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Keep in mind, export Abrams tanks do not have the same classified mix of armor that American ones do. 

I think the Saudi Abrams are not the same poor versions that were sold to Iraq. Someone analyzed this video and it turns to be a lucky shoot plus negligence of the Saudi crew. Anyhow, the Saudi armed forces are performing abysmally in Yemen.

Edited by Ivanov
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I think the Saudi Abrams are not the same poor versions that were sold to Iraq.

They kinda are.  I mean they're not literally the same tanks, but the armor array is strictly vintage 1985 or so.  The HA armor upgrade (which begat the updated armor array for late model M1A1HCs/SA, and M1A2 SEP, SEP v2, and now SEP v3) was never something included in any export tanks (Australians included, which is  a good sign of how close that armor is held to our hearts).

They're also 1995 vintage M1A2s, so while not as germane to the protection discussion, a lot of their systems are not so modern.  I'm not entirely unsure if they haven't received some upgrades over the years in that regard though.  

With all of that said, the key difference between the Iraqi and Saudi military is effectively nil.  The Saudi Air Force is the one military arm worth a damn, the Army is comprised of people not smart enough or rich enough to be pilots in the officer class, and the average enlisted struggles to read (or simply doesn't).  One of the endemic things about Middle Eastern military forces seems to be a focus on equipment=performance.  So in that regard it is essential to have the same kind of gear that better, cooler, armies have (see Iran under the Shah's runaway acquisition process, or the prevalence of high performance tanks and planes in places than can support neither), but the training, maintenance and the like is for babies and we don't have time for that.  Oh no, we lost another war!  THIS CURSED RUSSIAN/FRENCH/BRITISH/AMERICAN GEAR HAS FAILED US, GET US THE RUSSIANS/FRENCH/BRITISH/AMERICANS ON THE LINE TO SELL US MORE BETTER EQUIPMENT SO WE WIN NEXT TIME.

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They kinda are.  I mean they're not literally the same tanks, but the armor array is strictly vintage 1985 or so.  The HA armor upgrade (which begat the updated armor array for late model M1A1HCs/SA, and M1A2 SEP, SEP v2, and now SEP v3) was never something included in any export tanks (Australians included, which is  a good sign of how close that armor is held to our hearts).

The Saudis operate M1A2 and M1A2S versions of Abrams, while the main Iraqi version is M1A1, however I'm not sure how those versions differ in terms of protection. Apparently the ATGM used on the video is Tosun, which is an Iranian version of 9M113 Konkurs. I came up across an information that possibly the crew in question didn't store or protect the ammunition properly, hence huge secondary explosions. 

Here Houthis capture Saudi Abrams, starting at 0.30 sec:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgdwxqwaK34

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Honestly, its strange seeing an Abrams knocked out as an American.

Were so used to seeing footage of an Abrams taking hits (or dishing the hits out of course) or being immobilized but never violently destroyed like in some of these videos. Obviously this is due to poor experience, tactics and training on the Saudi side, but good propaganda for the bad guys nonetheless.

Edited by Raptorx7
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Honestly, its strange seeing an Abrams knocked out as an American.

That's the whole point of releasing such a videos - to demolish the myth of American military invincibility ( in this case the invincibility of US made military hardware of which Abrmas is one of the most potent symbols ).

A lot of the jihadist videos are also heavily edited - for example a captured US made equipment is being blown up by the explosives, but the video suggests that it was destroyed by the ATGM. Or videos that are cut just after the ATGM hits the tank and labeled "Infidel Abrams tank destroyed", while in reality it was just hit but not even seriously damaged.

Still, it's healthy to remember that no piece of military equipment is indestructible.

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That's the whole point of releasing such a videos - to demolish the myth of American military invincibility ( in this case the invincibility of US made military hardware of which Abrmas is one of the most potent symbols ).

A lot of the jihadist videos are also heavily edited - for example a captured US made equipment is being blown up by the explosives, but the video suggests that it was destroyed by the ATGM. Or videos that are cut just after the ATGM hits the tank and labeled "Infidel Abrams tank destroyed", while in reality it was just hit but not even seriously damaged.

