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Chrysler and the military: Tanks, M3A1 to M-1 Abrams

Tanks have been a major player since the “Great War,” and Chrysler was a major tank builder — and designer. Indeed, the mainstay of the Army, the M-1 Abrams tank, was created by Chrysler.

They first started building tanks for World War II; with an tank-engine shortage threatening production, Chrysler put five automotive engines on a common crankshaft. 7,500 assemblies were used, with low maintenance and low fuel consumption. Chrysler built faster than expected, and refunded over $10 million to the government. They made over 25,000 tanks for the war, and took no profit.

XM1 tank

The company’s final work was the M-1 Abrams, which had double the power and cross-country speed of existing tanks, with self-diagnostic telemetry adapted from Chrysler’s space work. It started production in 1978 in Ohio, with a 1,500 hp turbine engine that could run on gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel. The tank has not yet been replaced by the US military, though it has been upgraded. Full articles: World War II tanks • Abrams tanks

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