The US will deliver 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine.
The US sends 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine. When exactly the important delivery will arrive in the war zone is still unclear. Because: The tanks must be delivered in a unique export configuration, as reported by the US medium “The Drive”. The first tanks may not arrive until the end of this year or even early next year.
This is largely due to the top-secret armor packages found specifically on the US military versions that contain depleted uranium. This is a metal that is a waste product from the enrichment of uranium for use in nuclear power plants. And the US doesn’t even export that to key allies. Depleted uranium is also radioactive.
Top-secret armor provides delay
Since the late 1980s, many newly produced US military M1A1 tanks have been fitted with composite armor containing, among other things, depleted uranium (DU). Armor packs with DU were also used on later variants of the A2 series. Many older American M1A1s were later retrofitted with the newer armor and other improvements.
To say that the DU armor is top secret is an understatement, according to the portal. The development of the original version of this armor, often referred to as “heavy armor” or “special armor”, was done under a top-secret Special Access Program (SAP) nicknamed Green Grape. SAP have additional security protocols to protect the disclosure of particularly sensitive national security information.
Where do the Ukraine Abrams come from?
Even today, the export regulations for these Abrams tanks are very strict. M1 variants are in service with Australia, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, but none of these countries use DU armor. Instead, exportable armor packs that do not include DU were developed for the M1 series.
With that in mind, it remains to be seen how American officials will attempt to defuse these issues as part of the transfer of Abrams tanks to Ukraine. There is also the question of whether it would be possible to acquire export variants that already have weakened armor and other systems from other countries.
The armor problem will limit the speed at which the US government can deliver Abrams to Ukraine, regardless of where those tanks come from. Even if the M1 tanks are pulled from storage and rebuilt for Ukraine, there’s a good chance they’ll have armor packs that need replacing – and that could take time. (chs)
Would you like to see this supplementary content (Tweet, Instagram, etc.)? If you agree that cookies are set and data is thereby transmitted to external providers, you can allow all cookies and display external content directly.