WASHINGTON (Agencies): The United States’ promise to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine may come with certain restrictions, as reported by several Western news outlets. The tanks intended for Kiev might be stripped of their modern armor and advanced electronics, as these components are considered too “sensitive” and “sophisticated” to be handed over to the Ukrainian military.
According to Newsweek’s report on Monday, the US-made Abrams tanks may undergo modifications to remove their most sophisticated electronics before they are deployed in Ukraine. The tanks are regarded as more complex platforms compared to other Western heavy armor, requiring additional training to operate effectively.
To expedite the tanks’ delivery to Ukraine by this fall, their equipment might be downgraded to ensure usability by Kiev’s forces. Marina Miron, a post-doctoral researcher at King’s College London, explained that a simpler variant would be better suited given the time constraints.
Ukraine is set to receive the older M1A1 Abrams tank, which has less advanced electronics than its successor, the M1A2. While the M1A2 offers certain advantages to the gunner and commander, it also makes the tanks more challenging to maintain and operate on the battlefield.
Last week, Politico reported that the US may supply the first six to eight tanks out of a battalion promised by the White House in September. The report also suggested that “the older vehicles are being stripped of their most sensitive technology, including in some cases secret depleted uranium armor, before they can be sent to Ukraine.”
Originally, the Pentagon had planned to send the more modern M1A2 variants to Ukraine but changed its plans in March and opted for the older M1A1. The list of restricted technologies that Ukraine will not receive is said to include the tanks’ fire control systems, as the US fears they might be captured by Russia.
The US has already delivered approximately half of the 190 promised Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to Ukraine. Many of these IFVs were destroyed or captured by Russian forces during a largely unsuccessful Ukrainian counteroffensive launched in early June. Ukrainian troops reportedly salvaged damaged American IFVs for spare parts.