Land vehicles

'Guzzling' US Abrams tanks will need separate supply chain on Ukraine's frontline, expert says

Watch: What are the challenges the US M1 Abrams could face in Ukraine?

The US is set to deliver 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, joining Germany and the UK in sending tanks to support Ukraine as it continues its fight against Russia.

However, a military expert has told Forces News that the US tank will cause a logistics challenge as it will need a separate logistic chain on Ukraine's frontline.

US Army (retired) Colonel Michael Linick, a senior defence researcher and analyst at the think tank RAND Corporation, says the Abrams tank is "a bit of a gas guzzler".

Mr Linick acknowledged the fact that "all main battle tanks are a bit of a gas guzzler" however, he added that the US tank, which is powered by jet fuel, "is probably first in class at that".

Watch: 'Guzzling' US Abrams tanks will need separate supply chain in Ukraine, expert says.

He said: "The Challenger and the Leopard can probably use essentially the same fuels. They're both sort of diesel engine-based tanks."

This would make the Abrams less suitable than the German-made Leopard 2 and the UK's Challenger 2 tanks due to its high fuel consumption and maintenance needs.

The retired colonel added that it will essentially create "a logistics challenge to manage".

"Adding Abrams to the mix just creates a requirement for a whole separate kind of fuel logistics line that if you had a pure Challenger-Leopard sort of fleet, you wouldn't have."

Watch: Why has Ukraine pushed for German Leopard 2 tanks over US Abrams?

Mr Linick also believes that the fuel required by the respective battle tanks from the UK and Germany "is compatible with what the Ukrainians are using for their Soviet-era tanks, too".


In terms of vulnerabilities for the Abrams, he said "it's going to have the same vulnerabilities that any main battle tank has".

"Relatively comparable [to the Challenger 2 and Leopard 2] in armour. They each have emphasised armour in different locations. They're all going to be susceptible to flank and rear shots from high-quality anti-tank weapons systems.

"If you get close enough to a big enough tank, you know, there's always that chance for penetration.

"And I think that, in this particular conflict, some of the biggest challenges for these tanks are going to come from being degraded or, possibly, destroyed by artillery fire.

"And the destruction of a tank from a precision-guided artillery munition is much more likely than from a non-precision-guided one," he added.

He also highlighted that the possible biggest issue, in his understanding, is from "depleted uranium" and "if it's penetrated, if the tank is damaged, then you've created some sort of a hazard".

The US military uses depleted uranium (DU) for tank armour and some bullets due to its high density, helping it to penetrate enemy armoured vehicles.

He added: "I don't know how great of a hazard that is, but I'm aware that there is some hazard associated with that."

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