The State Department has approved a $6 billion foreign military sale of Abrams tanks and other arms to NATO ally Poland, as Russian forces continue to mass outside Ukraine in what U.S. officials say is likely preparation for an invasion.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the arms sale at a press conference today in Warsaw, invoking the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What Mr. Putin did not want is a stronger NATO on his flank,” he said. “That’s exactly what he has today.”
The sale to Poland would cover 250 M1A2SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, according to a congressional notification for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The deal would also include 250 AN/VLQ-12 CREW Duke counter-improvised explosive device systems, 26 M88A2 Hercules combat recovery vehicles; 17 M1110 Joint Assault Bridges, and other associated weaponry.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the DSCA said. “The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries and participating in NATO operations.”
The principal contractors are General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems, Leonardo DRS, Honeywell Aerospace, Raytheon Company, and Lockheed Martin.
The deal follows a U.S. deployment of 5,000 troops and additional aircraft to Poland, part of Washington’s response to the massive Russian military buildup outside Ukraine, where forces have been exchanging fire.