Taiwan ready to receive first batch of M1A2T Abrams tanks

On August 21, 2023, Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is set to receive its first batch of Abrams M1A2T tanks next year. This announcement was made by the President of the Republic of China, Tsai Ing-wen.
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Main Battle Tank Abrams M1A2 SEP V2 (Picture source: United States DoD )

A total of 38 Abrams M1A2T tanks are scheduled to arrive on the island in 2024, followed by 42 tanks in 2025, and another 28 in 2026. The United States approved the sale of 108 tanks to Taiwan in 2019, amounting to a total of $2.2 billion. The deal also includes 14 M88A2 Hercules tracked armored recovery vehicles. The M1A2T is a modified version of the American M1A2 SEP V2 tank, with General Dynamics Land Systems as the primary contractor.

The main armament of the Abrams M1A2T is a 120 mm M256 smoothbore gun. The tank also features a coaxial 7.62 mm M240 machine gun for close-in defense. Additionally, it is equipped with a CROWS II Remotely Operated Weapon Station that houses a 12.7 mm machine gun, and another 7.62 mm M240 machine gun is mounted separately. This combination of weapons allows the tank to engage a wide range of targets, from enemy armor to infantry and even low-flying aircraft.

The tank is primarily used by the United States, which is also its country of design and manufacture. The Abrams M1A2T is fitted with a second-generation infrared sight system. The tank also features auxiliary power and high-resolution color displays, enhancing the crew's situational awareness and operational efficiency.

The tank is operated by a crew of four: a commander, a gunner, a loader, and a driver. The Abrams M1A2T boasts improved frontal and side armor, providing enhanced protection against a broad spectrum of threats, including advanced anti-tank munitions.

Weighing in at 63 tons, the Abrams M1A2T is a heavyweight. However, its powerful engine propels it to speeds of up to 68 km/h. The tank has a maximum operational range of 425 km. In terms of dimensions, the Abrams M1A2T measures 9.77 meters in length, 3.7 meters in width, and 2.4 meters in height.

Taiwan has already formed a military group that will undergo training in the US for the operation and maintenance of these machines. Upon their return, they will serve as instructors. The Taiwanese military command has indicated that these American-made tanks will be stationed at the most vulnerable points in terms of potential invasion, specifically the western coast of the island. In 2021, Taiwan had shared plans to use these tanks to defend against the People's Liberation Army of China, safeguarding the airports of Kaohsiung and Tainan, port infrastructure, and the northwest regions closer to the capital, Taipei.