Abrams M1A2 tanks for Ukraine will be green and much ‘gelded’ – US
The United States is working at great speed to bring the Abrams M1A2 tanks, which Ukraine will receive, into a desired design for Washington. Although they will most likely arrive in late summer or early fall on the frontline, such updates have been taking place for years. This means that the American plants involved in the Ukrainian tanks are working overtime to deliver the promised armor to Ukraine this year.
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Currently, German Leopard 2 tanks continue to arrive and be deployed in Ukraine. Another 14 tanks, but this time British Challenger 2, are already in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine [AFU]. Analysts predict that London may make another tranche of Challenger 2 to Ukraine. However, at this stage, these are experts’ guesses and there is no confirmation of such claims.
Abrams M1A2 in Ukraine will be big news for the US. Created during the Cold War and first seen in action in Iraq, the Abrams tanks will face Russian tanks manned by Russian crews for the first time. Undoubtedly, such an encounter is equivalent to a dogfight between the MiG-29 and the F-16, but on the ground. This means that the performance of American tanks in Ukraine will be monitored very closely.
According to sources speaking to US Today, the tanks for Ukraine will be painted in green paint/green camouflage. They [the sources] say their current camouflage is desert. This suggests that the tanks may have been involved in operations in Iraq.
However, many experts may be disappointed. Ukraine will not receive tanks in a configuration that is intended for the US military. Even if there was no war and Ukraine decided to purchase a quantity of this tank, the US would still not provide the “American design” for export. At the beginning of this year, BulgarianMilitary.com made such an assumption. Today it is supported by Tom Vanden Brook’s commentary for US Today.
In his material, Mr. Brook quotes Mr. Colin Smith, an expert on the Russian military at the RAND Corp., a non-partisan think tank. Mr. Smith says workers in Ukrainian tank preparation shops are currently removing sensitive technology. According to him, Washington realized that Abrams could be disabled or captured by Russian soldiers. Thus, the Pentagon cannot “afford the luxury” of providing the Russians with developments in the field of sensitive military technology.
According to our report from the beginning of the year, the tank armor in the US Army inventory is a top-secret military development. There is no country in the world, except the United States, that has such armor. Therefore, most likely, Ukraine will have to get the Abrams M1A2 ‘gelded’ in terms of tank armor.
Abrams armor is on the Green Grape program. According to reports in the US press, this armor was developed from depleted uranium [DU] and high-density materials. Also, sources in the American media claim that not only DU is the main component in the structure of the armor, but also advanced ceramics. However, these are allegations. The program is so secret that not everyone in the Pentagon has access to it, and those who do – are few.
Mr. Smith hinted in his commentary today that the M1A2 tanks have “the more modern M1A2 has improvements, including guidance systems.” He makes this comparison with the previous version of the M1A1 tank. Although Mr. Smith did not mention whether Ukraine would get the guidance system in its tanks, it also falls under sensitive technology. The Abrams M1A2 may arrive in Ukraine without such a system, or “without exactly this system”.
The US has already “scorched” from a lost platform. The downing of the MQ-9 Reaper over the Black Sea, due to the aggressive maneuvers of the Su-27 and the spilling of fuel on the drone’s hull, is already considered a major problem. Why isn’t it just about the cameras, chips, systems, and components used to develop the drone? The MQ-9 Reaper was gathering intelligence. It may have been transferred to the nearest NATO data center, but what was recorded remains as stored.
I.e. Russia will “read” which frequencies of Russian air defense systems in the region have become visible to the Americans and Ukrainians. Therefore – they will be replaced and the work of the drone will have been redundant. Double loss, as they say. The wiring and communication between the drone and the US satellites will also become visible to the Russians.
Let us remind you of one more fact. Last year, when Ukraine received the HIMARS system, Russia was experiencing serious difficulties. Bridges, buildings, and Russian positions were hit, we can say in nine out of ten cases. But as some experts have pointed out since the beginning of this year, HIMARS is not as successful as in 2022.
Western experts say that Russia’s jamming is at a very high level. BulgarianMilitary.com wrote last year that Russian soldiers seized a GMLRS HIMARS rocket. This means that Russian engineers in Moscow have studied the design and technology they are up against so that they can successfully jam it. And apparently, it worked.
That is why Abrams will not arrive in its full glory in Ukraine. The problem is not an image problem, i.e. Americans will not be harmed if Abrams appears in Red Square. But they will be hit hard if they ship an American M1A2 design and it ends up in Russian hands. Because it is naive to imagine that these tanks are invincible and that there is no way Russian soldiers can handle at least one.
Army Colonel Martin O’Donnell talks about delivery time. Also apparent in his speech is the assertion that the American tanks will arrive in a much more crippled version. He says that even if the 31 tanks for Ukraine are ready today, there is no way they will arrive in Ukraine. I.e. the training of Ukrainians will begin when at least one or two tanks are prepared for the war in Ukraine. Washington will not train Ukrainian soldiers on tanks they will not receive.
According to preliminary analysis, at least ten weeks will be needed to train a Ukrainian crew. For comparison, the standard training of American tank crews lasts over a year and a half.
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