M1 Abrams Tanks for Ukraine? Support for Ukraine remains high in the United States, but it is starting to fade.
According to a new Ipsos research poll, 54 percent of Americans now support sending aid, including weapons, to Ukraine – down from 59 percent last spring. Ukraine fatigue is setting in, especially as inflation remains an issue, while there are fears that the country could face a recession as tech companies have begun layoffs.
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Billions of dollars of military hardware have already been sent, and while some experts have noted that it is a small percentage of the total U.S. defense budget, a question routinely asked is whether this war actually has an end in sight.
Ukraine has argued that it would require main battle tanks, among other hardware, for the tide to truly be turned in its favor, and it now appears that Kyiv’s wish may be granted.
M1 Abrams to Ukraine
On Tuesday, the Biden administration appeared poised to approve sending the M1 Abrams to Ukraine.
Details would still need to be worked out, but an official U.S. announcement could come as early as Wednesday – likely in coordination with an announcement from Germany that it formally approve Poland’s request to transfer German-made Leopard 2 MBTs to Ukraine.
The UK has already announced that it would send a dozen of its Challenger 2 tanks, crossing what had previously been a red line for the United States and its European allies, CNN reported. U.S. commitment to send the Abrams would likely be enough pressure for Berlin to remove any barriers to sending the Leopard 2.
The Abrams, Challenger 2, and Leopard 2 are now considered among the very best MBTs in service – and are seen to easily match the T-72s and even T-90 tanks employed by Russia. In addition, Kyiv will soon be operating a number of U.S. M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, French AMX-10 RC wheeled tank destroyers and Germany Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles. This diverse combination of weapons, along with the hundreds of Ukrainian T-72s and other vehicles would certainly tip the scales in Ukraine’s favor.
Hurdles to Clear
Both Ukraine and Russia are expected to launch offensive operations in the spring. However, it is unlikely that these vehicles could be deployed to Ukraine in time for any early spring operations.
It could take until the summer, and possibly even longer for these vehicles to arrive – and for crews to be adequately trained on the platforms. Ukrainians are already training on the Patriot missile batteries and M109 howitzers.
It is likely that Kyiv will want to mass its forces for a larger campaign rather than sending the new hardware into the fight piecemeal, where the vehicles would likely make little difference.
Though some Republican lawmakers have opposed sending additional aid to Ukraine, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, “It’s time, past time,” for the United States to send the weapons Ukraine needs to “win this war.”
The M1 Abrams, along with the Leopard 2, might be the platforms for Kyiv to do just that.
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Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
January 25, 2023 at 1:31 am
The U.S. and NATO just keep pushing the world towards nuclear war. Oh, those Javelins didn’t do the job? Let’s send artillery. Oh, the artillery didn’t do the job? Let’s sent HIMARS. Oh, the HIMARS didn’t send the Russians scurrying back home? Let’s send Bradleys and Strykers. Will they do the job? Will Patriot missiles? Hey, let’s really scare the Russians and send in Leopard tanks and M-1 Abrams. By, golly, they are *sure* to do the job! Are you chickenhawk war-rooters sure? How are you sure? How sure are you?
The Russians *are* sure to be keeping a lot of their latest antitank weapons on hand in reserve. Considering that, what if the Leopards and Abrams then don’t do the job, what then? The U.S./NATO will have very little if anything then left in their arrow quivvers to up the ante with further. It will be a bit like in the original ‘War of the Worlds’ movie, when the U.S. drops an atomic bomb on the Martian war machines, and when the Martians come out unscathed, the commanding general frustratingly states “Guns, tanks, bombs—they’re like toys against them!!” The only things NATO will have left is to activate a no-fly zone (which originally ended up going over like a lead balloon almost from the get-go),and/or commit its own forces to battle. Either or both ways, then all gloves are off and chances are very good we all die after in short order. And for what? A corrupt European country with an autocratic show-clown of a leader? Supported with endless rah-rah propaganda and funds from a ‘superpower’ run by its own autocratic state, one that cares more about foreign borders and peoples than it does about its own borders and people. Phhhhhhtt on that crap! May the Russians turn every M-1 and Leopard possible into scrap junk, and jam back down to the ground every Patriot missile fired off, then. If they can, we will see how macho our war-rooters here in the U.S. remain.
January 25, 2023 at 10:56 am
These proposed tanks to Ukraine are necessary and will force Putin to back off and leave Ukraine along. I’m not worried about nukes. A step too far for Russian. No gain in destroying lands you want to annex into Mother Russia and Russian lands to close to ground zero. As for Putin, time is not his friend for his Health and opposition are his true enemies. AJY
January 25, 2023 at 1:47 pm
‘are sure to be keeping a lot of their latest anti-tank weapons on hand in reserve’.
