Transcript: Impossible Engineering Series 4 - Ep 1- Abrams Tank | Jun 23, 2021

[dramatic music]

Fast clips show images of massive modern engineering structures around the world.

The narrator says FROM THE PLANET'S
MOST STUNNING STATE-OF-THE-ART
STRUCTURES...

An engineer on top of a structure says BELOW YOU RIGHT NOW ARE
ABOUT FIVE JET ENGINES.

At a construction site, another engineer says NO ONE HAS EVER BUILT
ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE,

The narrator says TO ITS
MIGHTIEST MODERN MACHINES.

On a state-of-the-art vessel, a man says THERE IS SO MUCH ENGINEERING
IN THIS STRUCTURE, IT'S
MIND-BLOWING.

A clip shows two men jetpack flying.

A man says WE'RE ESSENTIALLY REDEFINING
THE APPROACH TO HUMAN FLIGHT.

The narrator says NONE WOULD HAVE
BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE
GROUND-BREAKING INNOVATORS
OF THE PAST.

A man with a remote control car says WOAH!
MY GOSH.

A NASA engineer stands next to a jet propulsion backpack says IT IS JUST THE MOST
DELIGHTFUL FLYING MACHINE
THAT I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED.

The narrator says IN THIS EPISODE...
AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE TANK.

A man stands next to a tan war tank and says THIS IS THE BATTLEFIELD
HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMP.

The narrator says MILITARY ENGINEERING
DRIVEN TO ITS LIMITS.

A man says NEVER A DULL DAY WHEN YOU'RE
OUT AT THE TEST SITE
TESTING TANKS.

The narrator says AND THE PIONEERING HISTORIC
INNOVATIONS...

A man on a helicopter says YOU REALLY SENSE THAT THIS
IS A POWERFUL MACHINE DON'T YOU?

The pilot says IT'S LOVELY.

After an explosion, a man says WOAH!
THIS IS A SCENE OF TOTAL
DESTRUCTION.

The narrator says THAT MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE,
POSSIBLE.

The title slate appears. It looks like a piece of graphing paper full of equations and sketches of an airplane, skyscraper, and monorail. The title reads "Impossible Engineering."

Fast clips show images of a desert area.

The narrator says YUMA COUNTY, ARIZONA.
THREE THOUSAND SQUARE
KILOMETRES OF THE HARSHEST
TERRAIN IN THE AMERICAN
SOUTHWEST MAKE UP THE US
ARMY'S BIGGEST TESTING GROUND.
WHICH MEANS THIS UNINHABITED
DESERT IS ANYTHING BUT
PEACEFUL.
THIS IS THE ARMY'S BIGGEST LAND
COMBAT VEHICLE: THE MIGHTY
ABRAMS TANK, KNOWN AS
'THE BEAST'.

A man in a black T-shirt says THE BEAST IS AN ABSOLUTELY
AMAZING MACHINE.
ABRAMS IS THE BEST TANK IN
THE WORLD HANDS DOWN.

The narrator says DEPLOYED IN EVERY US
CONFLICT SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION
IN 1980, THESE AMAZING MACHINES
HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME.

A man with glasses says THERE'S NO TANK OUT THERE
THAT'S MORE LETHAL MORE
MANOEUVRABLE, MORE ABILITY
TO PROVIDE SHOCK EFFECT ON
THE BATTLE FIELD THIS IS THE
ULTIMATE IN THE GROUND COMBAT
SYSTEM.

The narrator says THE ABRAMS M1 TANK.
WEIGHING AS MUCH AS A HERD OF
TWENTY ELEPHANTS, THIS SEVENTY
TON COMBAT VEHICLE IS
TURBO-POWERED TO REACH SPEEDS
OF 45 MILES PER HOUR.
IT CARRIES FOUR CREW, THE
COMMANDER, GUNNER AND LOADER
IN THE TURRET, WITH THE DRIVER
BELOW IN THE HULL.
THE ABRAMS IS PUT TOGETHER
IN LIMA, OHIO.

Bill says I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS TANK.
THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.
THE FIRST YEAR I WAS MARRIED
I SPENT MORE NIGHTS HERE ON MY
TANK THAN I DID IN MY HOME
AND MY WIFE CAN VERIFY THAT.

Bill is in his late thirties, with short wavy brown hair and a beard. He wears glasses, a gingham shirt, and navy blue trousers.

The narrator says FORMER TANK COMMANDER BILL
GOIN IS THE PROJECT MANAGER.

Bill stands next to a tank at the factory and says IF WE WERE GOING TO KIND
OF WALK AROUND THE TANK.
THIS IS WHAT WE CALL THE FRONT
GLACIS OF THE TANK, SO YOU CAN
SEE THE DRIVER'S HOLE'S RIGHT
IN THERE SO THE DRIVER'S DOWN
INSIDE THE HOLE.
AND THE DRIVER SITS IN KIND
OF A KICKED BACK POSITION.
HE'S LAID BACK, HE'S GOT KIND
OF MOTORCYCLE TYPE CONTROLS.
WHERE THAT SIGHT IS UP THERE
YOU CAN SEE THOSE TWO WINDOWS
THAT'S THE GUNNER'S SIGHT.
THE GUNNER IS THE ONE WHO'S
PRIMARILY ENGAGING WITH THIS -
IT'S 120 MM SMOOTH BORE CANNON.
THEN YOU'VE GOT UP ON TOP HERE
YOU'LL SEE THERE'S A REMOTE
WEAPONS STATION, PUT A 50
CALIBRE MACHINE GUN ON THERE.
THEN YOU'VE GOT THIS ALMOST
LOOKS LIKE R2D2 KIND OF THING
STICKING UP THERE, THAT'S THE
COMMANDER'S INDEPENDENT THERMAL
VIEWER.
OVER IN THIS HATCH HERE THAT'S
THE LOADER'S HATCH, THAT'S
WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO BE
RELOADING FROM BECAUSE THAT'S
THE LARGEST DIAMETER HATCH
ON THE TANK.
AND THEN BACK HERE THIS IS WHERE
THE TURBINE EXHAUST COMES OUT
OF.
SO IT'S GREAT ON A COLD DAY YOU
CAN BE BACK HERE GETTING WARMED
UP SOLDIERS LIVE ON THESE TANKS
AND SO YOU CAN KIND OF HANG
THINGS OFF OF HERE YOU CAN WRAP
UP A BURRITO AND HANG IT OFF OF
THERE FOR A LITTLE BIT IT'LL GET
WARMED UP REAL QUICK FOR YOU.
GREAT ON A WINTER DAY.

The narrator says COOKING BURRITOS
ASIDE, THE ABRAMS TANK NEEDS
TO BE ABLE TO PERFORM A
VARIETY OF VITAL TASKS,
MANOEUVRING ACROSS
THE BATTLEFIELD AND PROVIDING
ACCURATE FIREPOWER WHILE
KEEPING ITS CREW SAFE.
BUT MAKING ALL THAT POSSIBLE
REQUIRES SOLVING A LONG LIST
OF HUGE ENGINEERING CHALLENGES.
HOW DO YOU POWER A 70 TON
MONSTER UP TO SPEEDS IN EXCESS
OF 45 MILES PER HOUR?
HOW DO YOU PROTECT ITS
OCCUPANTS AGAINST ALL THE
THREATS OF A MODERN
BATTLEFIELD?
AND HOW TO YOU CREATE A VEHICLE
CAPABLE OF TAMING WHATEVER KIND
OF TERRAIN IS THROWN AT IT?

(music plays)

The narrator says THE ROMANS USED INTERLOCKING
SHIELDS TO CREATE A PROTECTIVE
SHELL ALL AROUND THEIR FOOT
SOLDIERS BUT IF ONE MAN
TRIPPED... THE STRATEGY
LITERALLY FELL APART.
IN THE MIDDLE AGES SIEGE
TOWERS WERE ALL THE RAGE, BUT
THEY WERE SLOW AND CUMBERSOME
AND, BEING WOODEN, HIGHLY
FLAMMABLE.
BUT IN 1487 LEONARDO DA VINCI
HAD A LIGHTBULB MOMENT.
WHEN HE SAW A TURTLE.
BUT IF ANYONE HAD EVER BUILT
HIS WHEELED WOOD AND METAL CONE
THEY'D HAVE SOON REALISED ITS
SHORTCOMINGS.

In animation, the conic turtle-tank collapses.

The narrator says OVER 400 YEARS LATER AN
ENGINEERING INNOVATION
EMERGED THAT CHANGED
THE FACE OF THE WORLD'S
BATTLEFIELDS FOREVER...
THE TANK.

