In a comment left on my answer here Jan Hudec says:
Note that usually on dry surface the brakes exert much less force than the tires could handle.
This got me wondering how much force large aircraft brakes can provide.
The limiting factor in brake force for a vehicle is the friction between the tire and the surface. On my car, even on dry pavement, the brake force available is always greater than the tire/ground friction, so I can always lock the brakes and set off the ABS. I may be misunderstanding it, but Jan’s comment makes me think that maybe large aircraft don’t have that much brake force available. If you commanded maximum braking on a dry runway would the brakes try to lock? Is the ABS really only necessary on a contaminated runway?