When you see anti-ship missiles being used against civilian infrastructure and T60 tanks heading to Ukraine, the notion that the Russians are holding a lot of their ‘latest’ weapons in reserve holds no water. Just like their ships in fact….
January 25, 2023 at 10:45 pm
@AJY—–the tanks will force Putin to back off? All of the material and funds we have given Ukraine to date have not done so, what guarantee do you have that tanks will? And what if they don’t? How much further does NATO/US up the ante then? Attack helicopters? Cruise missiles? Advanced combat aircraft? The more we send, the more the Russians double down to dig in even more. It is time for a negociated settlement to be fervently and seriously pursued. Continuous escalation on part of NATO/US has not worked, period?
January 25, 2023 at 10:52 pm
@Whodunnit ——–Antitank weapons are amongst the least inexpensive weapons to produce, they are not ships or cruise missiles. Why would you doubt the Russians don’t have a sizable inventory of them, or cannot ramp up production significantly in a relatively short period of time? They are aces in the hand in the ground warfare game. And so far this war has been largely ground warfare as far as committment of men and materiel. It will be the Russians own fault and to their own disadvantage if they do not understand that.
January 26, 2023 at 12:06 am
Ukraine is holding off a country 3 times larger than itself. The weapons provided have been a major factor. The Abrahms are offensive weapons and the Russkys are not going to be happy after they blow their next offensive and see the counterattack carry to the border.
January 26, 2023 at 6:22 am
i believe in the protection in freedom and democratsy but not for at the price for the end of the world.
January 26, 2023 at 9:21 am
I would NOT give Ukraine a Nickel of U.S.Money or finances or military hardware! The Ukrainians are guilty of killing Jews in WW2 etc and their govt has been in opposition to God in this matter and has not been a blessing to Jews and are such in for it, from GOD! Do the research and prove what I say! Gen. 12:2-3/Num 6:23-24/Psa. 67:7KJV
January 26, 2023 at 2:15 pm
What an opportunity for Russia to get hold of M1’s,Leopards and a whole bunch of technology and gadgets through a greedy tank crews, who can blame running out of fuel and deliver a loot to Russkies. That will happen. Especially true in corrupt Ukraine.
January 26, 2023 at 3:50 pm
Another thingy commie general Milley is not telling you. Without air support the Abrams and Leopards are easy targets for attack helicopters and other aircraft. It will be a turkey shoot and all our tax money going up in smoke.This is exactly what Eisenhower was warning us about. The armament industry making like a bandit. And I can’t stand that corrupt clown who feels so entitled to be a dictator on our payroll. So embarrassing.
January 26, 2023 at 7:27 pm
Did anyone give a thought that the entire Russia “invasion” is being financed by China. China is buying all the oil Russia wants to sell at double the prewar price. US is sending all guns, ammo, fuel stripping our military of readiness and China is just waiting for the right moment to take Taiwan. When that happens, N. Korea will hit South Korea. Us will have nothing to defend Taiwan or S. Korea with. One option – only-nukes. We are too chicken to use them. Taiwan and S. Korea with high tech industries will make China the pre-eminent world power. Soon after the dollar will be stripped of reserve status and everything you buy from China will triple in price overnight. Biden and clan become the richest family on the planet, you become slave, cattle for slaughter to the One World Order.
January 26, 2023 at 8:57 pm
This is one big testing ground for all the new tech. US and Russia
January 28, 2023 at 3:08 pm
Why in the Hell can’t people see Putin for what he is – Hitler come back to life. I am an old fighter and the one rule I know all too well is offense if the best defense. Give the Ukraine offensive weapons and let us see, just how Putin likes that. Russia is a paper tiger and we have known that for decades. Sonner or later we are going to have to put the paper tiger back in his box. When? When he is knocking on the German border or sitting is Normandy. We tried pacification before remember Chamberlain. Look what that got us.
