US will send Ukraine more modern version of Abrams tank
The United States plans to send its more updated version of the M1 Abrams tank to Ukraine, a vehicle that is considered deadlier and has more upgrades than its predecessor but takes longer to transfer to Kyiv.
Washington will ship to Ukraine the M1A2 version of the tank — a vehicle that is considered more lethal and runs on a digital system compared to the older M1A1 .
The U.S. cannot ship the tanks immediately because the U.S. military does not “have these tanks available in excess in our U.S. stocks,” deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters Thursday.
The Pentagon intends to procure the tanks through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), meaning it will buy the Abrams directly from its maker General Dynamics to then be shipped to Ukraine, a process that “is going to take months,” Singh said.
She explained that the schedule will give U.S. officials time to train Ukrainian troops on the advanced weapon.
“These things are going to require training maintenance, sustainment, that is going to take a very long time to also train in Ukrainians on,” she said. “We took that into account. That’s why we are using the USAI capability in order to procure these tanks for the Ukrainians.”
President Biden announced on Wednesday that the United States will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, matching a German announcement to immediately provide Leopard tanks that Kyiv says are essential in its fight against Russia.
The decision came after a week of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the U.S. and its NATO allies. It also marks a remarkable about-face for the Biden administration, which had previously insisted the Abrams would be of little benefit to Ukraine due to its costly and laborious maintenance and upkeep.
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