Lloyd Austin has made a statement in the US Senate.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that Ukraine will receive Abrams tanks in early autumn.
"We are doing everything possible to speed up the delivery of these tanks. According to our forecasts, it will happen in early autumn," Austin said at a Senate hearing, the Voice of America reports.
According to the Pentagon chief, several tanks have been moved to a training ground for the Ukrainian military to start training.
"By the time the training is over, the tanks will be available for use," he added.
This timing of the delivery of the Abrams is explained by the fact that the US military is not only sending them to Ukraine and training the Ukrainian military to operate them, but also building the infrastructure that will support the tanks, which are new equipment for the Ukrainians.
"This equipment is significantly different, in particular due to the turbine engine and other rather complex systems. But we are trying to transfer this equipment to the Ukrainians as quickly as possible. They will definitely have everything ready by early autumn," Austin added.
M1 Abrams Tank
The M1 Abrams is the US main battle tank. It has been in serial production since 1980. It is in service with the U.S. Army and Marines as well as the armed forces of Egypt, Australia, Morocco and a number of Middle Eastern states.
It is named after General Creighton Abrams.
The M1 Abrams is currently one of the heaviest tanks, its fighting weight exceeds 62 tonnes.
Over the years the tank has seen numerous upgrades. It was the first tank to be fitted with an anti-tank depleted uranium projectile capable of damaging any other armoured vehicles of foreign armies.
The M1 Abrams is equipped with a ballistic fire control system and has a built-in laser rangefinder and thermal imager in the main gunner's GPS sight. There is a gas protection system to prevent fires and ammunition detonation when the tank is hit.
The M1 Abrams armament differs in different versions. The original version used M68 105mm rifled tank gun with a capacity of 55 rounds, while the M1A1 and M1A2 upgrades use M256 120mm smoothbore tank gun.
The tank is fitted with three machine guns and the crew can also store M16 rifles or M4 carbines inside the turret.
Abrams Tanks for Ukraine
On January 25, US President Joe Biden confirmed his intention to transfer 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which equals one Ukrainian battalion. Along with the tanks, the US will provide training to the Ukrainian military "as quickly as possible" and provide spare parts.
"We intend to help Ukraine defend its territory and go on a counter-offensive. They need to increase their defensive capabilities to liberate the country. Today we are allocating over 500 armoured vehicles and I am also announcing that we are allocating 31 Abrams tanks," Biden said.
On April 5, it was reported that the US Department of Defence was finalizing the purchase of the necessary equipment to train Ukrainian tank crews.
On April 6, it was reported that the US Department of Defence had signed a contract with military equipment manufacturer General Dynamics Land Systems to manufacture Abrams tanks. The manufactured armoured vehicles will be delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.