Kiev’s forces will inevitably lose some of their Abrams M1s once they’re deployed on the battlefield, the outlet acknowledged
It’s “not clear” what Ukraine is doing with US-made Abrams M1 main battle tanks that had been provided to Kiev by Washington amid the conflict with Russia, Forbes has reported.
The US promised to supply Ukraine with 31 M1 tanks in January 2022 as the country prepared for its summer counteroffensive, which eventually started in early June. However, Kiev only received the American armor in October when it became clear that its attempts to advance failed to deliver the desired results.
Throughout the summer, the Ukrainians mainly relied on German-made Leopard 2 tanks and US-supplied Bradley fighting vehicles, several of which have been destroyed or captured by the Russian military. British Challenger 2 tanks have been used on a limited scale, with London officially confirming the loss of one such vehicle.
“It’s been two months since ex-American M-1s tanks arrived in Ukraine. And two months since we’ve seen any evidence of the tanks,” Forbes wrote in an article on Wednesday.
What Ukrainian brigade would operate the US-supplied armor also “remains a mystery,” the outlet wrote. However, “rational planners” might assign the M1s to the 47th Mechanized Brigade, which is currently trying to hold off Russian forces in the strategic village of Avdeevka in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic and is already armed with Leopard 2s.
Forbes suggested that Abrams tanks haven’t been seen in combat yet because the Ukrainians are busy “up-armoring them to resist attacks by Russia’s explosive-laden first-person-view drones.” Both sides have been equipping their armor with cages, slats, and reactive armor to protect it from the UAVs, which, according to the outlet, “now rival mines as the biggest threats to tanks on both sides.”
“It’s all but inevitable that Ukraine will lose some of its four-person, 68-ton M-1s,” Forbes acknowledged. It added that the US armor might be “some of the best-protected tanks in the world, but they’re not invulnerable to attack,” with their top and sides being the weak points.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons to Kiev by the US and its allies will not prevent it from achieving the goals of its military operation in Ukraine but only increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have stressed that any Western-supplied hardware will be destroyed, no matter the type.
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