Patrick stands next to an old World War 1 tank and says SO THIS IS A MARK 4 TANK
AND IT'S THE FIRST MASS
PRODUCED TANK OF THE FIRST WORLD
WAR.

Patrick is in his thirties, with short wavy light brown hair and wears jeans and a black sweater.

The narrator says FORMER BRITISH
ARMY CAPTAIN PATRICK BURY
IS AT THE TANK MUSEUM IN
DORSET, ENGLAND TO FIND OUT
HOW THESE MACHINES CAME INTO
EXISTENCE.

Patrick says NOW THERE'S THREE BASIC
THINGS IN TANK DESIGN WHICH THIS
ACTUALLY ENCAPSULATES:
PROTECTION, MOBILITY AND YOU GOT
FIREPOWER AND ALL THOSE DESIGN
ELEMENTS ARE STILL SEEN TODAY
IN THE DESIGN OF MODERN TANKS.

The narrator says AS THIS IS A DRIVEABLE
REPLICA, PATRICK'S ABLE
TO EXPERIENCE FIRST-HAND WHAT
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE TO RIDE
THIS MEGA MACHINE.

Patrick drives the replica and says THIS IS INCREDIBLE THE
AMOUNT OF NOISE INSIDE HERE
AND VIBRATIONS OFF THE TRACKS.
IT'S JUST UNREAL.

The narrator says IT WAS THE
BRAINCHILD OF WILLIAM TRITTON,
WALTER WILSON AND DRAUGHTSMAN
WILLIAM RIGBY, WHO CAME UP
WITH THIS ENTIRELY
NEW TYPE OF WAR MACHINE.
WORLD WAR ONE SAW DEADLOCK
ON THE WESTERN FRONT.
WITH BOTH SIDES DUG IN TO THEIR
TRENCHES, CROSSING 'NO MAN'S
LAND' IN BETWEEN WAS SEEMINGLY
IMPOSSIBLE ON FOOT.
SO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT ASKED
THIS ENGINEERING TRIO TO
DEVISE MACHINES THAT WOULD
ALLOW TROOPS TO ADVANCE ACROSS
THIS TORN UP TERRAIN.
AND CRUCIALLY, GET THEM OVER
THE ENEMY TRENCHES.
AND THIS WAS THEIR SOLUTION,
THE BRITISH TANK.
A TRACKED AND ARMOURED FIGHTING
MACHINE.

Patrick says THE TRACKS WERE AMAZING
DESIGN FOR THE TIME BECAUSE
SPREAD THE WEIGHT, AND THEY ALSO
ARE ABLE TO DEAL WITH THE MUD.

The narrator says IT TRAVELLED AT
FOUR MILES PER HOUR AND THE
INFANTRY WALKED BEHIND IT,
USING IT AS COVER UNTIL THEY
REACHED THE ENEMY LINES.

Patrick says YOU'D JUST GET A SENSE OF
TERROR IF YOU WERE IN THE TRENCH
IF YOU'D NEVER SEEN A TANK
BEFORE ONE OF THESE UNLEASHED
AGAINST YOU AND JUST SLOWLY
TRUNDLING TOWARDS YOU, FIRING
ITS WEAPONS, THERE'S NOTHING
YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

The narrator says IT TOOK AN
EIGHT-MAN CREW TO OPERATE
THE MARK 4, ALL SQUEEZED
INTO ITS CRAMPED INTERIOR.

Inside the tank, Patrick says THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN
THE DRIVER'S POSITION.
WHEN THIS HATCH IS UP YOU'VE
ACTUALLY GOT A REALLY GOOD FIELD
OF VIEW.
AND THEN WHEN YOU WENT INTO
ACTION, YOU'D CLOSE DOWN THIS
HATCH, LIKE THAT, AND YOU'D
BE USING THIS PERISCOPE, WHICH
IS JUST A TINY LITTLE SLIT,
AND OBVIOUSLY YOUR SITUATIONAL
AWARENESS IS MUCH MORE LIMITED
WHEN YOU'RE IN BATTLE.
NEXT TO ME YOU WOULD HAVE HAD
THE COMMANDER OF THE TANK.
HE BASICALLY IS RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE DIRECTION AND ALSO
THE TARGET INDICATION.
IN THE DIN, YOU KNOW, HE CAN
TAP THE DRIVER AND TELL HIM
WHICH WAY TO GO, BUT CRUCIALLY
FOR THE TANK TO MOVE HE NEEDS TO
COMMUNICATE WITH THE GEARSMEN
AT THE BACK SO OFTEN THEY WOULD
BANG A SPANNER FOR THE GEARSMEN
TO STOP.
THE DRIVER WOULD ENGAGE
THE CLUTCH, THE GEARSMEN WOULD
CHANGE THE GEAR, THE TANK TRACK
WOULD EITHER CHANGE DIRECTION,
ONE WOULD GO ONE WOULD STOP
AND THAT WOULD ROTATE THE TANK.

The narrator says MANY OF THESE
EARLY MACHINES BROKE DOWN.
AND THE CREW WERE EITHER
POISONED BY THE FUMES FROM
THE ENGINE BESIDE THEM,
OR CAPTURED BY THE ENEMY.
DESPITE THIS, ENGINEERS
CONTINUED TO DEVELOP THIS
ORIGINAL DESIGN AND A TRACKED
VEHICLE SOON BECAME A VITAL
PART OF THE MILITARY ARSENAL.

Patrick says ALTHOUGH IT'S SIMPLE AND
BASIC INSIDE AND INDEED OUT,
IT WAS REALLY EFFECTIVE WHEN
IT WAS UNLEASHED AGAINST THE
ENEMY IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

(CLOCK TICKING)

The narrator says IN LIMA, OHIO
FORMER TANK COMMANDER BILL
GOIN AND HIS TEAM ARE STANDING
ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE
EARLY PIONEERS TO BUILD
THE MOST ADVANCED TANK EVER
MADE.

Bill says REALLY ITS DRAWING ON PRETTY
MUCH EVERY DECADE OF TANK
INNOVATION IF YOU GO ALL THE WAY
BACK TO WORLD WAR 1 IT'S A TRACK
VEHICLE JUST LIKE YOU SEE
WITH THE MARK 4.
THAT CONCEPT HASN'T CHANGED.
THAT NO MAN'S LAND THAT YOU
JUST COULDN'T GET ACROSS,
WELL THAT TYPE OF TERRAIN STILL
EXISTS TODAY AND THIS TRACK
VEHICLE SOLUTION IS THE BEST,
MOST MANOEUVRABLE IN ALL OF
THOSE TYPES OF DIFFICULT
TERRAIN.
THAT'S WHY WE PREFER THIS TRACK
SOLUTION STILL, EVEN AFTER 100
YEARS OF TANK DEVELOPMENT.

The narrator says THE 20 METRE LONG
TRACKS ARE MADE UP OF LINKED
STEEL PLATES WITH REINFORCED
RUBBER TREADS.
EACH TRACK WEIGHS A STAGGERING
TWO AND A HALF TONS.
PRODUCT MANAGER DAVID MOHR
OVERSEES THE PROCESS.

David is in his fifties, with short slightly wavy gray hair and a moustache. He wears protective goggles, black trousers, and a gray and white polo shirt.

David says WE'VE PULLED THE TRACK UP
AND OVER THE ROAD WHEELS.
WE'RE NOW JOINING THE TRACK
WITH THE LAST COUPLER.
SO WE USE THAT HYDRAULIC
ACTUATOR TO PULL THE TRACK
TOGETHER, AND THEN ONCE WE
ADJUST THE FINAL TENSION, IT'LL
BE DONE WITH THE TRACK TENSIONER
ON THAT LAST ROAD WHEEL.

The narrator says WITH THE TRACKS
ON, THE HULL SECTION IS NOW
COMPLETE.

David says AT THIS POINT IT DOES
LOOK LIKE A TANK.
THAT'S A CONVERTIBLE, WE CALL
THESE CONVERTIBLES AT THIS STAGE
BECAUSE YOU CAN DRIVE AROUND
A TEST TRACK JUST LIKE THAT.

The narrator says ONCE FULLY ASSEMBLED, THOSE
TRACKS MEAN THAT NOTHING CAN
GET IN THE BEAST'S WAY.

A clip shows a tank running over a car on a test site.

