The delivery of US-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine is expected to take place by early autumn, according to a senior Pentagon official. President Joe Biden had previously pledged to provide heavy equipment to Ukraine in January.
During a news briefing, the US Army Acquisition Chief, Doug Bush, confirmed that the tanks are ready for delivery. However, he noted that the equipment pieces still need to make their way to Europe, and then to Ukraine, along with all the necessary accompanying items.
Bush also mentioned that Washington plans to supply ammunition, spare parts, and fuel equipment for the tanks as part of the same delivery. He emphasized that it’s not just the tanks being provided, but rather a comprehensive package of support. He assured that the delivery of the full package is still on track.
The US has committed to sending a total of 31 tanks, equivalent to a Ukrainian battalion. However, Politico previously reported that only between six and eight tanks may actually be delivered to Ukraine by September.
In May, the US military began training Ukrainian tank crews in Germany. The ten-week training course is set to conclude in August. Originally, the Pentagon had intended to provide the more modern M1A2 variants of the tanks to Ukraine. However, plans changed in March, and the decision was made to supply the older M1A1 tanks instead.
Before the tanks can be handed over to Ukraine, they will need to be stripped of any sensitive technology. Newsweek and Politico reported that the US-made tanks will undergo a process to remove advanced equipment that offers advantages to the gunner and commander, as well as remove depleted uranium armor.
It is worth noting that the US has already delivered around half of the 190 promised Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to Ukraine. Unfortunately, many of these vehicles have been destroyed or captured by Russian forces during a Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in early June.
In conclusion, the delivery of US-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine is scheduled to take place by early autumn. The tanks will be accompanied by ammunition, spare parts, and fuel equipment. The training of Ukrainian tank crews is currently underway in Germany, with the course set to conclude in August. The tanks will undergo a process to remove sensitive technology before being handed over to Ukraine. The US has previously supplied Bradley IFVs to Ukraine, but many have been lost during recent conflicts with Russian forces.