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What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once

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Illustrative photo from open sources
Illustrative photo from open sources

The Abrams main battle tank is designed for quite comfortable conditions inside, but the number of devices and panels may confuse you at first

Abrams tanks will strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine, therefore Defense Express continues to publish a series of materials on how different Western vehicles looks from the inside.

And we should note that conceptually the tank has changed quite a bit inside, although it has undergone many modernizations and there are about two dozen of all possible Abrams variants. Formally, if the changes touched the space inside, then it was about adding monitors to the commander, who is on the right hand side of the gun.

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What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Photo credit: DoD US

The difference between the commander's seat of a conventional M1A2, M1A2 SEP v1/2 and M1A2 SEP v3 is as follows:

What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The M1A2 in the left, the M1A2 SEP in the right, the M1A2 SEP v3 in the bottom. The collage is posted in the M1 Abrams Facebook community

To conduct fire, the commander in the "double" mode uses the joystick, which is also in charge of conducting fire from a machine gun or combat module.

Below the commander is the gunner's place, which also has its own characteristics. In particular, the three sights at once.

What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The Abrams gunner / Photo credits: DoD US

The first sight on the left, glows green and is more of a monitor than a "sight" in the usual sense. All necessary information such as range is also superimposed on the image from the thermal imager.

The traditional sight is in the middle, and it is a combined day and night sight. At the same time, the third sight from the left is a backup one, which is simply an optical day sight in case of failure of the main one. That is, almost everything I done in the Abrams in order to save the aimed fire.

What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Also, on some versions of the Abrams, the operator has a separate firing settings panel / Credits: DoD US

The charger is to the left of the gun, it is supposed to ensure the rate of fire and the selection of projectiles. The ammunition itself is separated from the crew by a special partition, which in the event of a warhead detonation, does not allow the blast wave to penetrate into the combat compartment, and the force of the explosion is directed through special ejection panels.

This allows you to save the life of the crew, and the tank itself from instant destruction, which is inevitable in a similar scenario with Soviet vehicles.

Separately from the crew there is the driver mechanic, who uses the rudder and pedals to control the tank and he actually lies in place to ensure the acute angle of inclination of the upper front part.

What the Abrams Looks Like From Inside And Why the Gunner Has Three Sights at Once, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Abrams tank driver's seat / Photo credits: Business Insider
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