War in Ukraine: what you need to know about the Abrams tanks soon to be delivered by Washington

Promise soon kept

War in Ukraine: what you need to know about the Abrams tanks soon to be delivered by Washington

Promise soon kept. As early as January, the United States announced the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks to kyiv. They will arrive next week in Ukraine, announced Joe Biden, who received Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington. On the other hand, the American president refused to deliver Atacms missiles.

The tanks are M1A1, the first version of the American tank, which entered service in the early 1980s. This batch, enough to form a battalion, could be a test balloon before sending other Abrams, produced at more than 4,000 copies, all versions combined.

After the Bradley troop transports, it was the turn of the Abrams to be engaged by the kyiv army. They could be very quickly. The Ukrainian crews (tank commander, gunner, loader and driver) and mechanics have been training for several weeks in Germany on these tanks, which are more modern and complex to handle and maintain than the Soviet-era machines to which they are accustomed. The Abrams became the main battle tank of the American army when it was put into service in the early 1980s. Deployed in Europe in 1988, the 56-ton machine was then a serious potential opponent against the T-80. which equips the Warsaw Pact armies.

The armored vehicle, which takes the name of an American general from the Second World War, will experience its baptism of fire during the first Gulf War. In the desert, Abrams tank units decimate their Iraqi adversaries at long range, without being put in any real danger. Its main armament is a 120mm cannon, capable of firing arrow shells capable of piercing most armor. These munitions, made with depleted uranium, will be delivered with the 31 tanks to kyiv. Besides the United States, seven other countries use the Abrams. Among them, Poland, which has ordered MA1A and M2A2 to have more than 300 by 2026.

Despite its qualities, the machine also has its faults. It is particularly fuel-efficient, with an average consumption of 3 gallons per mile, or 11 liters per 1.6 km. Complex, its engine requires constant attention and regular maintenance. “If not treated properly, engines and transmissions easily “blow up,” explains former US general Mark Hertling on X (ex-Twitter). “It requires a lot of spare parts, and a lot of tankers. »

-Depending on the variant (M1, M1A1, M1A1Sep), the cost is between $2.5-8.9M -If not treated right, the engines

Despite their modernity compared to their Soviet-era counterpart, the M1A1 is not the newest tank in the United States, which employs the M1A2 standard. This digitized version of the tank has a panoramic thermal camera for the tank commander, a new laser rangefinder coupled with a ballistic computer, depleted uranium armor and an explosive reactive armor kit intended for combat in urban environments. So many things that Ukrainian tankers will not find in tank turrets. Washington does not want to see this modernized version fall into the hands of Moscow.