Bill says JUST BECAUSE OF
THE SHEER WEIGHT OF THE VEHICLE
EVERYTHING BENDS TO ITS WILL
GOING ACROSS COUNTRY.
SO BECAUSE OF THAT, YOU HAVE
THIS KIND OF SMOOTH RIDE, THAT
YOU CAN REALLY FOCUS ON USING
THE WEAPONS SYSTEM, YOU CAN
REALLY FOCUS ON MANOEUVRING.
IT'S A VERY CONFIDENCE INSPIRING
FEELING THAT YOU HAVE WHEN
YOU'RE INSIDE THE TANK.

The narrator says BUT FOR THIS
MIGHTY MACHINE TO BE EFFECTIVE
ON THE BATTLEFIELD...

Bill says WHEN THE BULLETS START TO
FLY YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO STAY
IN THE FIGHT.

The narrator says ITS CREW HAS TO BE ABLE
TO DEFEND ITSELF.

A man in a black T-shirt says IT'S A LIFE AND DEATH
SITUATION OUT THERE AND YOU WANT
TO BE ABLE TO ENGAGE THAT TARGET
BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO FIRE
BACK AT YOU.

The narrator says THE US ARMY'S
BIGGEST LAND COMBAT VEHICLE IS
THE ABRAMS TANK.
THE PLATOONS IN THE FIELD RELY
ON THE ENGINEERS BACK HOME
TO KEEP ITS CAPABILITIES UP
TO DATE.
IT'S A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY FOR
PROJECT MANAGER BILL GOIN
AND HIS TEAM.

Bill says THERE'S NO SECOND
PLACE WHEN IT COMES TO THE
BATTLEFIELD, RIGHT?
YOU EITHER ARE THE WINNER OR
YOU'RE IN TROUBLE.
SO, IN THE BACK OF OUR MIND,
THERE'S ALWAYS THE TANK CREW
IS IT GOING TO MAKE THEM MORE
EFFECTIVE?
BECAUSE THE COST OF GETTING IT
WRONG IS TOO HIGH.
YOU CAN'T PUT A COST ON GETTING
IT WRONG.
WE HAVE TO HAVE THE BEST TANK
THAT'S OUT THERE.

The narrator says SINCE ITS
INCEPTION, THE WEAPONRY ON
THE ABRAMS HAS BEEN
CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVED
AND UPDATED.
ITS FIRST MAJOR MODIFICATION IN
1985, WAS REPLACING A 115 MM
CANNON WITH A 120 MM MODEL.
ITS SECONDARY WEAPON IS A
7.62 MM M240 MACHINE GUN.
AND FIXED TO THE HIGHEST POINT
OF THE TANK, THERE'S A
50 CALIBRE M2 MACHINE GUN.
AS A FORMER TANK COMMANDER,
BILL KNOWS IT'S VITAL TO FIND
WAYS TO CONTROL ALL THIS
FIREPOWER IN A SIMPLE,
INTUITIVE WAY.

Bill says THERE'S A TREMENDOUS
AMOUNT THAT'S COMING AT YOU AS
A TANK COMMANDER.
YOU'RE ON THE RADIO, PLUS
YOU'RE LOOKING FOR TARGETS,
PLUS YOU'RE TRYING TO MANOEUVRE.
THE BULLETS START TO FLY AND
YOUR PUPILS DILATE AND YOU CAN'T
READ ANYTHING AND YOUR BREATH IS
GOING OUT OF CONTROL AND YOU'RE
JUST TRYING TO MANAGE, YOU KNOW,
KIND OF YOURSELF PHYSICALLY
AND STILL STAY IN THE FIGHT.
SO THE ENGINEERING HAS GOT TO
DEVELOP A SYSTEM THAT'S USEABLE
UNDER DURESS AND ALLOWS THE CREW
TO WORK AS A TEAM, IF IT DOESN'T
DO THAT OR IT DETRACTS FROM
THAT, THEN YOU'VE ACTUALLY
MADE IT LESS CAPABLE.

The narrator says IN LIVE COMBAT,
LOCATING THE ENEMY IS CRUCIAL.
THREATS CAN COME FROM ANY
DIRECTION - AT ANY TIME DAY...
OR NIGHT IN ANY CLIMATE OR
TERRAIN.
IT'S ESSENTIAL TO BE ABLE
TO RESPOND TO DANGER QUICKLY.

Greg says EVERY SECOND
COUNTS WHEN THEY'RE IN A COMBAT
SITUATION.

The narrator says ABRAMS TEST CHIEF
GREG DUDA KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE
OF RAPID TARGET ACQUISITION.

Greg is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and with very short graying hair. He wears jeans and a black T-shirt.

He says IT'S A LIFE AND DEATH
SITUATION OUT THERE AND YOU
ABSOLUTELY WANT TO BE ABLE TO
DETECT, RECOGNISE, IDENTIFY
THE TARGET AND ENGAGE THAT
TARGET BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE
TO FIRE BACK AT YOU.
A KEY COMPONENT IS TO HAVE
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
OF ANYTHING THAT'S AROUND YOU ON
THE BATTLEFIELD AND THAT COULD
COME FROM ANY DIRECTION AROUND
YOU.
IT IS TOUGH AND THAT'S ONE OF
THE BIG THINGS WE'RE LOOKING
TO ENHANCE IS THE AWARENESS THAT
THE CREW HAS WHEN THEY'RE
IN THE VEHICLE.

The narrator says COMING UP WITH WAYS
TO LOCATE AND DEFEND AGAINST
SURROUNDING THREATS FROM INSIDE
A TANK IS A HUGE CHALLENGE FOR
THE CURRENT ABRAMS TEAM, AND
ONE FACED BY ENGINEERS
OF THE PAST.
(CLOCK TICKING)

Inside a tank, Dan says AND HERE WE GO.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

The narrator says ENGINEER DAN
DICKRELL IS TAKING THIS
HUNDRED YEAR OLD FRENCH TANK
OUT FOR SOME TARGET PRACTICE
TO DISCOVER HOW IT RADICALLY
CHANGED TANK DESIGN.

Dan is in his mid-forties, with short wavy brown hair and a graying beard. He wears a polo shirt.

Dan says YOU CAN'T DESCRIBE
THE NOISE, THE VIBRATIONS.
IT'S LIKE BEING INSIDE BELLY OF
A STEEL MONSTER.
IT'S VERY VISCERAL.

The narrator says KNOWN AS THE FT, AT UNDER
FIVE METRES LONG AND WEIGHING
UNDER SEVEN TONS, COMPARED
TO THE ABRAMS, IT'S RELATIVELY
SMALL AND LIGHTWEIGHT.
THE BRAINCHILD OF AUTOMOTIVE
ENGINEER RODOLPHE
ERNST-METZMAIER AND RENOWNED
FRENCH CAR MAKER LOUIS RENAULT.
THE FT WAS DESIGNED TO BE USED
IN LARGE NUMBERS, WITH MANY
SENT AT A TIME IN A 'SWARM'
TO OVERWHELM THE ENEMY.
BUT WHAT MADE THIS TANK SO
EFFECTIVE WAS ITS ABILITY
TO TARGET THE ENEMY.

On a test site, Dan holds a timer as another man drives the tank backwards and says YOU READY TO GO?
ALRIGHT, THREE, TWO, ONE, GO.

The narrator says ALL THE TANKS BUILT DURING
WORLD WAR 1 HAD A FUNDAMENTAL
FLAW.
IN ORDER TO GET THE GUN POINTING
IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION,
THEY HAD TO REPOSITION
THE WHOLE TANK.

Dan says MAIN GUN SLOWLY COMING
ON TARGET.

The narrator says ON THE BATTLEFIELD, THIS WAS
HIGHLY INEFFECTIVE.

Dan says AND WE'RE GONNA CALL IT
RIGHT...
THERE.
SO 48 SECONDS, 48 SECONDS TO
TAKE THE TANK SPIN IT AROUND
EFFECTIVELY, 180 DEGREES.
IF THAT WAS TRYING TO KILL US,
ALMOST A MINUTE TO TURN THIS
THING AROUND THAT'S NOT VERY
FAST.

The narrator says BUT THE RENAULT FT
SOLVED THE PROBLEM.
IT WAS THE FIRST PRODUCTION
TANK TO HAVE A TURRET THAT
COULD ROTATE 360 DEGREES.
TO DEMONSTRATE THE DIFFERENCE
IT MAKES THE TANK WILL HAVE TO
FIND THE SAME TARGET FROM
THE SAME STARTING POSITION.
BUT THIS TIME, IT CAN GIVE IT
SOME SPIN.

