The Department of Defense has announced the arrival of 31 M1 Abrams training main battle tanks in Grafenwoehr, Germany, as part of preparations for the US-led training of Ukrainian main battle tank crews and maintainers before the tanks are released. Be sent to the front lines to arm Ukrainian forces against Russian aggression.
The Ukrainian aircrews are expected to arrive in Germany and begin training in the coming weeks, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said during a briefing today.
“As we have previously discussed, this extensive training program for Ukrainian aircrews and maintainers is aimed at preparing them for their future critical roles in effectively operating the M1 tank and defending the Ukrainian people,” Ryder said.
In January, the United States announced it would deliver the tanks armed with advanced armor and weaponry. Initially, the United States planned to purchase new M1A2 Abrams tanks for shipment to Ukraine, using funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
However, the Department of Defense decided in March to refit existing M1A1 Abrams tanks already in the US inventory to shorten lead times. RYDER SAID the M1A1 variant would have “very similar capability” to the M1A2 in March.
The United States is on track to deliver those 31 combat-ready tanks to Ukraine in the fall and will train crews in training runs concurrently with the refit process in preparation for delivery.
According to Ryder, the training will prepare the crews to handle the tanks in combat and the maintenance personnel to keep them operational.
“Without a doubt, a key aspect of the training will be the maintenance and retention of that capacity,” he said. “You have already heard from us that the M1 is a complex machine that requires a lot of maintenance to keep it operational. So that’s going to be crucial, and that’s why we’re doing the training at the same time as refitting the tanks.”
The M1 Abrams training adds to a broader US-led effort to help Ukraine defend against invading Russian forces.
Approximately 500 Ukrainian soldiers are currently undergoing combined arms training at Germany’s Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas. This training includes shooting instruction, medical assistance, and other basic soldier tasks.
Approximately 10,700 Ukrainian soldiers have completed training and returned to the front lines, including 6,100 who have completed small arms training, 4,000 who have completed platform-specific training and 600 who have completed staff training.
The United States has also continued to support the Ukrainian forces by providing them with weapons packages crucial to the defense of their homeland. Last week, the United States announced its latest $1.2 billion package as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to bolster Ukraine’s air defense and artillery needs.
That package includes more 155mm artillery shells, additional air defense systems, and equipment to integrate Western air defense platforms.
US Department of Defense