A reader sends me the link to this USA Today story. It has some info on how the M1 tank is holding up to continued attacks in Iraq. 80 have been knocked out since the invasion, though many or most of them will be able to be rebuilt and returned to service.
Five men have been killed inside of M1 tanks when they’ve been hit by roadside bombs, and Murdoc recalls that two of them were in this October 2003 incident. Also, at least one of the tanks destroyed was burned out when the truck transporting it was destroyed in Baghdad and another was abandoned during the original Thunder Run and later partied on by Iraqis for Al Jazerra video crews.
A number of improvements are being worked on for the M1 to perform better and even more safely than it currently is, one of the most important of which might be a slat armor protective cage for the rear of the tank, where RPG hits can disable an M1. (The illustration at right is from USA Today.)
As mentioned in the previous MO post on the subject, there are other nifty improvements coming for the M1. Another reader sends this image, which outlines the biggies (click for a better view):
The upgrade program is called the TUSK, for Tank Urban Survival Kit. See this Army News Service story for more details, including a monster-sized version of the pic. One thing that bothers me, after looking at the super sized pic, is that the commander’s weapon mount appears to be a RWS Remote Weapons Station like that on the Stryker LAV.
The RWS is not motion-stabilized, something that recent reports are crticising and something that’s bothered Murdoc since before the Stryker went operational. An alternative is the CROWS Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, a system very similar to the RWS but incorporating motion-stabilization. The CROWS is already deployed in Iraq (I believe it’s on Humvees, but I don’t know for sure) so there should be some good feedback from the field on it’s performance. Murdoc thinks that either the CROWS or another motion-stabilized station is needed.
Thanks big-time to the readers who are helping keep MO in the know. Keep those cards and letters coming.