The M1 Abrams main battle tank may be the most iconic armored combat vehicle in the Department of Defense’s arsenal, but it’s far from the most maneuverable. Although far more mobile and flexible than the M60 it replaced back in 1980 and capable of hauling ass at 30 mph on rugged terrain, the Abrams is more known for its imposing firepower and armor. It’s not suited for a downrange performance of Swan Lake.
That’s what makes this video of an M1 Abrams executing a near-perfect drift in the snowy byways of Norway, brought to my attention by Washington Post military reporter Dan Lamothe on April 10, so damn delightful: This Abrams floats like a butterfly, but it stings like a 62 metric-ton armored shithouse.
Here it is in GIF form, for your endlessly looped pleasure:
U.S. Marine Corps/Task & Purpose
The footage was shot during the Cold Response exercise by NATO forces back in 2016. In this clip, a Norwegian Telemark Battalion is teaching U.S. Marine Corps M1A1 tankers “techniques of driving tracked vehicles in winter conditions” on a specially designed ice track.
That said, this is unfortunately not the best tank drift video I’ve seen since watching tank videos became my day job. That honor is reserved for this random footage of a diesel-powered Russian (or Ukrainian) T-80UD performing an armored tribute to “The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift” in an abandoned concrete parking lot somewhere — without the requisite snow.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."