Kiev is awaiting the arrival of its first batch of US-made Abrams tanks, scheduled to reach Ukrainian soil by early autumn. The news was confirmed by a senior Pentagon official on Monday.
President Joe Biden's commitment to supplying Ukraine with Abrams tanks was initially pledged back in January. The tanks are now poised to undergo the logistical process of transportation to Europe and eventually Ukraine.
According to US Army Acquisition Chief Doug Bush, who addressed reporters during a news briefing, the tanks will be accompanied by associated equipment, adding that the tanks and their provisions are ready to be dispatched. However, the journey to their intended destination is a multi-step process that involves careful coordination.
The upcoming delivery will consist of 31 tanks, equivalent to a full Ukrainian battalion. As outlined by Politico's late July report, between six and eight pieces of heavy equipment are expected to reach Ukraine by September, marking the initial phase of this program.
In an effort to ensure smooth integration of the tanks into Ukrainian forces, the US military began an intensive training program. Starting in May, Ukrainian tank crews have been undergoing training on Abrams vehicles in Germany, a ten week program set to conclude in August.
The Pentagon's initial plans to provide Ukraine with the more modern M1A2 variant of the Abrams tank were altered in March, with a shift towards the older M1A1 tanks. Newsweek and Politico reports suggest that these tanks will undergo a careful deconstruction of sensitive technology before being transferred to Kiev. The removal of advanced equipment and depleted uranium armor aims to prevent potential technological advantages from falling into Russian hands.
Washington is also providing Ukrainian forces with ammunition, spare parts, and fuel equipment in a single consolidated delivery.
The delivery of the Abrams tanks comes after the delivery of approximately half of the promised 190 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to Kiev. Many of these IFVs were destroyed or captured by Russian forces during the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in early June.