It could take more than a year for the US Army to deliver M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Thursday, and plans are still being drawn up on how they will be delivered — and when.
“We’re looking at what’s the fastest way we can get the tanks to the Ukrainians,” Wormuth said during a Defense Writers Group event. “It’s not going to be a matter of weeks, I will say that. None of the options that we’re exploring are weeks or two months. There are longer timelines involved. But I think there are options that are less than two years, less than a year and a half. But again we have to look at the pros and cons of each of them.”
“I think it’s still to be determined as to whether tanks could get there by the end of the year,” she said.
Among the options being presented to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are building tanks “from scratch,” Wormuth said. Typically, however, the Army modernizes existing tank variants instead of building them from scratch.
She also said that they are looking at options that would include “countries that we’ve sold tanks to previously,” which could “presumably get tanks to the Ukrainians more quickly but might disrupt relations with important allies.”
More on the tanks timeline: Since the US announced M1 Abrams tanks would be provided to Ukraine alongside other tanks from partner nations, US officials have cautioned that the timeline of getting them there could be substantial.
And it’s not just about the tanks themselves; as Wormuth pointed out on Thursday, it’s also about the support will also include recovery vehicles, ammunition, and the training for Ukrainian troops that comes along with them.