March 23, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Politico: the US is trying to decide where to find the tanks promised to Ukraine

The Pentagon refused to supply Kyiv with tanks from its stocks – it’s a pity. Therefore, the option was considered to purchase old versions of tanks from other countries – Kuwait, Morocco or Egypt. But in the end, it was decided to abandon this – those tanks are completely unsuitable for the Ukrainian front.

Pentagon pre agreed supply of Abrams tanks of the current modification M1A2. They are distinguished by an improved enemy detection and guidance system. But before delivery to Ukraine, the tanks will have to get rid of a lot of the equipment that the US fears could fall into Russian hands. They may also be deprived of the ability to use depleted uranium ammunition.

Similar in appearance to the A1, the A2 features a redesigned commander weapon station with improved targeting optics and an independent thermal imager that allows the commander to self-scan targets in all weather and combat conditions. The most radical changes were made to the interior, which was redesigned to take into account new technologies. Control mechanisms have been digitized, most notably the new inter-tank information system that allows vehicles to continuously and automatically exchange information. Using the new technology, commanders can quickly track the location of friendly vehicles, determine enemy positions and process artillery requests (unless, of course, there is opposition from EW).

Another problem is related to logistics. Today, Abrams tanks are de facto not produced in the USA. The only General Dynamics tank factory in Ohio is upgrading older versions of the Abrams with the installation of new equipment. He manages to upgrade only 12 tanks per month. At the same time, the plant’s capacities are overloaded with orders for Poland and Taiwan. Warsaw is demanding Abrams tanks from the US to replace its 250 T-72s that were destroyed last year in Ukraine. Taiwan has been trying to get 108 Abrams tanks since 2019.

Both customers are unlikely to agree to give up their place in the queue to Ukraine, which does not even buy these tanks. Therefore, Abrams may be at the disposal of Kyiv towards the end of 2023. In the coming months, Ukraine can only count on German tanks, which the United States wanted to transfer to Kyiv without risking its own weapons.

Any version of the Abrams would be a massive improvement over the Soviet-made tanks currently in service in Ukraine in terms of firepower, accuracy and armour. But once they arrive, it will be difficult for Ukrainian forces to keep them operational, experts say.

It is because of these problems that the Biden administration insisted on the supply of German-made Leopard tanks, which are easier to maintain and train. The first Leopards from Germany and other European countries are likely to start arriving in Ukraine this spring.

And in the future, if the situation on the Ukrainian front becomes a stalemate for Kyiv, the White House can always back down and completely refuse to supply the promised tanks. In the meantime, the United States can, without wasting its tank stocks, launch the remnants of European weapons in Ukraine, which then the European Union will have to replenish with purchases from America …

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