Dan gets in the tank and says TO ROTATE IT, THERE'S NO
MOTOR.
IT'S ME, IT'S MY POWER.
I HAVE THIS STRAP, I'M STRAPPED
TO IT, I HANG ONTO HANDLES AND
I PRESS WITH MY LEGS AS HARD
AS I CAN TO MAKE THIS HUGE METAL
TURRET ROTATE AROUND.
IT TOOK THE TANK ABOUT 48
SECONDS TO ROTATE THE ENTIRETY
OF IT 180 DEGREES TO PUT
THE GUN ON TARGET I'M GONNA
GIVE IT A GO.
I GOT MY STOPWATCH, LET'S SEE
HOW FAST IT TAKES ME.
THREE, TWO, ONE, GO.
IT'S ROTATING.
WHOO!
IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF EFFORT.
THAT TOOK ABOUT 4 AND A HALF
SECONDS.
IN A SITUATION WHERE EVERY
SECOND COUNTS, THAT'S A HUGE
DEAL ON THE BATTLEFIELD.

The narrator says THE ROTATING TURRET WAS
TRULY REVOLUTIONARY.

Dan says THE ABILITY FOR THIS TURRET
TO ROTATE A FULL 360 DEGREES WAS
A HUGE LEAP IN BATTLEFIELD
EFFECTIVENESS.
TO BE ABLE TO SEE ALL AROUND
AND THEN POSITION THIS TANK GUN
ON WHATEVER TARGET I CAN SEE
ALL OVER THE BATTLEFIELD, IT
LAID THE BASIS FOR THE MODERN
TANKS WE SEE TODAY.

(CLOCK TICKING)

The narrator says THE 30 TON TURRET
OF THE ABRAMS TANK WEIGHS
ALMOST AS MUCH AS FIVE RENAULT
FTS.
BUT INCREDIBLY, IT CAN ALSO
ROTATE 360 DEGREES...
IN UNDER TEN SECONDS.

Greg says THE TURRET CAN SLEW 700 MM
PER SECOND.
SO IT'S ONE OF THE MANY THINGS
THAT MAKE THE TANK AMAZING,
IS THE ABILITY TO MOVE AS
MUCH MASS AS IT HAS JUST SO
QUICKLY.

The narrator says LIKE THE FT, IT CAN FIRE
IN ANY DIRECTION.
BUT THE BIG DIFFERENCE IS THAT
THE ABRAMS LOCATES ITS TARGETS
USING STATE OF THE ART OPTICS.

Greg says WE CAN SEE THE VEHICLE'S
SIGHTING SYSTEMS.
WE HAVE THE GUNNER'S PRIMARY
SIGHT ON THE LEFT BENEATH
THE COMMANDER'S WEAPON STATION.
AND THEN ON THE RIGHT IS THE
CITV, THE COMMANDER'S
INDEPENDENT THERMAL VIEWER.
THE SIGHTING SYSTEMS ALLOW US
TO SEE AT NIGHT AND THEN
THERE'S LEVELS OF FOCUS AND ZOOM
THAT CAN BE BROUGHT IN TO SCAN
THE BATTLEFIELD FOR TARGETS.
THE TANK IS NOT JUST HARDWARE,
HEAVY METAL.
THERE'S ALSO A LOT OF SOFTWARE,
ELECTRONICS AND HIGH TECH
EQUIPMENT.
THERE'S 1.4 MILLION LINES OF
CODE ON THIS TANK.

The narrator says ALL THIS HIGH TECH
FEEDS INTO THE TURRET'S
INTERIOR COMPARTMENT.
THIS IS THE NERVE CENTRE
OF THE TANK.

Bill says TWENTY YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS A
TANK COMMANDER, YOU FELT LIKE
YOU WERE GETTING INTO A SUIT
OF ARMOUR, YOU AND YOUR THREE
CLOSEST BUDDIES YOUR TANK CREW.
NOW IT'S A LITTLE BIT MORE LIKE
GETTING INTO AN IRON MAN SUIT.
YOU'RE GETTING IN THERE,
AND THERE'S SO MUCH TECH.

The narrator says KNOWN AS 'THE BASKET', THIS
SPACE JUST THREE METRES WIDE,
IS SHARED BY A THREE MAN CREW.
THE LOADER'S POSITION IS NEXT
TO AN ARMOURED AMMUNITION
COMPARTMENT.
THE COMMANDER HAS CONTROLS FOR
ROTATING THE TURRET AND FIRING
THE CANNON OR MACHINE GUN.
THE GUNNER DOWN BELOW HAS THEIR
OWN SETS OF SIGHTS AND
WEAPONS CONTROLS.
SO, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE AT
THE CONTROLS OF THIS POWERFUL
MACHINE?
FORMER US ARMY TANK COMMANDER,
JOSEPH MURRIETA HAS FIRST-HAND
EXPERIENCE OF ITS CAPABILITIES.

Joseph is in his mid-forties, with short graying hair and a beard. He wears a military uniform.

He says HERE WE HAVE OURSELVES IN
THE TANK COMMANDER SEAT.
THE TANK COMMANDER HAS AN
EXTENSION OF WHAT THE GUNNER
SEES SO HE CAN VERIFY.
WE ALSO HAVE USAGE OF OUR
360 DEGREE VIEWER.
GONE ARE THE DAYS OF HAVING
YOUR HEAD OUT AND GETTING YOUR
OWN SITUATIONAL AWARENESS,
WHICH WAS REALLY HARD FOR A
TANK COMMANDER TO BREAK,
BECAUSE IT'S REALLY COMFORTING
TO BE ABLE TO SEE OUTSIDE YOUR
TANK AND SEE THE BATTLEFIELD.
SO NOW, THAT GENERATION'S PRETTY
MUCH GONE, AND YOU HAVE A NEW
GENERATION THAT'S TRAINED TO BE
UNDERCOVER TO USE
HIS SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
AND TO RELY ON HIS THERMALS.

The narrator says THIS NEW GENERATION
ARE ALSO OPERATING THE MACHINE
GUN BY REMOTE CONTROL...
AND CONTROLLING THE CANNON
WITH A JOYSTICK.

Joseph shows how the joystick works and says LIKE ANY FULL SIZE VIDEOGAME
IN AN OLD SCHOOL ARCADE,
YOU WILL JUST GIVE THE INPUT.
LEFT, RIGHT, DOWN AND UP, AND
THEN YOU HAVE THE TRIGGER
JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.
SO YOU HAVE A GUN HERE THAT
WEIGHS MORE THAN 15 TONS, SO YOU
CAN SEE HOW EFFORTLESSLY IT
ELEVATES AND DEPRESSES.
SO, WHEN THE TANK IS ON UNEVEN
TERRAIN AND TRAVERSING, THE GUN
WILL STAY STATIONARY TO ITS
TARGET.
SO WHILE THE TANK IS
TRAVELLING, THE GUN IS BASICALLY
LOOKING LIKE THIS INSIDE.
AND THE REASON IT'S DOING
THAT IS IT'S ACTUALLY STAYING
ON TARGET.

The narrator says THE CANNON CAN LOCK ONTO
TARGETS UP TO FOUR KILOMETRES
AWAY, EVEN WHEN IT'S
TRAVELLING AT SPEED.

Greg says THE VEHICLE CAN BE
MOVING AT UP TO 40 MPH OVER VERY
ROUGH TERRAIN AND THE WEAPON IS
STABILISED.
SO, FROM THE GUNNER'S
STANDPOINT HE'S SITTING STILL,
AND WHAT THAT RESULTS IN IS
ACCURACY ON THE MOVE.
AND THAT MEANS HE'S GOING TO HIT
WHAT HE'S SHOOTING AT.

The narrator says BUT HITTING THOSE TOP SPEEDS
REQUIRES SERIOUS MOTORING
MUSCLE.

Bill says SO YOU'VE GOT A 70 TON
VEHICLE YOU WANT IT TO GO OVER
45 MPH AND WHAT DOES IT TAKE
TO DO THAT?
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SPEED
OF THE BATTLE, IT'S BEING ABLE
TO OUTMANOEUVRE.
THAT'S REALLY THE HARDEST PART
OF THE ENGINEERING.

A man over the radio says RED, THIS IS
RED 1.
ENGAGE TANKS.
FIRE WHEN READY.

The narrator says THE ICONIC ABRAMS
M1 IS THE US ARMY'S MAIN
BATTLE TANK.

