Ukraine has thrown into the fray its new Western heavy weapon systems, including Leopard 2 main battle tanks, AMX-10RC tank killers, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and CV-90 armored combat vehicles.
Soon, however, the Ukrainian forces will be able to use another formidable weapon system from the West.
M1 Abrams Tanks for Ukraine
According to U.S. officials who spoke to Politico, the Ukrainian military will be receiving the first batch of the 31 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks in the first weeks of September.
The U.S. officials suggested that the M1A1 Abrams will first arrive in Germany in August to undergo final refurbishments before they deploy to Ukraine a few weeks later.
Initially, the Department of Defense indicated that Ukraine would be receiving brand new M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks. However, deliveries of brand-new tanks would take longer than the Ukrainians would like. The war, after all, should end as soon as possible. So, Kyiv settled with older versions of the tank that would arrive sooner.
“DoD, in close coordination with Ukraine, made the decision to buy the M1A1 variant, which will enable us to significantly expedite delivery timelines and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said at the time.
Ukrainian tankers have been training on the weapon system for several weeks now in Germany. The Ukrainian crews have been hand-selected and include experienced tankers and promising troops. In addition, there are maintainers that will make sure that the tanks keep running even after intense combat.
“Certainly, a key aspect of the training will be maintenance and sustainment of that capability. You’ve heard us talk about the fact that the M1 is a complex machine that requires a lot of maintenance to sustain it and keep it operating. So that will be crucial, which is why we’re doing the training in stride with the actual refurbishment of the tanks,” Brig. General Ryder added.
The Ukrainian M1 Abrams
In a modernization phase undergone by the U.S. Marines recently deactivated all of their tank battalions and transferred about 400 M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Army. The scheme is intended to help the Marines get ready for near-peer combat in the Indo-Pacific.
The M1A1 SA version of the tank that the Ukrainian military will be receiving sports a 120mm main gun but doesn’t have the depleted uranium armor that Marine Corps’ tanks had because the technology is considered classified by the Pentagon and isn’t cleared for export.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian M1A1 SA Abrams will be one of the most formidable weapon systems on the battlefield, with no match for Russian adversaries. The introduction of the M1A1 SA Abrams will make the Ukrainian military deadlier on the ground and could help Kyiv achieve its goals.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.