Still, it's healthy to remember that no piece of military equipment is indestructible.

I am well past the "stage" of thinking any piece of military hardware is indestructible or unbeatable, but I agree with what you are saying.

Its simply strange to see one knocked out actively by an ATGM in a video.

Edited by Raptorx7
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Short and violent:

M1 production forks at the baseline M1A1 from 1985 or so.  Everything after that (M1A1HA>M1A1HC>M1A2>M1A2 SEP>M1A1SA>M1A2 SEP v2) includes armor packages that are not exported.  All export M1s are basically the 1985 M1A1s upgraded or modified to suit local requirements.  The M1A2 the Saudis use is actually predates the American M1A2 because the US version was initially unfunded at the end of the Cold War, while the Saudis wanted the independent commander's optic the Abrams had been designed all along to accept. 

So unless it's a yankee imperialist M1A2, it's not carrying the 1987 vintage HA armor upgrade and beyond.  

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With all of that said, the key difference between the Iraqi and Saudi military is effectively nil.  The Saudi Air Force is the one military arm worth a damn, the Army is comprised of people not smart enough or rich enough to be pilots in the officer class, and the average enlisted struggles to read (or simply doesn't).  One of the endemic things about Middle Eastern military forces seems to be a focus on equipment=performance.  So in that regard it is essential to have the same kind of gear that better, cooler, armies have (see Iran under the Shah's runaway acquisition process, or the prevalence of high performance tanks and planes in places than can support neither), but the training, maintenance and the like is for babies and we don't have time for that.  Oh no, we lost another war!  THIS CURSED RUSSIAN/FRENCH/BRITISH/AMERICAN GEAR HAS FAILED US, GET US THE RUSSIANS/FRENCH/BRITISH/AMERICANS ON THE LINE TO SELL US MORE BETTER EQUIPMENT SO WE WIN NEXT TIME.

Probably nothing new to you, but still a good read nonetheless: http://www.meforum.org/441/why-arabs-lose-wars

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Re: LukeFF

That I have.  I also highly reccomend:

Arabs at War by Kenneth Pollack

Mother Of All Battles by Kevin Woods

The first is self explainitory.  The second is based on all the documents captured in 2003, what the Iraqi side of the fence was thinking in 1991.  Very interesting in terms of thinking asymmetrically.  

Re: Australian M1A1s

The only functional difference between an Australian M1A1 and a US National Guard M1A1 (or historically, some of the lower priority active units) is the lack of DU inserts and likely some stuff they don't even tell me about.  Optically, communications infrastructure, FCS, post-Iraq widgets and upgrades, all included.  They were actually better than the average M1A1s in National Guard/places God forgot like Fort Riley for a while, although the upgrade package itself was eventually applied to the US M1A1 fleet too.

On a whole a pretty sweet deal, you've likely got some of the best tanks in the Pacific outside of USFK and on par with the ROK and it's K1A1s.   

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Why does the US seem to be the only nation innovating with new DU armor designs, especially since the Russians should also be able to produce plenty of DU?  Do you believe it is more an issue of doctrine or funding?

It's an issue of both.  

1. Russian tank design since there's been Soviet tanks to design prioritized smaller, lighter vehicles for a variety of reasons (smaller targets, better mobility, lower infrastructure requirements).  Smaller, and lighter are not things that the kind of armor arrays on western tanks  can do well.

2. Economically speaking a new MBT program, or a massive passive armor upgrade were simply not feasible in the post cold war era.

The Russian preference for ERA comes out of the fact that:

1. They're pretty good at it

2. A super-advanced 2017 bit of ERA could hypothetically be strapped to the outside of a T-55 as well as a late model T-90, with fairly modest engineering work.  It's marginally more complex than that, but it certainly is much less dramatic of an upgrade and solution than an advanced passive array.   

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Interesting clip of abandoned  Saudi M1 captured and destroyed by Huti fighters. Interesting part is that they filmed the inside of crew fighting compartment before destroying it. Why is it so blackened ? Does it look normally (like if it was not cleaned regularry ;)), or rather something has exploded or burned inside ?

 

Edited by Amizaur
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