(SOLDIER SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY)

The narrator says KEEPING IT AHEAD OF THE FIELD
OVER FOUR DECADES OF SERVICE IS
A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT FOR FORMER
TANK COMMANDER BILL GOIN AND
THE TEAM INVOLVED IN BUILDING
THIS UNIQUE VEHICLE.

Bill says FROM AN ENGINEERING
PERSPECTIVE IT'S RIGHT
AT THE EDGE OF WHAT'S CAPABLE.
EVEN THOUGH FROM THE OUTSIDE IT
DOESN'T LOOK LIKE IT'S VERY
DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE FIELDED
YOU KNOW 40 YEARS AGO.
ON THE INSIDE IT'S COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT.
THE MOST UPDATED ELECTRONICS
YOU'RE GOING TO FIND ON THE
BATTLEFIELD ARE STUFFED INSIDE
OF THIS.
FRANKLY WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO
EVEN TALK ABOUT WHAT SOME OF
THESE TECHNOLOGIES ARE THAT ARE
PACKED INTO THE INSIDE OF THIS
TANK.

The narrator says A TANK IS
EFFECTIVELY TWO SEPARATE
MACHINES IN ONE.
THE TURRET CONTROLS SIGHTS AND
WEAPONRY.
THE HULL IS ITS SET OF WHEELS.
ALMOST TEN METRES LONG, THE
REAR IS ELEVATED TO HOUSE THE
ENGINE WITH THE DRIVER'S
COMPARTMENT AT THE FRONT.
THE TURRET AND THE HULL ARE
WORKED ON SEPARATELY ON TWO
GIANT ASSEMBLY LINES
OVERSEEN BY DAVID MOHR.

David says WHEN THE TURRET
FINISHES AT THE END OF THE LINE,
THE TURRET THEN GETS ITS FINAL
GUN SHIELD.
THE TURRET BASKET GUARD'S ON.
AT THAT POINT, WE'LL LOAD IT
ONTO THE FINISHED HULL.

The narrator says JOINING THE TWO
TOGETHER CALLS FOR MILLIMETRE
PERFECT PRECISION ENGINEERING.

David says WE CALL IT MARRYING A
TURRET.
YOU'D PROBABLY GUESS WHAT WE
CALL IT WHEN WE HAVE TO PULL
THE TURRET OFF THE VEHICLE.
WE CALL IT A DIVORCE.

The narrator says ONCE THE TWO HALVES ARE
UNITED, THE COMBINED WEIGHT IS
AN INCREDIBLE 70 TONS.

David says THIS ONE LOOKS LIKE IT'S
ABOUT READY TO GO FOR A RIDE.

The narrator says SO HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET
THIS MIGHTY MACHINE MOVING
AT HIGH SPEED?

Bill says ONE OF THE KEY TENETS
OF ARMED WARFARE IS THE SHOCK
EFFECT SO YOU WANT TO SHOCK THE
ENEMY BY MOVING AT THEM SO FAST
THAT THEY HAVE VERY LITTLE TIME
TO REACT.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SPEED OF THE
BATTLE IT'S BEING ABLE TO
OUTMANOEUVRE.

The narrator says THIS PRESENTS A CRITICAL
CONUNDRUM.
THE TANK NEEDS ENOUGH POWER
TO GO ALL OUT BUT IF THE ENGINE
ITSELF ADDS TOO MUCH WEIGHT,
IT BECOMES LESS MANOEUVRABLE.

Bill says YOU'VE GOT A 70 TON VEHICLE
YOU WANT IT TO GO OVER 45 MPH
AND WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO DO
THAT?
THAT'S REALLY THE HARDEST
PART OF THE ENGINEERING IS
GETTING THAT BALANCE RIGHT.
YOU NEED TO HAVE SOMETHING
THAT'S GIVING YOU ALL THE POWER
THAT YOU NEED BUT AS LIGHT AS
YOU NEED IT TO BE.

The narrator says DESIGNING AN ENGINE THAT'S
HEAVY DUTY, BUT LIGHTWEIGHT,
SEEMS AN IMPOSSIBLE MISSION.
SOLVING IT REQUIRES IMAGINATIVE
ENGINEERING FROM THE PAST.

(CLOCK TICKING)

(music plays)

Mile, a helicopter pilot says STARTER LIGHT'S GOING
ENGAGE, LITTLE BOOSTER PUMP
SHOVING SOME FUEL IN.
IT'S RUNNING ON ITS OWN.

Ben says AND THERE WE GO.
WOW.

The narrator says AEROSPACE ENGINEER
BEN EVANS IS TAKING TO THE
SKIES IN A PIONEERING AIRCRAFT
THAT MAY HOLD THE KEY FOR
THE TEAM WORKING ON THE ABRAMS
TANK.

Ben is in his thirties, with short brown hair and wears glasses and a blue gray jacket.

Ben says THAT IS AN
INCREDIBLE FEELING.
YOU REALLY SENSE THIS IS
A POWERFUL MACHINE DON'T YOU?

The pilot says IT'S LOVELY.

The narrator says MIKE CUTTELL OWNS THIS
ICONIC 1963 ALOUETTE 2
HELICOPTER.

Mike is in his sixties, with short gray hair and wears sunglasses, a white shirt, yellow tie, and army green jacket.

Ben says THE ALOUETTE 2 HELICOPTER
REALLY BECAME ONE OF THE MOST
INFLUENTIAL HELICOPTERS IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
IT SET THE TREND FOR MODERN DAY
HELICOPTERS.

The narrator says THE FIRST HELICOPTERS WERE
POWERED BY PISTON-DRIVEN
ENGINES LIKE THOSE USED IN
CARS.
AND AS THE AIRCRAFT GREW IN
SIZE, SO DID THEIR ENGINES.
BUT AMBITIOUS HELICOPTER
DESIGNERS STRUGGLED WITH THIS
WEIGHT PROBLEM.

Ben says THEY WANTED TO MAKE
HELICOPTERS BIGGER AND MORE
POWERFUL, WHICH MEANT BIGGER
ENGINES.
BUT INCREASINGLY THEY WERE
FINDING THAT AS HELICOPTERS GOT
BIGGER MORE AND MORE OF THE
POWER FROM THOSE PISTON ENGINES
WAS ACTUALLY BEING USED TO
LIFT THE WEIGHT OF THE PISTON
ENGINE, AND NOT THE THING THE
HELICOPTER WANTED TO LIFT WHICH
WAS THE CARGO OR THE PASSENGERS.

The narrator says THEY FACED THE SAME PROBLEM
AS THE TEAM BEHIND THE ABRAMS
TANK, THEY NEEDED AN ENGINE
THAT WAS POWERFUL,
BUT LIGHTWEIGHT.
IN 1950S FRANCE, ONE MAN CAME
UP WITH THE PERFECT SOLUTION.
JOSEPH SZYDLOWSKI WAS A
POLISH-BORN ENGINE DESIGNER
WHO PIONEERED THE USE OF THE
TURBOSHAFT GAS TURBINE ENGINE
IN HELICOPTERS.
THE ALOUETTE 2 WAS THE
FIRST MASS PRODUCED HELICOPTER
TO USE THE NEW ENGINE.

Back on land, Ben stands at the back of the helicopter and says SO BASICALLY WHAT WE'VE GOT
HERE IS A JET ENGINE, BUT
INSTEAD OF GENERATING THRUST
WE'RE GENERATING MECHANICAL
POWER DOWN A SHAFT.
THIS IS ONE OF THE AIR INTAKES,
AND THERE'S ANOTHER ONE ON
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ENGINE.
IT'S SUCKING AIR IN AT THE
FRONT OF THE ENGINE HERE AND
THAT AIR PASSES INTO A
COMPRESSOR THAT COMPRESSOR IS
SQUEEZING THE AIR INCREASING
ITS PRESSURE AND ITS
TEMPERATURE BEFORE IT PASSES
INTO THE COMBUSTION CHAMBER.
SO, IN THIS REGION HERE FUEL
GETS ADDED AND IGNITED AND THEN
YOU END UP WITH LOTS OF HOT HIGH
PRESSURE EXHAUST GASES WHICH
NEED TO ESCAPE SOMEWHERE.
AND THEY COME OUT BACK OF THE
ENGINE THROUGH THE EXHAUST.
BUT UNLIKE A JET ENGINE, WHERE
THOSE EXHAUST GASES ARE
ACCELERATED INTO A JET TO PUSH
THE AIRCRAFT FORWARD, WHAT
WE HAVE INSIDE HERE IS A
TURBINE.
AND THAT TURBINE IS CONNECTED TO
A SHAFT RUNNING DOWN THE CENTRE
OF THE ENGINE.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE SHAFT
COMING OUT THE FRONT OF
THE ENGINE HERE, INTO THIS
GEARBOX SYSTEM HERE CONVERTING
THAT POWER AND SENDING IT
VERTICALLY UPWARDS INTO
THE PROPELLER SYSTEM.

