An Australian army M1A1 Abrams main battle tank fires a round at a target during Excercise Chong Ju in 2019. PHOTO: AFP
On Monday, President Zelensky announced a significant reinforcement to Ukraine’s military capabilities as US Abrams battle tanks were delivered to bolster Kyiv’s ongoing efforts in their counteroffensive against Russian forces.
The push to regain territory from Russian troops, initiated by Kyiv in June, gained momentum with the buildup of assault battalions and the arrival of weaponry pledged by Western nations. In a social media statement, President Zelensky shared the encouraging news, saying, “Good news from Defense Minister Rustem Umerov. Abrams tanks have already arrived in Ukraine and are in the process of reinforcing our brigades.”
Details regarding the exact number of tanks delivered and the timeline for their deployment to the front lines were not provided by President Zelensky.
At the beginning of the year, Washington had committed to supplying Kyiv with 31 Abrams tanks, as part of a broader $43 billion security assistance package promised by the United States over the past 18 months.
As for the newly-acquired weapons, the US Department of Defense opted to send older M1A1 models from the Army reserves instead of the initially promised M1A2s. While the primary distinction between the basic M1A2 and M1A1 versions lies in the more robust armor protection and modern electronics of the former, it’s worth noting that the FEP (Firepower Enhancement Program) and AIM-SA (Abrams Integrated Management – Situational Awareness) iterations of the M1A1, currently in use by the US Army, have undergone substantial modernization efforts, bringing them closer to the capabilities of the M1A2.
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