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In February 1972 a working group was formed at Fort Knox, to design the new battle tank MBT (in English: Main Battle Tank, main battle tank). The objectives for this new tank were, among others, in order of importance, the crew safety, the possibility of direct hit on the first shot, the speed to acquire and hit the target, the country mobility the integration of a secondary armament, equipment safety, the potential for further development and ease of transport. The army of the United States asked prototypes to General Motors and Chrysler. This competition was intended to provide the best solutions to lower costs. The new battle tank was originally named XM 815. In October 1973 took place the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. It was then necessary to include in the draft XM 815 all the lessons learned from this conflict. One of the major new features in this war was the wide use of AT-3 anti-tank missiles and rocket launchers RPG-7 anti-tank of Soviet origin. However, the most important lesson of this war is the battle tank remained the dominant weapon on the battlefield. It revived the project of the new American tank renamed XM-1.
General Motors and Chrysler continued to work on their prototype, incorporating the shield Burlington. The first copies for the validation phase appeared between January and May 1976. Finally, November 12, 1976, Chrysler was declared holder for the development of the project. The first prototypes (XM-1) rolled in February 1978 and production in small quantities XM 1 began on May 7, 1979. The first production tank was produced in February 1980 in Lima Arsenal Tank Plant. In February 1981, its large scale production was accepted and was given the name battle tank cannon 105 mmNote 1 "M1 Abrams" in honor of the battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division during World War II and then Chief Staff of the US Army in 1972, Creighton Abrams, one of the strongest supporters of the project XM 1. in 1982, the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant also began producing this chariot.
The first phase in the evolution of M1 was the contribution of canon 105 improved. The second was the installation of a simplified version of the Rheinmetall 120 mm gun German, which led to the M1A1 release in August 1984. In October 1988, appeared a new version, the M1A1 HA (English: "Heavy Armor "heavy armor), which incorporated a special shielding layer of depleted uranium mesh to double the protection against shell types HOOF or APFSDS (for Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot Fin-Stabilized). He then began to be replaced on the assembly lines of Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant and Arsenal Tank Plant Lima in 1985 with improved versions. Between 1986 and 1990, 840 tanks were produced annually in the United States Army, and between 1991 and 1992 it was produced 691 copies for the Marine Corps