The narrator says THE KEY ELEMENTS OF
THE TURBO SHAFT ENGINE ARE THE
COMPRESSOR, WHICH PROVIDES THE
PRESSURISED AIR FOR ADDED TURBO
POWER, AND THE TURBINE, WHICH
TURNS THE SHAFT THAT SPINS
THE ROTORS.
ALTHOUGH THE ENGINE WEIGHS
JUST 143 KILOGRAMS, IT
GENERATES 530 HORSE POWER.

Ben says SO THIS ENGINE SYSTEM IS
REVOLUTIONARY, BECAUSE YOU CAN
GENERATE MORE POWER FOR LESS
WEIGHT THAN THE CONVENTIONAL
PISTON ENGINES THAT WERE BEING
USED BEFORE THE ALOUETTE 2.
THIS MAKES IT PERFECT FOR
SOMETHING LIKE A HELICOPTER
WHERE YOU NEED LOT OF POWER,
BUT YOU REALLY NEED TO KEEP
THE WEIGHT OF THE AIRCRAFT DOWN
AS LOW AS POSSIBLE.

The narrator says DELIVERING MAXIMUM
PUNCH FOR MINIMAL WEIGHT,
THE TURBOSHAFT ENGINE
TOOK HELICOPTER DESIGN
TO NEW HEIGHTS.

Ben says THE TURBOSHAFT REALLY WAS
A GAME-CHANGER AND WHAT THIS
ALLOWED DESIGNERS TO DO WAS TO
BUILD BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL
HELICOPTERS.
(CLOCK TICKING)

The narrator says SO HOW CAN THE
TEAM BUILDING THE ABRAMS
BATTLE TANK MAKE USE
OF A HELICOPTER ENGINE?
BY SUPERSIZING IT.
THIS GARGANTUAN GAS GUZZLER IS
A 1500 HORSE POWER VERSION
OF SZYDLOWSKI'S GAS TURBINE
TURBOSHAFT.
IN TANK TERMS, IT'S KNOWN
AS THE POWER PACK.

Bill says WHAT WE'VE GOT HERE IS WHAT
WE CALL A FULL UP POWER PACK.
IT HAS THE AGT 1500 GAS TURBINE
ENGINE, BASICALLY THE SAME KIND
OF TURBINE THAT YOU'D FIND
IN A HELICOPTER.
SO THIS WILL KICK OUT THE 1500
HORSE POWER THAT WE NEED TO MOVE
THE 70 TON BEAST.

The narrator says AT 1.25 TONS IT'S A WHOPPER,
BUT IT'S THE OPTIMAL POWER TO
WEIGHT RATIO.
A DIESEL ENGINE WITH THE SAME
OUTPUT WOULD WEIGH TWICE
AS MUCH.

Bill shows the engine at the factory and says SO THE TURBINE IS ACTUALLY
ABOUT HERE IT'S VERY SMALL.
SO, YOU HAVE THE AIR THAT'S
COMING IN THROUGH WHERE THIS
KIND OF RED BAG IS, GOES
IN THROUGH A COMPRESSION
STAGE, JUST LIKE YOU WOULD FIND
IN ANY OTHER JET ENGINE.
WE'VE GOT OUR TURBINE.
THE TURBINE IS SPINNING,
THERE'S A SHAFT THAT GOES RIGHT
THROUGH HERE AND INTERFACES HERE
INTO THE TRANSMISSION.
AND THIS TRANSMISSION HERE
ALL THAT POWER GETS TRANSLATED
OUT THESE FINAL DRIVES THAT
ATTACH TO THE SPROCKET, DRIVE
THE TRACK OF THE TANK.

The narrator says THE ENGINE MAY
BE SUPER POWERFUL, BUT IT
DOESN'T MAKE A LOT OF NOISE.
(WHIRRING)
THIS GIVES IT A KEY STRATEGIC
ADVANTAGE.

Bill says SO WHAT YOU'RE HEARING RIGHT
NOW IS THE TURBINE SOUND
OF THE ENGINE.
MOST TANKS ARE GOING TO BE
DIESEL AND SO YOU'RE GOING TO
HEAR THEM, THEY'RE GOING TO BE
VERY LOUD, VERY SMOKY.
BUT AS YOU CAN SEE WITH THIS
TURBINE HERE, THERE'S ALMOST NO
VISUAL SIGNATURE.
ALTHOUGH IT SOUNDS LOUD TO US,
ON THE BATTLEFIELD THIS IS
ACTUALLY VERY QUIET.
YOU CAN BE WITHIN A FEW HUNDRED
METRES OF THIS IN THE FOREST AND
YOU WON'T EVEN HEAR IT AT ALL
WHEN IT'S RUNNING.
IT MAKES IT MORE SURVIVABLE,
BECAUSE IF YOU CAN'T BE SEEN,
YOU CAN'T BE HIT.
AND SO, THAT'S WHAT'S GREAT
ABOUT THE TURBINE ENGINE.
IT'S THE GREATEST SOUND IN
THE WORLD.
IT HAS SUCH A UNIQUE QUALITY
TO IT AND IT JUST SOUNDS
LIKE HIGH PERFORMANCE, RIGHT?
IT SOUNDS LIKE IT'S READY TO GO
IT'S JUST CHOMPING AT THE BIT.
THAT'S THE REAL ADVANTAGE THAT
WE GET FROM AN ENGINEERING
PERSPECTIVE OVER A DIESEL ENGINE
IS YOU EFFECTIVELY HAVE
IMMEDIATE TORQUE.
MEANING, WHEN YOU TURN THE
THROTTLE IN THIS ONE, THE TANK'S
GOING TO MOVE, IT'S GOING TO
MOVE IMMEDIATELY.

On the test site, Greg says I THINK WE'RE READY.

A man inside the tank says YEAH WE'RE GOOD,
LET'S START.

The narrator says THERE'S ONLY ONE
WAY TO PUT THE ENGINE THROUGH
ITS PACES.

Greg says ENGINE'S FIRING UP.

The narrator says BY TAKING IT FOR A TEST
DRIVE AT THE PROVING GROUND
IN YUMA, ARIZONA.

Greg says ALRIGHT WE'RE ABOUT TO
GO OUT ON COURSE.

The narrator says TODAY TEST CHIEF GREG DUDA
IS TAKING THE ABRAMS OFF ROAD.

Greg says WHEN WE DO TESTING OUT
HERE WE TEST ON ALL ROAD
SURFACES.
WE'RE READY TO ROLL.

The narrator says THE ABRAMS CAN GO FROM
NOUGHT TO TWENTY IN 7.2
SECONDS.

Greg says "20 miles per hour, no problem. Open it up a little bit."

The narrator says AND HAS A TOP SPEED OF 45 MPH.

Greg says "It's quite amazing that it can be propelled this fast. It is actually a pretty smooth ride. We sure are riding in an Abrams."

The narrator says THE ENGINE CAN RUN OFF MOST
TYPES OF FUEL.
AND, ALTHOUGH IT DOES LESS THAN
A MILE TO THE GALLON, IT GIVES
THE TANK THE TURBO-FORCE
IT NEEDS.

Greg says IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD DAY
TO BE OUT HERE AND EXPERIENCE
THE POWER OF THE ABRAMS.

The narrator says BUT, BEFORE IT'S
SENT INTO COMBAT, THE NUMBER
ONE PRIORITY FOR THE ENGINEERS
IS WORKING OUT HOW TO KEEP
THE TANK CREW SAFE.

Bill says HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS
VEHICLE MORE SURVIVABLE?
THAT'S A REAL CHALLENGE FOR US
FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE.

(music plays)

The narrator says THIS GIANT
FACILITY IN OHIO IS THE
ULTIMATE TANK FACTORY.
BIRTHPLACE OF TEN THOUSAND
ABRAMS TANKS, EACH ONE AN EPIC
BUILD, INCORPORATING THE LATEST
IN MILITARY AND MECHANICAL
ENGINEERING.

David says THIS ONE LOOKS LIKE A ZERO
DEFECT TANK TO ME.

The narrator says DAVID MOHR SUPERVISES THIS
SUPERSIZED ASSEMBLY.

