About 5,000 M1A1 Abrams tanks were produced from 1986–92 and featured the 120 mm (4.7 in) developed by AG of for the Leopard 2, improved armor, and a protection system. Production of M1 and M1A1 tanks totaled some 9,000 tanks at a cost of approximately $4.3 million per unit. By 1999, costs for the tank were upwards of a vehicle.
The M1 Abrams was developed during the as a successor to the canceled . The M1 Abrams contract went to Chrysler Defense and was the first vehicle to adopt . Adaptations before the Persian (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm) gave the vehicle better firepower and NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protection. Being vastly superior to Iraqi tanks, very few M1 tanks were hit by enemy fire. Upgrades after the war improved the tank's weapons sights and fire control unit. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 destroyed Iraq's military. Vulnerabilities in urban combat were addressed with the modification. The Marine Corps sent a company of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan in late 2010.
During the Gulf War only 18 Abrams tanks were taken out of service due to battle damage: nine were permanent losses, and another nine suffered repairable damage, mostly from mines. Not a single Abrams crewman was lost in the conflict, while inside the protection of the M1A1's armor, by enemy fire. Casualties did occur, but in all known cases, the cause was fratricide from other US weapons. There were few reports of mechanical failure. US armor commanders maintained an unprecedented 90% operational readiness for their M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks.