The last vehicle engineered entirely under Chrysler Corporation, before Daimler, Fiat, and Peugeot, is getting its own last call. The Abrams M-1 tank is finally headed for a full re-engineering project, ending decades of patching and add-on upgrades, according to Military Times.
The original Abrams tank was the only Chrysler turbine car to actually be sold; it was lauded by procurement officers for its ability to burn any fuel (though that doesn’t appear to ever have been used) and for its power and economy, relative to the only real alternative of the time, diesel. (The tank also had a revolutionary telemetry system.) Chrysler was forced to sell its still-profitable military group in 1980 to General Dynamics.
A great deal of change has occurred in warfare, Army deployments, and technology since then; each additional defensive or offensive item has added to the weight of the already heavy Abrams, to the point that its mobility has been limited by the ability of bridges and other surfaces to hold its weight. New point defense systems and armor cannot easily be integrated into its existing design. The once-revolutionary electronics are likely hard to upgrade to modern standards, as well.
Goals for the new tank include far higher energy efficiency, likely using the equivalent of a plugin hybrid system to allow for silent running; lighter weight to increase mobility; and engineered-in protection for tank crews, from pretty much any angle (the design brief for the Abrams assumed a Vietnam-style war rather than urban warfare, and had no thought at all for drones, since it was created a half-century ago).
The tank project may be more closely watched than the littoral ships fiasco was; in this case, the “leaking cracked ships” are being built, repaired, and scrapped in record time (the latest took just four years from launch to scrapping, including time spent repairing the combining gear, an $8 million process).