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Politico: US to provide Ukraine with more advanced Abrams tanks — but no secret armor

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 27, 2023 12:44 AM 1 min read
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The U.S. is planning to send Ukraine a more advanced M1A2 configuration of the Abrams tank, rather than the older version that the American military has in storage, three people with knowledge of the matter told Politico.

President Joe Biden announced on Jan. 25 that the U.S. will send Ukraine a battalion of 31 M1 Abrams tanks, the army’s premier main battle tank, in a significant show of support for Kyiv in its fight against Russia. The 31 tanks destined for Ukraine, however, will not include "the secret armor mix that makes the Army’s newest version so lethal."

U.S. federal policy forbids the export of Abrams with classified armor packages used by the U.S. military, which includes depleted uranium, a person with knowledge of the policy told Politico. The U.S. strips the vehicles of this secret armor “recipe” before selling them to other countries. The Pentagon plans to provide Ukraine with the A2 version in this “exportable” form, according to one defense official and two other people with knowledge of the deliberations.

It still needs to be determined when the tanks can be delivered to Ukraine. The tanks are assembled in a government-owned, General Dynamics-operated plant in Lima, Ohio. "That facility can produce 12 tanks per month, but the line is now full of new tank orders for Taiwan and Poland — orders it would be difficult and likely controversial to put on the backburner," Politico wrote.

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