Home International Russia-Ukraine Conflict: How German Leopard, US M1 Abrams Tanks May Change The War

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: How German Leopard, US M1 Abrams Tanks May Change The War

Kirby admitted that it may not just be about acquiring Abrams tanks that may prove to be significant, and neither how to operate but to maintain them.

by News Desk
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The United States is preparing to arm Ukraine with heavy advanced weaponry this week giving up its reluctance of being seen as a direct party in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The upcoming military package for Ukraine’s military includes 31 M1 Abrams tanks worth $400 million dubbed as “armoured punching force” to enhance its forces’ ability to “manoeuvre in open terrain.” The US says the new weapons will shape Ukrainian victory on the battlefield of Europe’s biggest war since World War II. 

Today, I spoke with my ?? counterpart @oleksiireznikov to discuss today’s commitment of Abrams tanks and Ukraine’s other urgent security assistance needs to help Ukraine ?? repel Russia’s war of aggression. 

President Joe Biden said the heavy tanks’ approval demonstrates America’s “enduring commitment” to Ukraine. Promising a major shift in the outcome of the war, Biden declared that the US-manufactured M1 tanks flaunt the “enduring capability to deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long term”. While Biden acknowledged that M1 Abrams tanks will “take time” to be delivered, and White House spokesperson John Kirby agreed that it is, indeed, a “pretty hefty supply chain” that requires intense training.

Kirby admitted in an interview that it may not just be about acquiring the Abrams tanks that may prove to be significant on the ground, and neither it is about just how to operate the Abrams… “it’s how to maintain them, and it’s how to have an organic supply chain process or logistical sustainment process so that you can keep them maintained and in the fight over the long haul,” Kirby noted. 


US officials, for months, had balked at supplying tanks to Ukraine, arguing that the 70-ton M1 Abrams is “too complex,” and extremely difficult to maintain and repair. That decision saw a reversal as it led to a trans-Atlantic nod to supplying other advanced weaponry. Shortly after the US’ tank decision turnaround, Berlin declared it will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. NATO members announced additional 200 Senator armoured personnel carriers, and 19 French-produced Caesar howitzers weapon systems.

Ukraine has maintained that to ensure a faster victory, the West must send F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles the US has long refused. Biden has pledged that NATO is “fully, totally and completely united” and that Germany “didn’t force me to change our mind.” 

‘Battle titans’: Logistical challenges, Russian weaponry, hundreds of gallons of fuel

Pro-Kremlin channels on Wednesday argued that approximately 80 US M1 Abrams were completely destroyed by insurgents during the Iraq war. An estimated 17 M1 Abrams tanks attacked with improvised IEDs, were damaged beyond repair. Only 63 could be overhauled. Ukraine’s forces might face nightmares with respect to the technology and expertise needed to restore tanks targetted during the ground offensive. 

Russia’s military is flaunting the Kornet-E Anti-Tank Missile in its arsenal and the most robust anti-tank rocket launcher ever devised since 1961, the RPG-7, Russian Ruchnoy Protivotankovvy Granatomyot or hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher that can destroy the M1 Abrams or the German-made Leopard tanks. Russia’s RPG-7 which can apparently knock out tanks, destroy armoured vehicles, and buildings, attack infantry, and fortifications, and shoot down a low-flying helicopter is the improved version of the RPG-2 that competed with World War II German Panzerfaust and US Bazooka. The launcher has been vastly used from Vietnam to the Gulf War.

Developed by the former Soviet army, the Kornet-E anti-tank missile system [ATGM] can be used by Russia to destroy the “queen of the battlefield” Abrams by exploding its own explosive armour. The anti-tank version of Kornet-E can penetrate up to 3.9 feet of armour and can be launched from 5.03 km. Its laser-guided system can make it a challenge for the Ukrainian crew to counteract. It can also carry thermobaric or incendiary bombs. 

M1 Abrams tanks turbine gets clogged due to terrain abound in snow or mud that gets sucked into the machine from the rear vents, disrupting its function. These tanks will create fuel demands that will turn out to be a “logistical nightmare for Ukrainian forces,” an ex-Army lieutenant who served as an Abrams tank platoon leader at Fort Stewart told Pbs. The Abrams tanks get stuck, he warned, adding that its jet engine needs hundreds of gallons of fuel to operate.

Abrams burn fuel at a rate of at least two gallons per mile (4.7 liters per kilometer), even when the tank is idle, this implies that the convoy of fuel trucks needs to keep moving. While M1 Abrams can roar through on rugged terrains, fuel trucks cannot. It also poses an important question of how Ukraine’s forces plan to meet the tanks’ fuel requirement. Although, the German-made Leopards can be a better fit for Ukraine’s military as they can be more easily and quickly trained. Leopards will also arrive faster as compared to Abrams. 

“Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment,” warned US undersecretary of defense for policy, Colin Kahl, said speaking at a Pentagon presser. “It’s hard to train on. It is not the easiest system to maintain. It may or may not be the right system,” he maintained.

The US no longer buys or makes new Abrams, but uses older ones,” Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition told Pbs. They are called “seed vehicles” and the US refurbishes them, he added. This depicts the challenges Amy arise with the supply chain for spare parts. 

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