This is also a major draw, increasing survivability and freeing up space in the turret for more capabilities. Reducing manpower is also high on the list of wants for armies around the world. The AbramsX is lighter than its predecessors, bucking the ongoing trend of increasingly massive M1 variants.
The digital backbone for the tank will be the KATALYST Next Generation Electronic Architecture (NGEA). It will connect all its systems together and provide for ease of upgradability of its hardware and modification of its software so that the tank can age more gracefully than its forebearers and can be adapted more quickly to accommodate changing tactical realities and technologies.
There are also clearly slots for other things in its turret, like countermeasure grenades, active protection systems, and distributed aperture camera systems (DAS). There appears to be an advanced sensor suite for the driver as well on the front of the tank’s hull that could also feed into the DAS architecture and provide a 360-degree video feed. With the help of augmented reality, this would allow the crew to ‘look through’ the tank’s hull for a major leap in situational awareness, as well as see objects of interest highlighted digitally in their surroundings.
Of course, these are just some of the main features that are part of the AbramsX initiative, which also includes the ability to team up with unmanned ground vehicles. Once again, give our recent post on the concept a read for more details as to its proposed capabilities.
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