U.S. Intends to Deliver 31 Abrams Tanks By Fall – Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a U.S. Department of Defense official admitted that the Pentagon is fast-tracking the delivery of both M1 Abrams tanks and Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.
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The Pentagon is also reportedly preparing to accelerate training programs designed to ensure that Ukrainian soldiers are capable of operating the American military equipment.
M1 Abrams Headed to Ukraine
According to the unnamed official, the Pentagon is speeding up the process of refurbishing M1A1 Abrams tanks already in storage, with a view to ensure that 31 of the vehicles arrive in Ukraine by the fall.
The news suggests that the United States believes Ukraine is in dire needs of the tanks, especially during the summer when the warmer weather makes ground assaults easier.
It also suggests that U.S. intelligence doesn’t suggest that Russia will come back to the negotiating table any time soon.
What We Know
Speaking to MSNBC on Tuesday, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby praised the plans to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which was decided in January.
Kirby said that the vehicles are “very sophisticated,” also adding that the U.S. doesn’t have a “whole heck of them just sitting on the shelf.”
Kirby explained how American soldiers typically spend 16 weeks training to use the Abrams tanks, adding that those four months still only cover “basic training” and how to operate the vehicle.
The U.S. official said that soldiers also need to know how to properly maintain the tanks and how to manage supply chains in a way that ensures that tank operators have access to the parts and supplies they need during combat.
It is unclear how the Pentagon intends to speed up the training of Ukrainian soldiers, which has already begun at Fort Still, Oklahoma.
Kirby confirmed that the Pentagon is working as quickly as possible and will soon “have more to say on adjustments they’re making.”
Preparing for a New Offensive?
U.S. officials believe that Russia is already slowly winding down its long-anticipated spring offensive as a result of shortages of artillery shells, ammunition, and other supplies.
Ukrainian military officials were warned by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week that Ukraine “doesn’t have any time to waste,” and unnamed U.S. officials have expressed their concert to U.S. media outlets about Ukraine’s supplies of ammunition and trained soldiers.
Speaking to the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Austin said that the U.S. and other allies must “deliver swiftly and fully” on promised commitments.
“That includes delivering our armored capabilities to the battlefield and ensuring that Ukrainian soldiers get the training, spare parts and maintenance support that they need to use these new systems, as soon as possible.”
With American tanks expected to arrive in Ukraine sooner than originally planned and promises from Poland to deliver MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, it looks as though Kyiv could reasonably expect to launch new major offensives against Russia. The time frame in which that could happen, however, remains unclear.
Ukraine may wish to launch an offensive sooner rather than later, but the Abrams tanks could arrive any time between September and November.
In the meantime, however, the arrival of Polish MiGs could help Ukraine dramatically improve its air defenses.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.