at least 11 killed by Russia’s fierce attacks on Ukraine

The US will send the most modern and deadly version of the Abrams tank to Ukraine, says the Pentagon

US-owned M1A2 Abrams tanks in Germany. (Credit: Daniel Karmann/picture alliance/Getty Images)

The United States will send the M1A2 Abrams tank to Ukraine, which has significantly improved its capabilities compared to the previous M1A1 model.

The Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, Sabrina Singh, confirmed Thursday that the M1A2 would be the version of the Abrams supplied to the Ukrainians. She said the US does not “have these excess tanks in our stock” and that it will take “months to transfer” the tanks to Ukraine.

The M1A2 is a significant upgrade from the older M1A1, mainly due to the fact that the A2 runs on a digital system, as opposed to the A1’s analogue system.

It’s “the difference between a plug-in phone — a rotary phone — and that iPhone you’re holding in your hand,” explained retired Army General Robert Abrams, a former commander of US forces in Korea, whose father was the namesake of the 70-liter tank. tons.

US officials announced this week that 31 Abrams tanks would be shipped to Ukraine after days of back and forth between the US and its allies. Officials had not yet revealed which tank variant they would choose, and Army acquisition chief Doug Bush told reporters Tuesday that the decision was still being deliberated.

More about the tanks: US President Joe Biden said Wednesday from the White House that the tanks would “enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory and achieve its strategic objectives.”

In addition to the digital change with the A2, the newer version of the tank is “significantly” more lethal than the A1, Abrams said. Includes a separate thermal sight from the commander. Whereas previously only the gunner had a thermal site, now the tank commander has one as well, allowing them to help scan and identify targets. The digital system also allows the tank crew to run their own on-board diagnostics, Abrams said, rather than waiting for mechanics to run tests to determine any problems that arise.

When it comes down to it, Abrams said, the M1A2 is “far superior in lethality, survivability and mobility” to anything Russia has on the battlefield.

It is unclear which variant of the A2 tank, of which there are three, will be chosen. Singh refused to say so during a Pentagon briefing on Thursday, and Bush also refused to say so on Wednesday.

Bush added that concerns about the logistics and maintenance of each variant — which had been frequently cited as one of the reasons the United States was hesitant to send the Abrams — would not weigh heavily in the decision.

Bush also explained that the Army does not produce new tanks from scratch and has instead been modifying existing older models. “That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy or fast,” he added, but these days they don’t have to be built from scratch.

CNN’s Michael Conte contributed to this post.

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