M1A2 Reactive Applique Armor - Clad In Explosives

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TL;DR: An M1A2 Abrams experimentally fitted with Blazer ERA.


Ever since the first ERA was patented in Germany by a Norwegian named Dr. Manfred Held, the US had their eye on the technology. Dr. Manfred Held would go on to work with Rafael of Israel to fine tune this early ERA into what would eventually come to be known as Blazer ERA. For the time, Blazer showed very impressive results with regards to defeating chemical munitions, especially smaller ones like RPGs. The US, of course, followed this too and eventually acquired the rights to produce and experiment with Blazer in the 1980s, however, to maintain secrecy, the project was dubbed Xm 1/2. Both the Army and the Marines participated in this project, however, the Army pulled out in 1988. The Marines continued the project on their own, eventually mounting Blazer onto their M60A1s and M60A3s in packages dubbed Reactive Applique Armor (RAA). The M60 series were not the only tanks considered for an RAA package, however. With the continued escalation of threats potentially capable of taking out previous Abrams models, the new M1A2 program was started, with an RAA package considered to be part of its late development. Of course, to see if this was even possible, tests had to be carried out, eventually leading to an M1A2 being experimentally fitted with tiles of Blazer ERA cut specifically to conform to the shape of the Abrams’s turret, something that was not done for the M60s. For unknown reasons, the project of an M1A2-specific RAA package would be dropped in 1988, when the Army pulled out of the Xm 1/2 project.

Place In Game:

What we have here is really just an M1A2 with Blazer ERA, which isn’t all that great on its own. The real draw of this vehicle comes with its history. This specific M1A2 configuration is for sure one of the least known, with many War Thunder players and even tank enthusiasts not even knowing it existed. It’s a very modern tank fitted with some of the oldest ERA there was. This factor alone would easily draw some people to it, even if it may be redundant or outclassed by other M1A2 variants fitted with better ERA. Since this project was carried out while the M1A2 was technically still in development, arguments can be made to limit its ammo pool a bit as to allow a lower BR. Playstyle would be pretty much identical to the standard M1A2 already in-game. While the Blazer is nice, it isn’t anything to write home about at the BR this vehicle will find itself at. As this vehicle was along the lines of a one-off experiment, in-game placement obviously wouldn’t see it in the tech tree, however, it could easily make for a nice squadron or event vehicle.


Armament: M256 120mm cannon, 1x 12.7mm machine gun (maybe), 1-2x 7.62mm machine gun(s)

Dimensions: 7.93m, 3.66m, 2.44m (L,W,H)

Weight: 62500kg

Armor: Same as M1A2 in-game plus ERA

Crew: 4 (Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader)

Ammunition: Same as M1A2 in-game

Speed: 67kph

Horsepower: 1500hp


The same picture as above but from Ballisticians in War and Peace A History of the United States Army Ballistics Research Laboratory Volume 3 and with a caption:


Ballisticians in War and Peace A History of the United States Army Ballistics Research Laboratory Volume 3 (https://archive.org/details/DTIC_ADA300522)



Would be neat as an armor mod for the existing M1A2, maybe an event vehicle but please god not another tech tree filler thats just a worthless and heavy armor kit added onto an existing vehicle like TES or Azur

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A better armored abrams will always be a yes from me!

+1 as a modification to the TT M1A2.


+1 for this, if Russia can get thermals fitted only to prototype T-80U and T-80B, we can get this as a modification as well


100%. Its only fair. Gaijin wanted to open this stupid can of worms for the Yak 141 and T80s.

+1 TT mod for M1A2

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A very interesting find!
I just wonder when these tests took place. According to S. Zaloga in M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, 1982-92 the first prototype of M1A2 was delivered in December 1990. This is significantly later than 1988 when the RAA package was abandoned. Any ideas?

ZALOGA, Steven J., 1993. M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank 1982–92. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1855322838.

As I understand it, 1988 is when the Army abandoned the project. The Marines were still very much interested in it and put it on their M60s that would see service in Operation Desert Storm. RAA is the same ERA that is found on the M60A1 RISE (P) and M60A3 TTS in-game. These vehicles were used well into 1991 so it only stands to reason that when the Marines were asked about what they wanted on the M1A2, ERA was on the list as it had served them well. Now, whether or not the RAA fitted to the M60s and the RAA fitted to the M1A2 has exactly the same performance, I don’t know. Information on this specific Abrams and its specific RAA kit is incredibly elusive. I think it’s a safe bet, however.

Below is a picture from the same book the picture of M1A2 RAA is from, just one page over:


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Does that mean that the USMC was considering the use of M1A2? Cool stuff.

Possibly yes. Though could have also made the request intending to put the package on the M1A1 as well.

The following is just my schizo theory but, I find it to be entirely possible that the USMC used M1A2 development project to see if ERA would actually provide a tangible survivability increase on an Abrams. They may have not even been intending to actually use the M1A2 at all and would just request the armor package after denying the M1A2. This could have saved money from having to perform the experiment themselves.