The Defense Department announced today that it will accelerate the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine by several months, now planning for the tanks to arrive sometime this fall.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said the department is able to speed up the delivery because, rather than delivering the M1A2 tank variant as originally planned, DOD will now be providing Ukraine with the M1A1 variant.
“This is about getting this important combat capability into the hands of the Ukrainians,” he said during a Pentagon press conference.
Ryder said the timeline can be compressed because the M1A1s will be built using “excess hulls in our inventory that we will refurbish.”
Though DOD never detailed a specific delivery timeline when it tapped Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds in January to award $400 million to General Dynamics Land Systems to provide 31 M1A2 tanks, Ryder said the department’s initial projection was that it would probably take more than a year.
Ryder declined to say where the work will be performed, though GDLS builds the Abrams at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, OH.
The M1A1 will now provide the Ukrainians a “very similar” capability much sooner than planned, Ryder said.
Ryder said he does not anticipate the new deal will cost “very much beyond” what GDLS was originally awarded.
“This was the approach we landed on and we feel confident we’ll be able to get those tanks to them by the fall,” he said.
Ryder said the expedited delivery to Ukraine is not expected to delay foreign military sales to other nations.