Ukraine will receive 90 T-72 tanks, the US is renewing half of them

WASHINGTON — The United States continues to provide military aid to Ukraine. Today, November 4th, the Pentagon announced a new “military” of 400 million US dollars. The aid that the US will provide is in the form of new weapons systems and funding to upgrade Soviet weapons systems.

See what Ukraine modifies on the Polish-supplied T-72M1R tanks
T-72M1R, Twitter

As wrote some time ago, the money that the US government grants, after authorization by Congress, never leaves the country’s territory. I.e. when the US declares a dollar value as military aid, it does not mean a “blank check” for Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine and Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army. This money is needed to pay for various activities related to the announced deliveries.

For the most part, the dollars announced as military aid are not needed to solve logistical problems, repair work near Ukraine, or production, the latter of which is very common in the United States.

The US and the Nedherlands

In the $400 million package announced today, the US will “upgrade” 45 T-72 main battle tanks. This does not mean that the US will carry out the modernization of Soviet tanks in the US, nor that the US has stockpiles of Soviet tanks that will be provided to Ukraine [as was the case when the US provided Kyiv with years ago purchased Soviet S-300 and held in storage, or participating during exercises on American soil]. A portion of the money will also go toward paying for on-site repairs. This place is the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic will repair and modernize their existing T-72 tanks
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Together with America, the Netherlands agreed to pay for the repair and refurbishment of another 45 T-72 tanks. Thus, in the coming months, Ukraine will receive 90 Soviet T-72 tanks, necessary for conducting military operations against the Russian armed forces.

The 90 tanks that will be renewed for the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive new optics, armored packages, and new communication. This was officially announced by the spokesperson of the US Department of Defense, Sabrina Singh.

Possible upgrade

The Pentagon does not provide more clarity on how and with what components the T-72 tanks will be updated. It is entirely possible, moreover quite logical, since the repairs will be carried out in the Czech Republic, the money that the USA will pay will go to the integration of Soviet components, which were developed to be integrated precisely on these tanks.

So, for example, if Washington follows the ideas of Kyiv, which upgraded Polish T-72 tanks, then “American” T-72 tanks can get Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor [ERA]. The probability is even greater if we get acquainted with the fact that the Czech Republic has extremely large quantities of 4C20 explosive elements that are part of Kontakt-1.

See what Ukraine modifies on the Polish-supplied T-72M1R tanks
Kontakt-1 emulation, Twitter

So, in addition to the Kontakt-1, the US could pay for additional rubber armor added to the turret/hull of the tank. The Ukrainians made a similar modification with the tanks donated by Poland.

Except tanks

Singh also added that this military aid package includes the supply of at least 1,100 units of Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems, 40 Riverine armored boats, and funding to upgrade 250 M1117 armored security vehicles.

Experts identify two main shortages in recent weeks for the needs of the Ukrainian army: tanks and air defense systems. Ukraine continues to expect positive responses from the US, and its European partners for the supply of Abrams or Leopard tanks. Spain came closest to delivering its Leopard 1A2 tanks, but they were in such poor condition that they could not be repaired, and the Ukrainian defense ministry envoy outright refused them.

Old Soviet equipment

Watch: Trainload of 28 Slovenian M55S tanks on its way to Ukraine
Photo credit: Twitter

However, European countries, mostly from the former socialist camp, are supplying obsolete Soviet equipment. Poland gave over 200 old Soviet tanks, and the Czech Republic and other countries were as well. Just days ago, Slovenia decided to donate 28 units of M55S to Ukraine. A video recording at a Slovenian station recorded the passage of the train composition with the Slovenian tanks.

How effective the “American” T-72 tanks will be, as well as those modified with Dutch money, remains to be seen. The war in Ukraine opened the doors to warehouses of obsolete, rusty, and unnecessary weapons. It can be said that war is a chance for countries to free themselves from “black holes” in defense budgets. I.e. money from the military budget given to support weapons for decades, even since the Cold War era.

Russia also uses T-72 tanks in Ukraine. It can be said that this is the most used tank. Ukrainian soldiers are very well trained on the T-72 as it has been part of their arsenal for decades.


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