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M4 Harris Main Battle Tank
GT1A1 Harris
Rendering of the M4 Harris
Type Main Battle Tank
Place of origin Union of Everett
Service history
In service 2010 - Present
Used by Union of Everett Ground Forces
Production history
Designer Armor Militant Defense Industries
Designed 2003-2009
Manufacturer Joint Systems Manufacturing Center
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant
Unit cost $7.8 million (2013 projected costs)
Produced 2010 - Present
Number built 3,200+
Variants M4A1-MET
M4A2-SAM
M4A3-EMR
Specifications
Weight 62.2 short tons
Length Gun Forward: 31 ft
Hull Length: 25 ft
Width 12 ft
Height 8.7 ft
Crew 3 (commander, driver, gunner)

Armor Chobham, RH armor, depleted uranium strike plates, Kevlar mesh, EM cage
Primary
armament
M4A1-M4A2: 120 mm L44 M256 smoothbore cannon
M4A3: 115 mm M115 electro-magnetic railgun (EMR) cannon
Secondary
armament
1 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2HB heavy machine gun
2 × 7.62 mm (.308) M240 machine guns
Engine M4A1: Lockheed HT-1500 Hydrogen Turbine engine
M4A2-SAM: HT-1500 Hydrogen Turbine engine
M4A3-EMR: FT-1850 Fusion Cell Turbine engine
Suspension Quad-Torsion bar
Ground clearance 1 ft, 10 in
Fuel capacity M4A1-M4A2: 550 gallons
M4A3: N/A
Operational
range
M4A1-M4A2: 350 miles
M4A3: Indefinite
Speed Road: 60 mph
Off-Road: 45 mph

The M4 Harris is an Everetti third generation and fourth generation main battle tank (MBT), produced in the Union of Everett. It is named after the first Secretary of Defense of the Union of Everett, Jason M. Harris. Highly mobile, designed for modern armored ground warfare, the M4 is well armed and heavily armored. Notable features include the use of a hydrogen fuel-cell turbine engine, the use of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety.

The M4 Harris entered active military service with the Union of Everett Ground Forces in 2010 as the official successor to the M1 Abrams main battle tank which entered service in the United States in 1980.

Three main versions of the of M4 Harris have been deployed, the M4A1, M4A2-SAM and the M4A3-EMR, incorporating improved armament, engine systems, protection and electronics.

Design[]

Armament[]

The main armament of the M4A1 and A2 variants of the Harris MBT is a standard M256A1 120 mm smoothbore gun, designed by Rheinmetall AG of Germany, manufactured under license in the Union of Everett by Watervliet Arsenal, New York. The M256A1 is a variant of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44 gun carried on the German Leopard 2 on all variants up to the Leopard 2A5. The M256A1 fires a variety of rounds. The M829A2 APFSDS round was developed specifically to address the improved protection of a Russian T-72, T-80U or T-90 main battle tank equipped with Kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armor. Later, the M829A3 APFSDS round was introduced to improve its effectiveness against next generation ERA equipped tanks. The Harris also fires HEAT shaped charge rounds such as the M830, the latest version of which (M830A1) incorporates a sophisticated multi-mode electronic sensing fuse and more fragmentation which allows it to be used effectively against armored vehicles, personnel, and low-flying aircraft. The Harris provides a partial auto-loading system for shells, replacing the common need for a fourth tank crew member and faster efficiency for loading and firing shells.

The main armament of the M4A3-EMR variant features an upgraded 115 mm M115 EMR electromagnetic railgun cannon, designed by Armor Militant Defense Industries. The M115 EMR utilities a fully electromagnetic launch system, which provides increasingly decreased recoil, no need for explosive launched shells and significantly decreased sound produced when fired. The M115 additionally provides a decreased heat and smoke visibility when firing, as the EMR firing system requires n explosive gunpowder to launch the tank shells. The specially designed 115 mm M1051 tank shell is more aerodynamic, with partial laser guidance, giving it a launched speed in excess of 5,550 feet per second (1,850 m/s).

The Department of Defense is developing a new round to replace the M830A1, M1028, and M908 for the M4A1 and A2 Harris tanks. Called the Advanced Multi-Purpose (AMP) round, it will have point detonation, delay, and airburst modes of operation in a single munition. Having one round that does the job of three would simplify logistics and be able to be used on a variety of targets. The AMP is to be effective against bunkers, infantry, light armor, and obstacles. It will be able to breach reinforced concrete walls and defeat ATGM teams beyond 500 meters.

The M4A1 and A3 Harris tanks have three machine guns:

  • A .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2HB machine gun in front of the commander's hatch. This gun is on a powered mount and can be fired using a 3× magnification sight, known as the Commander's Weapon Station (CWS), while the vehicle is "buttoned up" with all its hatches closed to protect the crew. With the TUSK add-on kit, an M2HB or a Mk 19 grenade launcher can be mounted on a CROWS remote weapons platform (similar to the Protector M151 remote weapon station used on the Stryker family of vehicles). The Harris Integrated Management (HIM) equips the .50 caliber gun with a thermal sight for accurate night and other low-visibility shooting.
  • A 7.62 mm M240 machine gun in front of the loader's hatch on a skate mount. Some of these have been fitted with gun shields, as well as night-vision scopes for low-visibility engagements.
  • A second 7.62 mm M240 machine gun in a coaxial mount to the right of the main gun. The coaxial MG is aimed and fired with the same computer fire control system used for the main gun.

