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USA. Pentagon: Ukraine will get Abrams tanks in the older M1A1 version, but the delivery will be faster

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The Pentagon plans to speed up deliveries of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Reuters reported. In January, the Joe Biden administration pledged to supply Ukraine with 31 advanced tanks. The new plan would give Ukraine a variant of the M1A1 tank that can run on diesel like most of the Ukrainian fleet, one official said. This change is also expected to speed up delivery by about a year.

Ukraine will receive older versions of the Abrams tanks, the M1A1, and not the M1A2 as originally announced, a spokesman said on Tuesday Pentagon General Pat Ryder. He added that the decision was made in consultation with the Ukrainian authorities to accelerate the delivery of tanks so that they would be ready by autumn.

“This decision will allow us to significantly accelerate delivery times and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by this fall,” Ryder said at a press briefing. He stressed that the decision was taken “in close coordination with Ukraine”.

The new plan is to modernize the hulls of the tanks in storage of the armed forces USA and equipped with “similar” capabilities to the newer M1A2, including advanced armor and a 120mm cannon and a 50mm heavy machine gun. A variant of the M1A1 tank can also run on diesel, like most of the Ukrainian fleet, one of the officials stressed.

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American Abrams M1A1 tanks on exercises in PolandPhoto from 2018Dengrier M. Baez/Marine Corps

The tanks will not reach Ukraine in time for the spring offensive

A Pentagon spokesman noted that the original version of the plan, equipping Ukraine with 31 new M1A2s, meant that the delivery period would be more than a year. The original cost was estimated at $400 million.

At the same time, General Ryder admitted that the tanks would not reach Ukraine in time for its expected spring offensive, but added that they would be useful in the “medium term”.

“Reclaiming territory through an offensive will of course be important, but it will also be important to keep those gains, as well as deter future Russian aggression,” he said.

He also announced that the Ukrainian crews will be trained in the use of these tanks. Earlier, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated that the basic training of American soldiers on Abrams takes 6-8 weeks.

Main photo source: Dengrier M. Baez/Marine Corps



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