US to send M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine
M1A2 Abrams tanks have upgraded targeting optics over the M1A1 version incorporating a separate thermal optics system that enables the tank's commander to search for targets in all kinds of weather and battlefield circumstances.
Politico reported on Thursday that the US will send Ukraine its most modern Abrams M1 main battle tank, citing 3 informed sources.
According to Pentagon Deputy Spokesperson Sabrina Singh on Thursday, the US will supply the more modern M1A2 type of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, confirming earlier rumors from US media.
"We’re giving the M1A2 variant of the tank," Singh said during a press briefing.
Read more: US may send 'significant number’ of Abrams tanks to Ukraine: WSJ
President Biden announced on Wednesday that the US would send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. However, US officials have stated that it will take a few months to finalize the training and delivery process before they can be mobilized on the battlefields in Ukraine, most likely they wouldn't be delivered before the anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Read more: US Abrams tanks delivered to Ukraine will be destroyed: Antonov
Federal regulations prevent the advanced Abrams tanks, known as the M1A2 model, from being equipped with a covert armor that uses depleted uranium, according to the report.
According to the report, the M1A2 Abrams tank has upgraded targeting optics on top of the M1A1 version incorporating a separate thermal optics system that enables the tank's commander to search for targets in all kinds of weather and battlefield circumstances.
Read more: Germany: No Leopard tanks to Kiev unless US agrees to send its Abrams
Additionally, the report also stated that the newer model of the tank also has a digital control station with technology that enables the commander to adequately identify friendly vehicles and enemy positions.
According to US officials that announced the decision, the tanks will take months to be delivered to Ukraine, noting that the step aims to provide Ukraine with long-term defense.
The location upon which Ukrainian servicemen will train on operating the M1 Abrams was not yet determined.
Read more: US to retain Abrams tanks in 1st delivery of armored vehicles to Kiev
Costing around $10 million a piece, the US-made complex battle tank is very difficult to maintain and will pose a logistical challenge to be resupplied as it operates on jet fuel.
Senior administration officials said Biden had spoken to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on multiple occasions this month about assistance to Ukraine. He talked again on Wednesday to Scholz as well as to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom are close allies in helping Ukraine.