3,000 M1 tanks in stock, but US refrains from delivery to Ukraine

WASHINGTON, US — Undoubtedly, the promised tanks for Ukraine are the hot news. It will be commented on, overexposed, and analyzed for a long time. Moreover, the first tanks are expected in about a month. Thus, by the end of the year, Ukraine will receive tanks. In addition to Challenger 2 and Leopard, Ukraine was promised, Abrams. There are interesting comments about the delivery of Abrams to Ukraine. Here is one of them.

3,000 M1 tanks in stock, but US refrains from delivery to Ukraine
Photo credit: Yandex

First, Ukraine may not get the best at all. The M1A2 Abrams is in use in the US and many of those in stock are full of stuff [including armor] that will need extensive modification [removal/replacement] before the tanks are handed over to another nation.

M1s that are purchased [or licensed] from other countries have technology that is quite comparable to the Leopard [in Egypt]. The United States is unlikely to give Ukraine a modern version of the American machine, and it is doubtful that Egypt will supply its M1s to fight Russia. The old Abrams tanks that are stored in the United States are quite difficult to restore to working condition and then send across the ocean. It is much more reasonable to transport already-built German tanks through Poland.

Second, the Abrams requires serious training and have systems that require proper attention from the crew to ensure their safety. Some things can’t just be glued together, and if you don’t have full logistical support, you could be in trouble. So for the US, this is much more serious than just saying, “Here are the tanks you wanted… take them and have fun.”

Finally, Abrams is logistically sensitive, which isn’t a problem for the US, a country that, after World War II, could send things like chocolate cake to the front. But these logistical requirements can be very disconcerting for a country already at war.

22 weeks of abbreviated Abrams tank crew training for Ukraine
Photo credit: DoD

Some people say the Leopard 2 is necessarily “better” than the Abrams. This is definitely the best tank for nations that can’t get an Abrams with the “options” they want, or that are put off by the cost of maintaining and feeding the Abrams [understandably]. With toys, care, and feeding, the Abrams will be as unstoppable as any tank ever made.

Second, in terms of core technology, the Leopard 2 is the same dinosaur as the M1. The two tanks were first produced in the late 1970s. That the best tanks in the world were developed so long ago shows how few economies have the money to develop super tanks. None of them needed an overhaul because you don’t usually design vehicles to fight enemy vehicles that don’t exist yet – and they probably won’t.

But both tanks were designed to repel the Soviet Blitzkrieg in Europe, which apparently means “get there fast, engage the enemy from as far away as possible.”

Third, people care about fuel efficiency, not autonomy. The Leopard’s measured real-world fuel consumption is 7.2 l/km [or 0.33 mpg] and the Abrams’ 14.9 l/km [or 0.15 mpg]. The Leopard isn’t exactly a Prius. But for logistics, how far you can go with full tanks is also important. The M1A2 SEP has a 25% more “range” than the 2A4 Leopard [264 miles vs. 210 highway miles, albeit with much more fuel].

Fourth, from a logistical point of view, there is an obsession with jet fuel and the fact that it is something special. Every US ground combat vehicle runs on JP8 “jet fuel”, including diesel vehicles. The M1 can also run on any flammable hydrocarbon, including diesel, although not as efficiently. Also note that “jet fuel” is a mixture of gasoline and kerosene, not the most exotic fuels.

Russia: US doesn't want photos of Abrams stuck in the Ukrainian mud
Photo credit: YouTube

Finally, there are some German prohibitions and restrictions [such as armor and depleted uranium projectiles] which means the Leopard can never fully match the Abrams’ offensive or defensive capabilities due to sheer physics. And if you’re into drag racing, the Abrams’ actual top speed is about 40% faster than the Leopard’s.

After all, it’s no surprise that Ukraine needs Leopard 2 tanks, and it’s equally understandable why the US isn’t thrilled to give them Abrams tanks.


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