The U.S. Marine Corps is getting another 80 M1A1 tanks from the U.S.
Army. Previously, the army has given the marines 144 of these tanks. In the
past, the marines would buy all their tanks from the same manufacturer that
produced them for the army. But after the Cold War ended, the U.S. Army lost
over a third of its personnel, and had a surplus of M-1 tanks. The marines were
still using the older M60 tank, although they were in the process of buying 221
M1 tanks to replace their older M60A3s. Since M1 production ceased in the 1990s
(except for those sold to Egypt, which were assembled in Egypt), it made sense
to fill marine demand for M1s from army surplus. The marine corps normally has
a force of about 400 tanks, but they are expanding that, and using freebies
from the army. The marines make modifications to their M1A1 tanks. These
include attachments for deep water fording equipment and a smoke-grenade
launcher unique to Marine Corps tanks. The marines have also upgraded their M1s
with a different thermal site, and brought back the external telephone (for
infantry) before the army did. The M1A1 tanks cost about $4 million new. The
marines pay all transportation costs from army storage sites to marine bases.
The army and marine share operational data on combat use of the M1, and
training techniques. The army also provides specialist training to marines on
operation and repair of the M1.