David says AS THE PRODUCT MANAGER,
I OVERSEE THEM ALL THE WAY
THROUGH THE PROCESS TO WHEN
THEY'RE DELIVERED.
ALL THESE TANKS I CONSIDER
MY BABIES.
RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A COMPLETED
TANK GAVE HIM A FINAL COAT OF
PAINT AND THEN PUT ONTO A RAIL
CAR.
AND ONCE THEY GET A TRAINLOAD,
WE SHIP 'EM.
IT'S QUITE A SIGHT WHEN YOU SEE
THESE TANKS LINE UP.
THEY'LL LINE UP UNTIL YOU GET A
ROW OF 24 OF THEM OR MORE, IT'S
PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.

The narrator says BEFORE THEY'RE
SENT INTO THE FIELD EACH ONE
HAS TO UNDERGO A SERIES OF
VITAL TESTS AT THE MILITARY
PROVING GROUND IN YUMA.

A woman says LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU'RE
READY FOR A ROUND...

The narrator says TODAY, TEST CHIEF GREG DUDA
AND HIS TEAM ARE TEST-FIRING
THE CANNON ON THIS NEWLY BUILT
TANK.

Greg says THE TEST CREW ARE
UNLOADING AMMO AND THEY'RE
GOING TO BRING IT INTO THE SAFE
COMPARTMENT IN THE TANK AS WE
PREPARE FOR FIRING.
WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A SAFE
LOCATION BEHIND A BLAST SHIELD.
WE EXPECT TO SEE A BIG BANG AND
A LARGE FIREBALL.
AND YOU'LL FEEL IT.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY FEEL
THE SOUNDWAVES IN YOUR BODY.
SO, NEVER A DULL DAY WHEN YOU'RE
OUT AT THE TEST SITE TESTING
TANKS.

The woman says over the radio says ROGER, GUYS, PREPARE
TO LOAD.

Greg says WHAT THEY'RE DOING
RIGHT NOW, THE WEAPON'S BEEN
LOADED.
THEY'RE GOING THROUGH ALL THEIR
WEAPONS CHECKS AND THEY'RE
GOING TO GO AHEAD AND FIRE THE
WEAPON.

The woman says ROGER, CLEAR TO FIRE.

Greg says THEY GAVE THE
ON-THE-WAY COMMAND.

The tank starts shooting.

Greg says THERE YOU GO.
HARD TO BEAT.
THAT WAS AMAZING AS ALWAYS.
IT NEVER GETS OLD.
I LOVE THE SMELL TOO.
SERIOUS SHOCK WAVES,
SERIOUS POWER.
LOTS OF ENERGY BEING RELEASED.

The narrator says THE TANKS MUST
DELIVER FORCE, BUT THEY ALSO
HAVE TO WITHSTAND IT.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING
DESIGNERS LIKE BILL GOIN IS
KEEPING ITS DEFENCES UP TO
DATE.

Bill says JUST LIKE ANY OTHER
BUSINESS, ULTIMATELY THERE'S
COMPETITORS THAT ARE OUT THERE
THAT ARE CONSTANTLY PUTTING OUT
NEW PRODUCTS WITH NEW
CAPABILITIES.
WHETHER THAT'S A NEW MUNITION
THAT WE HAVE TO BE WORRIED ABOUT
OR SOME NEW THREAT THAT WE HAVE
TO BE WORRIED ABOUT.
BECAUSE OF THAT, WE'RE
CONSTANTLY LOOKING AT WHAT NEW
TECHNOLOGIES CAN WE PUT IN,
HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS VEHICLE
MORE SURVIVABLE AND THAT'S
A REAL CHALLENGE FOR US
FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE.

The narrator says USING THE BEST
POSSIBLE ARMOUR HAS
PREOCCUPIED TANK ENGINEERS
SINCE THE BEGINNING.

(CLOCK TICKING)

(music plays)

The narrator says ORIGINALLY, TANKS WERE ALL
MADE FROM STEEL PLATING.
BUT POST WORLD WAR 2, AS
WEAPONRY BECAME MORE POWERFUL,
NEW ARMOUR HAD TO BE DEVELOPED.
AND WHEN A NEW TYPE OF
ANTI-TANK WEAPON APPEARED,
FOR TANK ENGINEERS, ONCE AGAIN,
THE PRESSURE WAS ON.

On a mountain side, Andrew holds a remote control and says FIRING THREE, TWO, ONE.
WOW, THAT WAS A BIG BANG.

The narrator says PHYSICIST ANDREW STEELE IS
AT A SECRET LOCATION IN THE
BRITISH COUNTRYSIDE TO FIND OUT
WHAT THEY WERE UP AGAINST.

Andrew is in his mid-thirties, with short wavy brown hair and a beard. He wears beige trousers, a blue shirt, and protective headphones.

Andrew says THIS STEEL REPRESENTS
THE ARMOUR PLATING ON OUR TANK.
WE'VE GOT FOUR 2.5 CM THICK
STEEL PLATES, THAT'S 10 CM
OF ARMOUR IN ALL.
AND AS YOU CAN SEE, THERE'S A
PRETTY BIG HOLE IN THAT AND
IF WE GO THROUGH, NUMBER TWO,
THERE'S A HOLE, NUMBER THREE,
THERE'S A HOLE ON BOTH SIDES.
AND FINALLY NUMBER FOUR, THERE'S
A PRETTY BIG HOLE IN THAT ONE
TOO, IT'S GONE STRAIGHT THROUGH.
SO, WHAT SORT OF WEAPON COULD
BLOW A HOLE IN 10 CM OF STEEL?
WELL, I'VE GOT A LITTLE MODEL
OF ONE HERE.
IT'S CALLED AN RPG OR ROCKET
PROPELLED GRENADE.
IN HERE YOU'VE GOT HIGH
EXPLOSIVE CRAMMED IN THE BACK
AND WHEN THAT EXPLODES IT
CRUSHES THIS INVERTED COPPER
CONE.
IT TURNS IT INTO AN INCREDIBLY
HOT THIN STREAM OF COPPER METAL,
AND IT JUST CUTS THROUGH IT
LIKE A HOT KNIFE THROUGH BUTTER.

The narrator says ENGINEERS HAD TO
FIND A WAY TO DEFEND AGAINST
THESE NEW WEAPONS.
IN THE 1960S GERMAN
BALLISTICS SCIENTIST MANFRED
HELD DISCOVERED THE SOLUTION
BY ACCIDENT.
HE WAS EXPERIMENTING, FIRING
DIFFERENT PROJECTILES AT
DISUSED TANKS
SOME OF THE SHELLS HIT THE AREA
OF THE TURRET CONTAINING
LEFT-OVER AMMUNITION
MAKING IT EXPLODE OUTWARDS... ..OFTEN DEFLECTING THE
MISSILE, PREVENTING IT FROM
PENETRATING.
THIS DISCOVERY WOULD PROMPT
HELD TO CREATE A REVOLUTIONARY
PIECE OF MILITARY HARDWARE.

An animated scientist says TA-DA!

He deflects a missile coming right at him with a plate.

Andrew says WHAT WE'VE GOT HERE IS
A MODERN VERSION OF HELD'S
INVENTION.
IT'S CALLED AN EXPLOSIVE
REACTIVE TILE.
THE TOP LAYER IS JUST THIS VERY
THIN PIECE OF STEEL.
INSIDE WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF
BITS OF FOAM, WHICH ARE
REPRESENTING THE HIGH EXPLOSIVE,
AND THEN ON BACK, WE'VE GOT A
MUCH THICKER STEEL PLATE.
NOW IMAGINE AN RPG IMPACTING ON
THIS TILE.
WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT THIN HOT
JET OF COPPER PIERCES THIS
OUTER LAYER VERY, VERY EASILY
AND THAT THEN DETONATES THIS
HIGH EXPLOSIVE INSIDE.
AND WHAT THAT DOES, IS SEND
THIS FRONT PIECE OF STEEL FLYING
WHICH IS WHY IT'S KNOWN
AS THE FLYER PLATE.
THAT MEANS THIS PIECE OF STEEL
CAN DEFLECT THE RPG, DEFLECT
THAT EXPLOSIVE ENERGY AWAY FROM
THE THICKER PLATE BEHIND AND
KEEP THE TANK AND ITS OCCUPANTS
SAFE.
SO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO THEN,
IS PLACE LOADS AND LOADS OF
THESE PLATES ALL OVER DIFFERENT
PARTS OF THE TANK.
IT MIGHT SEEM LIKE A
COUNTER-INTUITIVE IDEA THAT
COVERING THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR
TANK IN EXPLOSIVES CAN MAKE IT
SAFER BUT THIS SIMPLE INVENTION
IS VERY EFFECTIVE.

