M1A1 Abrams tanks’ entry into the Ukraine war is being delayed

In a recent development, the United States Army has prolonged a training initiative designed to equip Ukrainian personnel with the skills to operate M1A1 Abrams tanks, as per an announcement from U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command. The program, originally slated for completion in mid-September, is now projected to experience a delay of several weeks.

Less than a week following the initial revelation that the first cadre of Ukrainian personnel had concluded their training, a report surfaced. This report has ignited conjecture, suggesting that the previously imparted training may not have met the requisite proficiency levels.

The procrastination observed stems from Ukraine’s much-expected campaigns against Russian posts, initiated in the early days of June. These endeavors have not yielded substantial territorial victories, with Ukrainian troops and their novel Western-funded armored vehicles enduring considerable damage.

US upgrades Polish Abrams M1 with new FMS turret armor packages
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Video evidence has substantiated the extensive damage inflicted upon a considerable quantity of German-provided Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks. Furthermore, over 60 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, generously supplied by the United States, have also been decimated. Most recently, the conflict has claimed its first victim among the 14 Challenger 2 tanks, a powerful contribution from the United Kingdom, along with numerous other types of vehicles that have unfortunately been lost in the ongoing confrontation.

The escalating attrition rate experienced by Western vehicles in Ukraine has amplified the demand for an influx of Western armor. However, this situation simultaneously provokes an inquiry into the efficacy of such armament.  

Several categories of armored vehicles have already been subjected to significant losses. Among these are the Leopard 2A6 and the Challenger 2, both of which are markedly more resilient than the M1A1 Abrams tanks slated for delivery to Ukraine. It is worth noting that these American tanks have undergone a downgrade, most critically in their lack of depleted uranium armor, thereby diminishing their overall survivability. 

In the course of historical operations within the Middle East, it has been demonstrably evident that Leopard 2s and Abrams tanks, despite their formidable reputations, have exhibited significant vulnerability to even antiquated anti-tank missiles.

The postponement of Abrams tanks’ dispatches might strategically position their induction into service to coincide with a potential cessation of the current heightened conflict. Once the tumultuous period subsides, these armored beasts stand a lower chance of incurring damages, which could otherwise blemish the prestige of the Abrams class. This tactic may also serve to safeguard the reputation of the American defense industry as a whole. 

It was initially perceived that the United States exhibited a degree of reluctance in supplying Ukraine with Abrams tanks. This hesitation was attributed to the anticipation of substantial losses, which could potentially inflict a serious blow to the reputation of the tank class. This occurred at a critical juncture when the Western world had not yet developed any tank classes that could surpass the capabilities of the Abrams.

In a strategic maneuver, Washington, in January, pledged to supply Abrams tanks, thereby exerting significant pressure on Berlin. This was in response to German officials stipulating that Berlin would only supply Leopard 2 tanks if the Abrams were also provided. Consequently, this diplomatic pressure has led to Leopard 2s being dispatched from both German reserves and operators spread across Europe, from Poland to Spain. 

Demining Leopard vehicles in Ukraine cannot work in 35-degree heat
Photo credit: Twitter

In an impressive demonstration of their military prowess, Russian forces have successfully penetrated sophisticated Western armor. This feat was achieved using relatively basic anti-tank assets, specifically the handheld Kornet missiles. A notable instance of this occurred in early September when a Challenger 2 tank, freshly sourced from the British Army’s stockpiles, was effectively destroyed.

Launched from Ka-52 attack helicopters, the formidable Vikhr-1 air-to-ground anti-tank missiles possess a penetrative capacity that is notably superior. Documented instances reveal their capability to obliterate a substantial number of vehicles, many of which have been supplied by Western powers.

In an observable reaction to the escalating ground conflict in Ukraine, coupled with the substantial influx of Western vehicles to the Ukrainian Army, the Russian Defence Ministry has embarked on a significant enlargement of its production scale. The T-90M tanks and Mi-28 attack helicopters, among a broad array of other assets, are being produced at an increased rate. Furthermore, the Ministry has been extracting older vehicle models, notably the T-62Ms, from storage and subjecting them to modernization processes. These are intended to serve predominantly in infantry support roles. 


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