Franklin Mint B11B815 US M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank - Desert Camouflage, Fort Irwin & the National Training Center (NTC), CA (1:24 Scale)
"We will carry out a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility ... and by the application of overwhelming force."
- CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks commenting on the conduct of Operation: Iraqi Freedom, March 21st, 2003
The M1 Abrams was the next stage in American tank development after the M60 series. Chrysler completed the prototype in 1978 and the first production vehicles appeared in 1980 with 30 tanks a month being built in the years that followed by General Dynamics, then a division of Chrysler Motors. Its advanced Chobham armour makes the M1 the best protected US main battle tank yet devised. Its gas turbine engine is smaller and easier to service than a diesel engine, but the extra fuel requirement negates the space saved, which is perhaps why the idea was rejected for acquiring the German-built Leopard 2. Thermal sights, laser rangefinder equipment, and a sophisticated gun stabilization system give the M1 excellent firepower on the move, be it day or night. In the 1991 Gulf War, the Abrams proved itself the best tank in the world, knocking out Iraqi T-72s with impunity. In fact, no Abrams were lost due to enemy fire.
According to General Dynamics, international sales of the Abrams tank are strong. Egypt has purchased 777 M1A1 tank kits. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased and fielded 315 M1A2 Abrams tanks in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, and lest we forget the Government of Kuwait, which purchased and fielded 218 M1A2 Abrams tanks in the Kuwaiti Land Forces. All of these nations are considering additional orders or configuration upgrades for their existing fleet of M1A1/A2 tanks. This particular M1A1 Abrams main battle tank is painted in a desert camouflage pattern used at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, CA.
Length: 16 inches
Width: 6 inches
Historical Account: "The Painted Desert" - Fort Irwin & the National Training Center (NTC) is a major training area for the United States Army. Located in the Mojave Desert in California, the base is part of the U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM). The opposing force at the NTC is the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse Regiment, who are permanently deployed at the base to provide an enemy force to units on a training rotation at Fort Irwin.
On August 9, 1979, the Department of the Army announced that Fort Irwin had been selected as the site for the National Training Center. With over 1000 square miles (2590 km²) for maneuver and ranges, an uncluttered electromagnetic spectrum, airspace restricted to military use, and its isolation from densely populated areas, Fort Irwin was an ideal site for a National Training Center. The National Training Center was officially activated October 16, 1980 and Fort Irwin returned to active status on July 1st, 1981.
Since its activation, the National Training Center has witnessed many firsts. The first unit to train against the Opposing Force at the NTC were from 1st Brigade, U.S. 1st Infantry Division in January 1982. Infantry and engineer units first augmented the Opposing Force in 1984. June 1984 saw the first use of M1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles on the National Training Center battle field. The first armored cavalry squadron rotation occurred in November 1984. Units from the 101st Airborne Division participated in the first light force rotation in March 1985. The U.S. 197th Infantry Brigade participated in the first extended rotation with brigade operations in June 1985. The first urban terrain mission was conducted at the National Training Center Pioneer Training Facility in December 1993.
The National Training Center and Fort Irwin continue to serve as the Army's premier training center. Officials from many countries have visited the National Training Center and use it as a model to build their own training centers. As in the past, Fort Irwin pits soldiers against a harsh environment, but now adds a determined and formidable opposing force. As during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm, the National Training Center and Fort Irwin continue to train units to fight and win on the battlefield.