The United States "has not yet begun" to train Ukrainian troops on how to use the Abrams tank, according to a senior Defense Department official.
"We're still working on the equipment procurement so we have not yet begun the training, but I would expect that that will happen relatively soon," the official told reporters today during a background briefing.
DOD announced late last month that it would 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 March 21 that the department was 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.
Ryder said last month that the timeline could be compressed because the M1A1s will be built using "excess hulls in our inventory that we will refurbish."
The U.S. has trained more than 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of Russia's invasion last year, the senior defense official said today. Of those, more than 4,000 have been trained to use Bradley and Stryker combat vehicles at the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, the official added.