The brand new plan will deliver the 70-ton tanks into motion “as shortly as potential,” the Pentagon mentioned
The US navy will speed up its cargo of M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukrainian forces, opting to ship an older mannequin after discovering that the most recent model might take greater than a 12 months to achieve the battlefield.
Chatting with reporters for a press briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder mentioned that whereas the navy initially deliberate to ship the tank’s newer M1A2 variant, it might now provide the earlier M1A1 mannequin in an effort to “considerably expedite supply timelines.”
“It can … give Ukraine a really related functionality to the M1A2, which incorporates superior armor and weapons methods,” Ryder mentioned, stressing that the choice “is about getting this vital fight functionality into the palms of the Ukrainians sooner somewhat than later.”
Requested concerning the Pentagon’s authentic timetable for the Abrams, the spokesman mentioned deliveries have been first slated to take “over a 12 months,” however the navy now hopes to begin shipments earlier than the top of 2023.
The tanks will likely be outfitted with “refurbished” hulls taken from US inventories, Ryder added, happening to foretell that the price of the process wouldn’t go “very a lot past” $400 million.
Whereas President Joe Biden initially mentioned he wouldn’t authorize the Abrams for Ukraine, his administration reversed course earlier this 12 months after Germany agreed to ship its personal Leopard battle tanks, now pledging to switch 31 M1A1 fashions.
Ryder’s announcement got here simply at some point after Washington unveiled its newest $350 million weapons package deal for Kiev, together with ammunition for US-made howitzers and the HIMARS multi-launch rocket platform, anti-armor methods, mortars and high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs), amongst different gear. The brand new assist introduced complete American navy help to Ukraine to some $32.5 billion because the battle with Russia kicked off final 12 months.
Moscow has repeatedly urged in opposition to overseas arms shipments to Kiev, saying they’d do nothing to discourage its navy goals and solely make a negotiated settlement harder. Earlier on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin provided a stern warning to the British authorities after it mentioned it might present depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine, saying Russia could be “compelled to react accordingly.” Requested if the USA was at the moment supplying related DU weapons – which include extremely poisonous radioactive materials – Ryder mentioned “to not my data,” after officers beforehand declined to supply a solution and refused to debate the “technical specifics” of US arms.
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