How does the Abrams tank work?


Quick Answer

An Abrams tank is powered by a 1,500-horsepower gas turbine engine, which in turn powers the automatic hydro-kinetic transmission. The caterpillar tracks on an Abrams tank work like a conveyor belt, and the tank's wheels run along the inside of the tracks, much in the way that automobile tires move along the surface of a road. The tracks offer two principle advantages over tires: the tracks cannot go flat, and they dig into muddy surfaces, giving the tank excellent maneuverability on rough terrain.

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Full Answer

An Abrams tank's main parts consist of two caterpillar tracks, the hull, the turret, the armor and the engine. The hull is the bottom portion of the tank. It contains the engine, which runs on regular gasoline, diesel or jet fuel, and transmission, which consists of four forward and two reverse gears. The hull's purpose is to haul the turret. The turret sits atop the hull and houses the tank's 120-millimeter M256 smoothbore cannon.

Abrams tanks are also armed with two six-barrel grenade launchers, an M2 .50-caliber machine gun and two M240 machine guns. An Abrams tank is operated by a four-person crew consisting of a gunner, driver, loader and technician. The tank's ammunition is kept in a blow-out compartment to protect the crew.

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