January 29, 2023 at 2:12 pm
Like the hydraulic empires of old, Putin wants to hold hostage the food supplies Ukraine supplies to much of the world forcing those countries to look to mother Russia to eat. Not to mention the vast untapped oil fields off the coast of Ukraine that could free Europe from Russian fuel. How does a non-nuclear nation fight a nuclear armed nation? Vietnam pushed out the French, the U.S. and China. The goat herders pushed out the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. You don’t see Putin reopening the Friendship Tunnel. Modern weapon systems have to be operated in concert with the other weapon systems.
so, the enemy is hit by everything all at once, a lesson the Russians never learned, hence their buggy invasion. The problem with the Abrams is we don’t want to send in the ones stored in Europe because they have armor we don’t want the Russians testing, so new Abrams have to be built to lessor standards which will take a year to 18 months. Europe has vast parking lots of used tanks that could be refurbished long before the new Abrams will be ready, heck Italy could dust off the plans and be shipping Porsche Tigers by the time the Abrams will be ready. Maybe the Abrams will arrive in time to protect the Ukraine border once the war is over, because the Russians have proven they can not be trusted to honor anything they’ve signed.
January 30, 2023 at 7:22 am
Everybody seems to be forgetting that Russia invaded Ukraine with no notice, and no real reason. An insane situation, to say the least. Then no one has mentioned all the support the Russians and the Chinese gave to North Korea during that war, and the tremendous support they gave to North Viet Nam. So far, I haven’t even heard this mentioned when we should be rubbing their faces in it!!!
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!
March 1, 2023 at 12:01 am
To those advocating that we not give Ukrainians the means to push back the Russians who invaded their sovereign nation, one whose borders the Russians agreed to respect when the U.S. and Britain brokered the 1994 agreement whereby Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for guarantees of independence and respecting of their borders, you all neglect to recall that Russia, not Ukraine started this war in 2014 by annexing the Crimean peninsula, thereby violating the agreement they made to respect Ukraine’s borders and territorial integrity.
If you barge into someone’s house and claim one of the rooms as yours, you have no right, moral or otherwise to protest when the homeowner borrows a neighbor’s shotgun to force you out. Same is true scaled up when a country tries to appropriate any portion of your country, and instead of a borrowed shotgun, its advanced weaponry to repel a country previously thought to be one of the two great superpowers of the world.
To those who claim Ukrainians aren’t worthy of assistance because they are Nazi’s or corrupt or because some Ukrainians killed Jews some 75-80 years ago, these are all B.S. reasons. First, a significant percentage of Ukraine’s population is Jewish, their astute and capable leader is Jewish, and the Russians killed far more Jews in Poland at the beginning of W.W.II, and during the war than any small group of Ukrainians did. And if you want to blame the acts of a small group of Ukrainians back during W.W.II on the current population, let’s look at the thousands upon thousands of Jews Stalin killed after his rise to power. But let’s not stop there, since we are going back in history, lets hold Russia accountable for the pogroms initiated under the Tsars, where hordes of Cossacks were encouraged to ransack Jewish villages, taking the food and property and wantonly killing those who resisted. The scope and terror of such raids throughout the Ukraine and Belorussia started a mass migration of Russians Jews coming to the United States, Canada and Western Europe beginning in the late 1800’s and continuing right up to the beginning of W.W.I. Since I didn’t see anyone protesting the Russian actions against the Jews in this comment section, I’ll assume that the mentioned concern for Jewish lives is merely feigned in order to hide your overt support of Putin’s invasion of a sovereign country and his desire to reconstitute the Soviet Union.
As for concerns that by arming Ukraine to repel their invader, we are likely to spark W.W.III, I think this is a short-sighted and upside analysis of the situation that exists. I believe that if Putin isn’t stopped in Ukraine that Moldova and the former eastern European Satellite States of the Soviet Union, which are now NATO members will be next. Instead of sending arms and advanced weaponry systems now, allowing Ukrainians to fight for their Ukrainian homeland on equal footing with a substantially more heavily armed invader now, we will be sending those same systems in far, greater numbers manned by American boys and girls in defense of those other NATO member countries as we should and as we have obligated ourselves to do per our NATO commitments.
…And, If you are one of those head in the sand isolationists that think, like our former Dunce of a president, that NATO isn’t worth defending, and Europe’s problems are theirs, not ours, you are entitled to your opinion. That is part of the freedoms we have and hold so dearly in America and the free West. Just understand, that your opinion will not be appreciated or well received by those few still-living veterans, members of the Greatest Generation, who battled the Nazi’s, freed Western Europe from Nazi tyranny and preserved for every year since your right to freedom with their lives and their blood. They believed that freedom, at your doorstep or thousands of miles away in Europe is worth fighting for. The Ukrainian’s know that full well, and to not aid them in their fight to retain their independence and freedom would be a travesty, particularly given the aid we received from a European country in our fight for our own independence.\\\ [END RANT]