The M4A2 has three secondary armaments:

  • A .50 cal. (12.7 mm) M2HB machine gun in front of the commander's hatch. This gun is on a powered mount and can be fired using a 3× magnification sight, known as the Commander's Weapon Station (CWS), while the vehicle is "buttoned up" with all its hatches closed to protect the crew. With the TUSK add-on kit, an M2HB or a Mk 19 grenade launcher can be mounted on a CROWS remote weapons platform (similar to the Protector M151 remote weapon station used on the Stryker family of vehicles). The Harris Integrated Management (HIM) equips the .50 caliber gun with a thermal sight for accurate night and other low-visibility shooting.
  • A 7.62 mm M240 machine gun in a coaxial mount to the right of the main gun. Some of these have been fitted with gun shields, as well as night-vision scopes for low-visibility engagements.
  • A twelve missile surface-to-air missile system consisting of six RIM-162 ESSM and six RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles for engaging enemy aircraft or intercepting cruise missiles.

Countermeasures[]

The Harris is protected by armor based on the British-designed Chobham armor, a further development of the British 'Burlington' armor. Chobham is a composite armor formed by spacing multiple layers of various alloys of steel, ceramics, plastic composites, and kevlar, giving an estimated maximum 52–64 inches of armor. It may also be fitted with reactive armor over the track skirts if needed (as in the Urban Survival Kit). The Harris also has improved armor packages that incorporate depleted uranium (DU) components in their armor at the front of the turret and the front of the hull. Armor upgrades are being tested by the Department of Defense which would feature a full tank version of the Dragon Skin ballistic vest used by the Marine Corps are body armor. The proposed tank armor would reduce the Harris' weight by nearly ten tons and increase its ability to resist damage by three times that of the typical Abrams type armor.

The M4 Harris is typically painted one of three color schemes, including TACAM Urban, MARPAT Desert and MARPAT Navy Type III Jungle Woodland.

Mobility[]

The M4A1 and A2 Harris' powertrains comprise of 1,500 horsepower Lockheed Martin HT-1500 Hydrogen Turbine engine and a six speed (four forward, two reverse) Allison X-1500-Q automatic transmission, giving it a top speed on road of 60 miles per hour and off-road 45 miles per hour. The Harris features an entirely unique quad dual-tracked ultra-mobile system, essentially eight total track belts between four separate tracks. The Quad Duo-Trac system unique to the Harris provides it with extreme mobility over intense terrain, including a suspension system providing the tank the ability to rock-climb in extreme terrain, including mountains and canyons. Each of the four track sets move independently, giving a smooth ride over rough terrain while giving the tank the ability to climb large objects without flipping.

The Lockheed HT-1500 is a hydrogen-burning rotary turbine engine, which its exhaust is water. It is the first tank that is fully green energy. The advancements of the HT-1500 have increased fuel mileage per gallon and provide a cleaner and more powerful engine which provides increased horsepower and torque. The hydrogen fuel tanks hold a maximum of 550 gallons of hydrogen, which provides an operating and combat range of over 350 miles.

Unlike the jet fuel-burning engines of the M1 Abrams, the Hydrofuel Turbine system releases a significantly less exhaust temperature, providing ground troops the ability to shadow and use the tank as cover in urban combat.

The M4A3-EMR Harris uses a completely different engine system, featuring the FT-1850 Fusion Cell Turbine engine, which functions as an ultra small fusion reactor, providing massive energy sources to run a completely electric motor and transmission. The M4A3 comprises of an 1,850 horsepower engine with an electric motor controlled Quad Duo-Trac suspension system. Although the M4A3 is provided 350 more horsepower than the A1 and A2 variants, it is provided governors for speed to limit the tank to 60 mph on-road and 45 mph off-road. With the governors deactivated, the M4A3 could reach speeds of 80 mph on-road and 60 mph off-road. Being a contained ultra-small fusion reactor core, the Harris requires no fuel and can run and function indefinitely.

The M4A3 Harris' fusion power plant makes the tank essentially completely silent, in addition to its electric motors, may travel in near total silence and no exhaust. Its main gun, an electromagnetic rail gun, makes the tank the most quiet, cooled and therefore, possibly the most deadly tank in the world.

Variants[]

  • M4A1: First mass production model. Production began in 2010. 2,550 M4A1 tanks manufactured into 2013, of which all procured by Union of Everett Marine Corps.
  • M4A2-SAM: A variant of the M4A1 with armaments including anti-aircraft S.A.M. missile batteries. Total of twelve missile chambers, containing six RIM-162 ESSM and six RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile. 450 M4A2-SAM have been produced since 2011.
  • M4A3-EMR: Variant of M4A1 featuring 115 mm electromagnetic rail-gun fired tank shells rather than typical explosive force launched. Features semi-automatic shell auto-loading and fusion cell engine turbine upgrade for indefinite mobility and power source. 200 A3 variants have been produced since 2012.

Operators[]

See Also[]

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