Tuesday, May 12, 2015

M1 Tank Test Bed (TTB) with Unmanned Turret

M1 Abrams Tank Test Bed

A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...
Long Before Armata MBT, There was M1 TTB...

Good news from National Army and Cavalry Museum

M1 TTB is restored by the National Army and Cavalry Museum (NACM).

M1 TTB underway to restoration. (copyright: NACM)

M1 TTB Restored (Copyright: NACM)

Here is a video:

In the   mid-80s, US Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) awarded a contract to design and develop a Test Bed for an M1 Abrams with an Unmanned 120mm Turret with the crew in the hull to General Dynamics Land Systems.

M1 Tank Test Bed (TTB) with Unmanned Turret
M1 Tank Test Bed (TTB) with Unmanned Turret

 The distinctive feature of this Test Bed is the Unmanned Turret with the Autoloader. 

M1 Tank Test Bed (TTB) with Unmanned Turret
M1 Tank Test Bed (TTB) with Unmanned Turret

The crew including the Tank Commander, Gunner and Driver are located in the hull. They are provided with a space ship style seating arrangement.

TTB Crew Layout
TTB Crew Layout

The tank retained the original M256 smooth bore gun albeit in an unmanned turret with the 120-mm “brassboard” autoloader transfer mechanism. This device was required to cycle ammunition from a designated storage position to a simulated gun breech and back, at 12 rounds/minute, while leaving no witness marks on the fragile combustible case after the completion of 20 loading repetitions per round.

The TTB Autoloader was a conspicuous success. The system consisted of a 44-round capacity “carousel” type mechanized magazine, located in an unmanned turret basket; a fully articulated Transfer Unit (including a rammer) positioned at the rear of the M256 120-mm cannon in the turret bustle; and a microprocessor-based, Electronic
Control Unit (ECU). 

TTB Turret with AutoLoader

AutoLoader Transfer Unit

The system was electrohydraulically powered to utilize the existing turret power supply.

And the TTB vehicle today....

TTB Vehicle Today
TTB Vehicle Today

  • Sharoni, A., H., Bacon, L., D., "Ammunition Loading Systems for Future Tanks", Armor, March-April, 1995
  • http://infoglaz.ru/?p=47169
  • http://btvt.narod.ru/3/blok3/blok3.htm


Unknown said...

Just curious if this was really General Dynamics or Chrysler Defense at the time. Chrysler built the M1 and later sold it to General Dynamics.

Leopard 2A6 said...

Hahahahaaa... so the "new" Russian T-14 is a copy!!!!!

orangelion03 said...

It appears to me as if the hull is slightly taller than a current Abrams. Is this correct? If so, by how much?

The Kid said...

It was GDLS at the time. 1986.

The Kid said...

Skirt hinges are in the same location. You can judge the additional height by looking at an M1A1 photo.

Paratrooper629 said...

I wonder if GD and the army ressurect this and update optics, sensors, electronics, APS,etc and use it as a replacement for current M1s??? Hmm.... Time to 3D print these in 1/87 scale!

The Kid said...

This concept lost the front fuel tanks, so range was half or so, of the M1 it was based on. There's been similar concepts floated around, all with a diesel. Three man crew vehicles are hard to maintain with the missing person. The autoloader isn't really any faster than a well trained loader. Not a lot of space for all the extra stuff that is carried on the outside, and now with the WIN-T antennas, you need even more top of turret space. It was a fun program to work on.