Report: U.S. Speeding Up Abrams Tanks Delivery to Ukraine

March 21, 2023

The Pentagon is speeding up its delivery of the Abrams tanks promised to Ukraine, sources told the Associated Press.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been made public. However, according to the AP, the Defense Department is opting to send a refurbished older model that can be ready faster, with the aim of getting the tanks to Ukraine’s front lines within eight to 10 months. 

On January 25, President Biden had announced that the Pentagon would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine to help it “defend its sovereignty.”

However, the tanks were going to be donated via a contracting arrangement between the U.S. and the tanks’ manufacturer, which could have taken up to a year. Officials now tell the AP a decision has been made to send older M1A1 versions of the tanks (see photo), which can be taken from U.S. Army stocks and will be easier for Ukrainian troops to learn to use and maintain. 

The decision to send any Abrams tanks came after a standoff with Germany, which has since announced it is sending dozens of its Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine’s front lines, and has given permission to several other European countries to donate their Leopard tanks as well. 

As the Leopard tanks are made in Germany, Berlin must approve their export from one country to another. 

It was not clear how soon the U.S. would begin training Ukrainian forces in the use and maintenance of the Abrams tanks, which would impact the timeline for getting them onto the front lines. The Pentagon would also have to ensure Ukraine has an adequate supply chain for replacement parts to keep the tanks running. 

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