TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. decision to arm Ukraine with 31 Abrams tanks has been hailed as a decisive act of support, but it complicates the timeline of production for Taiwan as its orders have not been completed yet, Politico reported.
The tanks Washington plans to send to Kyiv are the M1A2 variant, which is the same type Taiwan ordered and bought in 2019.
The tanks are only assembled at a General Dynamics plant in Lima, Ohio, which produces 12 tanks per month. The production line is full of new tank orders for Taiwan and Poland, which would be difficult and controversial to be placed on the backburner, Politico said.
Taiwan ordered 108 M1A2 tanks in 2019, and the first two were handed over in June to Taiwan Army officers in the U.S. where they learned to drive, fire, and maintain the vehicles. After training, they returned to Taiwan as instructors, the Liberty Times reported.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, 38 tanks will be delivered in 2024, 42 in 2025, and 28 in 2026. Army Command said the M1A2T tanks will have better maneuverability, be able to keep up with rapid developments on the battlefield, improve the Army’s overall combat capability, and improve joint combat effectiveness and firepower.
The tanks have improved survivability, an automotive power pack, computer systems, night vision capabilities, and a 120mm smoothbore M256 cannon that can fire a wide range of ammunition.