Not only JP-8: US Army tanker recalls M1 Abrams turbine running on Bacardi 151 and unknown fuels

The M1 Abrams

The M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank closes with and destroys the enemy using mobility, firepower, and shock effect. The Abrams is a full-tracked, low-profile, land combat assault weapon enabling expeditionary Warfighters to dominate their adversaries through lethal firepower, unparalleled survivability, and audacious maneuver.

A 120 mm main gun, a special armor and the Honeywell AGT1500, a 1,500-horsepower turbine engine multifuel capable make the Abrams tank particularly lethal against heavy armor forces.

Not only JP-8 for M1 Abrams tanks

Glenn Girona, former US Army tanker, explains on Quora;

Jet fuel is basically kerosene which is basically diesel. Everything in the Army runs on JP-8 now as does the Air Force. It does burn cleaner than commercial diesel but lacks the lubricating properties meaning you need to add a bottle of special additive to run a diesel engine not made for it without long term damage (Short term especially if there is still diesel in the tank is perfectly fine).

‘So, the M1 does normally run on diesel everyday which is Jet fuel.

Anything that is flammable

‘What the gas turbine allows it to do is run on absolutely anything that is flammable enough.

‘Gasoline of any grade?: Check

‘Diesel of any grade?: Check

‘Any percentage of Ethanol fuel to include Pure Ethanol?: Check (it will run on Bacardi 151 all day)

‘Running out of fuel in Iraq due to external factors and siphoning every bit of unknown fuel from cars and trucks in a collapsed parking structure to get you far enough to find a gas station with a several year-old broken-down truck full of questionable heating oil which was sufficient to get your platoon back to friendly areas? Been there done that, the tank didn’t even hesitate.’

M1 Abrams: the most flexible system regarding fuel in US inventory

Girona concludes;

‘It is the absolute most flexible system regarding fuel in the US inventory. Designed for WWIII Europe where we could scavenge any fuel source. It is far more practical than anything else on the battlefield.

‘“Multi-Fuel” diesels like the excellent German MTU can also be configured to run on various fuels (but not gasoline or ethanol) AT THE FACTORY. Pour in random fuels or gasoline or ethanol on the battlefield and you will become dismounted light infantry quickly.

‘Does that sound more or less practical on the battlefield to you?’

Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, Twentynine Palms, California, load a Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine from an M1A1 Abrams tank engine back into the tank at Camp Coyote, Kuwait during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Photo credit: US Department of Defence Staff Sgt. Clifton Kershaw, U.S. Army and SGT PAUL L. ANSTINE II, USMC

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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