M-1 tank, just out, faces redesign

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said the Army is redesigning the M-1 tank even though the $2.7 million vehicle, the most expensive tank in US history, has just begun rolling off the production lines.

He noted that design of the M-1 began 20 years ago, and said: ''There have been some Soviet tank improvements and we are going to, as we are doing with all our equipment, upgrade it for any new conditions it has to encounter.''

The 60-ton tank, which began production four months ago, is controversial not only because the cost per tank has risen from $900,000 in the 1970s, but also because of performance flaws, including frequent breakdowns in the field.

He also said there will be no reduction in plans to build a total of 1,400 M- 1 tanks this year and in 1983.

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