According to a statement published by the United States Department of Defense on January 25, 2023, the United States will supply Ukraine with 31 M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTS) and 8 M88 tracked armored recovery vehicles. According to information published by the American TV News channel "CNBC", the variant of the M1 Abrams tank that will be delivered to Ukraine is the Abrams M1A1.
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U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers with Company A, 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, South Carolina National Guard, out of Dillon, South Carolina, conduct live-fire accuracy screening tests on M1A1 Abrams tanks, July 22, 2021, at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
Citing information from the U.S. Department of Defense, the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) are the most capable tanks in the world. And, they're also extremely complex to operate and maintain. Along with the tanks, the U.S. will be giving Ukraine the parts and equipment necessary to effectively repair and maintain these tanks on the battlefield.
Ukrainian soldiers will be given training on logistics and maintenance as soon as possible, as the actual delivery of these tanks will take some time.
At the same time, the Ukrainian armed forces will also receive eight M88 tracked armored recovery vehicles that will be shipped with the 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks.
The M1A1 Abrams is a main battle tank (MBT) developed by General Dynamics (now part of Lockheed Martin) for the United States Army. It is the first improved version of the first M1 Abrams tanks. The first production of the M1 Abrams was completed in February 1980, and the M1 assembly began at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in 1982.
The M1A1 Abrams entered into service with the United States Army in 1980. The first production model of the M1A1 was delivered to the U.S. Army in 1985, and it has been continuously upgraded since then. The M1A1 Abrams is still in service with the U.S. Army, but he was recently removed from the Marine Corps service. The tank has been used in various conflicts such as the Gulf War and the Iraq War.
The M1A1 Abrams is armed with a 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, which is capable of firing a variety of rounds, including armor-piercing, high-explosive, and canister shot. has a maximum effective firing range of around 2,500 m when firing armor-piercing rounds. The tank also has a 7.62mm M240 coaxial machine gun and a 12.7mm M2 heavy machine gun as secondary armament mounted on the turret roof. The M1A1 is also equipped with an advanced fire control system, which allows the crew to engage targets quickly and accurately.
The M1A1 Abrams is typically crewed by four soldiers including a driver, a commander, a gunner, and a loader. The driver is seated at the front left side of the hull while the other crew members are in the turret. The M1A1's armor is designed to provide a high level of protection against a wide range of threats, including anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, and high-explosive shells.
The M1A1 Abrams is powered by a General Electric turbine engine called the AGT1500. The AGT1500 is a gas turbine engine that uses diesel fuel to generate power. It has a power output of around 1,500 horsepower, which allows the M1A1 to reach speeds of up to 68 km/h on roads and around 30 miles per hour 48 km/h cross-country. The AGT1500 engine is also highly reliable and requires less maintenance than traditional piston engines.
U.S. Marines use an M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicle to lift the engine out of an M1A1 Abrams tank to repair it during sustainment training. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
The M88 Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV) is a tracked armored vehicle used by the United States military for the recovery and maintenance of tanks and other heavy vehicles. It is equipped with a crane and other tools for lifting and towing, as well as a winch for pulling stuck vehicles out of difficult terrain. The M88 has been in service since the 1960s and has undergone several upgrades to improve its capabilities. It is typically used in support of armored units such as the M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
Biden administration announces new US military aid package for Ukraine
On January 25, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced the procurement of Abrams M1A1 tanks for Ukraine via the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), to support Ukraine's defense against Russian aggression.
This USAI package underscores the continued U.S. commitment to building the capacity of Ukraine's Armed Forces, now and into the future. Unlike Presidential Drawdown authority (PDA), which DoD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from DoD stocks at a historic pace, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures new capabilities. This $400 million USAI package represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine.
The capabilities in this package include:
• 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks with 120mm rounds and other ammunition;
• 8 M88 ARV to recover equipment;
• Support vehicles and equipment;
• Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
Alongside the battalion of Abrams tanks provided by the United States, a European consortium is committing to provide two battalions of Leopard tanks to Ukraine in the near term. The United States will continue to work with our Allies and partners to meet Ukraine's battlefield needs to counter Russian aggression and ensure the continued freedom and independence of the Ukrainian people.
In total, the United States has now committed more than $27.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $29.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $27.1 billion since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24, 2022.