The narrator says TO SEE IT IN ACTION
THE TEAM'S CREATING A REACTIVE
TILE TO TRY TO PROTECT A NEW
SET OF STEEL PLATES FROM
ANOTHER BLAST.

Andrew says WE'VE GOT THE 10 CM OF STEEL
PLATE BACK HERE, BUT THIS TIME
IN FRONT OF IT WE'VE GOT 2 MM
OF STEEL AND THEN JUST IN THERE,
WE'VE GOT A COUPLE OF LITTLE
SHEETS OF SX2 HIGH EXPLOSIVE
WHICH IS REPRESENTING
THAT TILE OF EXPLOSIVE REACTIVE
ARMOUR.
LET'S GO AND SET THIS THING OFF.
ARM THE EXPLOSIVES.
FIRING, THREE, TWO, ONE.
WOAH!

(EXPLOSION)

(CHUCKLING)

Andrew says WOW, THIS IS A SCENE OF TOTAL
DESTRUCTION.
IF COME DOWN HERE AND HAVE A
LOOK THROUGH RUBBLE, YOU CAN SEE
THIS IS A PIECE OF THAT FLYER
PLATE, THE THIN BIT OF STEEL
THAT WAS ON THE FRONT, AND AS
YOU CAN SEE, IT'S BEEN PRETTY
HEAVILY DEFORMED.
NOW OUR FOUR STEEL PLATES ARE,
WELL NOWHERE TO BE SEEN.
THEY HAVE PROBABLY BEEN THROWN
BACK SOMEWHERE INTO THAT PILE
OF ROCKS.
IF THERE WAS THE WEIGHT OF A
TANK BEHIND THEM, THEY'D STILL
BE IN PLACE PROBABLY.
BUT BECAUSE THEY'VE JUST BEEN
COMPLETELY FREE TO MOVE, THEY
HAVE BEEN SCATTERED BY THAT
HUGE, HUGE EXPLOSION.

The narrator says ONCE ALL FOUR
PLATES HAVE BEEN FOUND...

Andrew says THAT'S WARM AS WELL.
He chuckles and says WOW.

The narrator says IT'S POSSIBLE TO SEE
WHETHER THEY'VE BEEN PROTECTED
FROM THE BLAST.

Andrew says YOU CAN SEE HERE WE'VE GOT A
PIECE OF ARMOUR NUMBER ONE.
YOU CAN TELL THAT BECAUSE IT
HAS GOT A REALLY BIG HOLE IN IT
AND BECAUSE IT HAS GOT THIS
INDENTATION HERE WHERE THE HIGH
EXPLOSIVE WERE JUST PRESSED
DIRECTLY AGAINST IT.
THEN, WE GO THROUGH TO PLATE
TWO, STILL QUITE A BIG HOLE,
LITTLE BIT OF A DENT.
PLATE NUMBER THREE, YOU CAN SEE
THAT JET HAS BEEN SPLIT INTO
TWO, DISRUPTED BY THAT EXPLOSIVE
REACTIVE ARMOUR.
AND FINALLY PLATE NUMBER FOUR,
YOU CAN SEE STILL TWO JETS, BUT
THEY'VE NOT QUITE MADE IT
THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE.
SO, WE HAVE SAVED OUR TANK,
AND WE'VE SAVED ITS OCCUPANTS.

The narrator says THE SUCCESS OF THE EXPLODING
REACTIVE TILE TURNED ARMOUR
DESIGN TOWARDS A TOTALLY NEW
CONCEPT: FIGHTING FIRE
WITH FIRE.

Andrew says HELD'S INVENTION WAS A REAL
GAME CHANGER.
JUST BY ADDING A THIN LAYER
OF EXPLOSIVE AND THIN LAYER OF
STEEL ON TOP OF EXISTING ARMOUR
YOU COULD MASSIVELY IMPROVE
THE SAFETY OF THE CREW INSIDE.

(CLOCK TICKING)

(music plays)

The narrator says THE TEAM WORKING
ON THE ABRAMS ADOPTED THIS
TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPED THEIR
OWN EXPLODING TILES THAT CAN
BE ADDED TO ITS OUTER SHELL.

Greg says THE REACTIVE ARMOUR ON
THE ABRAMS MOUNTS TO THE SKIRTS.
SO THE SKIRTS ARE REPLACED WITH
A VERY SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT
VERSION AND THEN, THE TILES,
THEY'RE CALLED, ARE SLID ALL
THE WAY DOWN THE HULL.
THAT PROVIDES PROTECTION FOR
THE HULL FOR THE TANK ITSELF
AND ALSO THE DRIVER.

The narrator says THE ABRAMS' REACTIVE ARMOUR
TILES, KNOWN AS ARATS, ARE
FITTED TO EACH SIDE OF THE
TANK.
FLAT BOX TILES ARE ATTACHED
TO THE HULL AND TURRET.
THEN AN ADDITIONAL LAYER OF
CURVED TILES ARE HUNG OVER THE
TOP OF THE HULL... JUST LIKE
HELD'S ORIGINAL INVENTION.
IF THEY'RE HIT BY AN INCOMING
SHELL THEY'LL DETONATE.

Greg says IT IS AN INCREDIBLE
TECHNOLOGY.
WE DO BALLISTIC TESTING ON
THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TILES
THEMSELVES AND WHAT IT DOES IS
IT CREATES JUST A TREMENDOUS
EXPLOSION AND A VERY LOUD NOISE
NOT UNLIKE THE WEAPON FIRING.
I'D SAY THE ARAT IS CRITICAL FOR
CERTAIN THREAT ENVIRONMENTS WHEN
YOU'RE OPERATING THE VEHICLE,
HAVING THAT PROTECTION INCREASES
THE CHANCE THAT THE TANK IS
GOING TO SURVIVE ANY TIME IT
GETS ENGAGED.

Bill says IF I WAS TO GO INTO
COMBAT AGAIN THIS IS EXACTLY
WHERE I'D WANT TO BE.
THERE IS NO SAFER PLACE TO BE ON
THE BATTLEFIELD THEN INSIDE
OF THIS VEHICLE.
THE THINGS THAT CAN BE UPDATED
HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND THE THINGS
THAT WORKED REALLY WELL, NO
REASON TO BREAK THEM, THAT'S
WHY WE'RE STICKING WITH THIS
TRIED AND TRUE DESIGN.

The narrator says THE ABRAMS TANK
IS A VICTORY FOR IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING.
AFTER 40 YEARS OF SERVICE, THIS
POWERFUL PIECE OF MACHINERY
REMAINS THE ARMY'S TOP GUN.

Greg says THE ORIGINAL DESIGNERS OF
THE TANK ARE REALLY, TRULY
AMAZING TO ME THAT THEY BUILT SO
MUCH MARGIN INTO THIS TANK.
AND IT'S A TESTAMENT TO THE
LONGEVITY OF THIS TANK THAT
WE CAN STILL MAKE UPGRADES TO IT
AND IT CAN STILL MAINTAIN ITS
PERFORMANCE OVER SUCH A LONG
PERIOD OF TIME.

The narrator says IT'S A CONSTANT
BATTLE TO PRODUCE THE BEST
MACHINE.

Bill says ENGINEERS ARE CURIOUS
AND LIKE TO WORK PROBLEMS AND
THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS FOR US
TO DO IN ORDER TO DELIVER
SOMETHING THIS COMPLEX.
BUT IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO
KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST
TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE OUT THERE.

The narrator says BUT, DRIVEN TO DO THEIR
UTMOST FOR THE TANK CREWS,
THEY'RE BUILDING ON PIONEERING
INNOVATIONS OF THE PAST.
AND CREATING NEW CAPABILITIES
FOR THE FUTURE.
TO MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE,
POSSIBLE.

David says WE BELIEVE THIS IS THE
BEST TANK BUILT IN THE WORLD.
EVERYBODY'S IN AWE.
IT'S BIGGER THAN THEY IMAGINED,
IT'S FASTER THAN THEY IMAGINED.
WE TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN WHAT
WE DO AND IT BRINGS THE SOLDIERS
HOME.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Matthew Skilton.

Producer and director, Matt Litchfield.

Executive producer, Neil Edwards.

Series Producer, Jonney Steven.

Two Four Rights. Produced in association with Yesterday.

Copyright 2018, Two-four.

Watch: Impossible Engineering Series 4 - Ep 1- Abrams Tank