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M1A1 Abrams: Leaping Forward

The M1A1 is a later development of the well-known American Abrams MBT, which primarily introduced major improvements in firepower. Soon, War Thunder tankers will have the chance to command the arguably most iconic version of the Abrams, coming to the game as part of update 1.87. Buckle up!

Briefly: A later modification of the Abrams MBT, fitted with a licence-built version of the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore cannon.


Almost as soon as the first production M1 Abrams MBTs began rolling off the assembly line, did American engineers begin working on an upgunned version of the Abrams. They succeeded in this endeavour in 1981, after a prototype Abrams, designated M1E1, was successfully fitted with a 120mm Rheinmetall smoothbore cannon.

Showing promising performance, work on the vehicle continued. At the same time, an upgraded version of the original Abrams, the IPM1, which featured improved protection and a larger turret was briefly produced between 1984 - 1986. The resulting M1A1 Abrams inherited the upgrades from the IPM1 and combined them with the M256 120mm smoothbore cannon, a licence-built version of the German original.

The M1A1 was adopted for service in 1984, and was produced alongside the IPM1 for a short while since 1985 until the older modification was phased out of production.

The M1A1 saw its first use during the U.S. deployment in the Gulf War in 1991. Faced against arguably inferior Soviet-era tanks, the M1A1 had successfully proven its worth in tank-on-tank engagements, but exposed new problems concerning its performance and vulnerability in urban environments. This led to further upgrades for the vehicle being developed later on.

Production of the M1A1 seized in 1992, with over 5,800 units being produced, including Egyptian and Australian export models. The original M1A1 chassis still serves today, albeit as upgraded variants which have undergone several modernization efforts.


In War Thunder, the M1A1 will be among the first vehicles available to tankers at the upcoming seventh rank of the American ground forces tree. Compared to existing modification of the Abrams in War Thunder, the new M1A1 will combine the protection offered by the familiar IPM1 with the upgraded firepower provided by the newly-installed M256 120mm smoothbore cannon.

As a licence-built version of the well-known German Rheinmetall 120 cannon, American tankers can expect nothing short of superb ballistic properties from this excellent gun. Apart from very good ballistics, the M1A1 will offer its commanders with the usual set of powerful ammunition types - APFSDS and HEAT-FS rounds.

Players who have already had the chance to employ the IPM1 in combat are very aware of the levels of protection that particular version of the Abrams offers. Fortunately, the M1A1 uses the same turret as the IPM1. Thus, players can come to expect neigh identical levels of protection as far as the turret is concerned, but still shouldn’t rely too much on the hull to absorb any enemy rounds as it doesn’t have such efficient protection.

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However because of all the modifications the overall weight of the vehicle has increased to just short of 59 tons. As the M1A1’s gas turbine engine remains the same as on previous models and continues to output 1,500 horsepower, the mobility of the vehicle took a slight dip. To be specific, the top speed of the vehicle dropped down to 41.5 mph (66.8 km/h) on roads and the vehicle also accelerates slower due to the increased mass.

Nonetheless, the M1A1 will remain a highly potent vehicle despite the negative impact the upgrades had on driving performance. Most notably, the highly sought after 120mm smoothbore cannon will allow American tankers to engage hostile targets at longer ranges and with greater effectiveness than ever, while remaining a tough nut for opponents to crack.  



Meet the new M1A1 Abrams, coming to top ranks of the American ground forces tree. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to the news for more information regarding the next major update. Until then, happy hunting tankers!

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