America to send older, but refurbished Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Tank Abrams EPA-EFE / Jerry Lampen

The Pentagon is speeding up the delivery of Abrams tanks to Ukraine, deciding to send a refurbished older model that can be ready more quickly, with the goal of bringing the 70-ton combat vehicles to the war zone in eight to 10 months, US officials said, Fox reports. News.

The original plan was to send Ukraine 31 of the newer M1A2 Abrams, which would likely take one to two years to build and deliver. But officials said the decision was made to send the older M1A1 version, which could be taken from the Army's stockpile and could be there before the end of the year. Officials say the M1A1 will also be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain as they fight a Russian invasion.

Officials made today's statement on condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been made public. Pentagon officials are expected to make the announcement today or tomorrow, Fox reports.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on a faster timeline, as the US Department of Defense had not previously set any specific date for their delivery to Ukraine, only saying it would take "months".

"We are working on it." There are some changes that can be made to the process to speed it up," White House spokesman John Kirby told CNN today.

The Abrams tank entered service in 1980 and was used in the Gulf War, as well as the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.

In January, the US announced it would send 31 M1 Abrams tanks worth $400 million to Ukraine over the next few months.

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