Voice Of America: Pentagon to start M1A1 Abrams tank training for Ukrainian soldiers next week

The US Department of Defence will begin its training programme to teach Ukrainian service members to operate M1A1 Abrams tanks next week, Spokesperson Pat Ryder told Voice of America.

Around 250 Ukrainian military members will arrive in Germany later this week to receive training, a senior US official told the media outlet on the condition of anonymity.

The training programme is expected to take around ten weeks. It will fully cover the tank operation, manoeuvring in a combined-arms battle, and its technical maintenance, VOA was told.

The course will follow the same structure that the US offered to Ukrainian soldiers to learn Bradley and Stryker armoured vehicles that Kyiv received in early 2023.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that “the training, and any eventual transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine is meant to support mid- and long-term defence needs” rather than providing short-term assistance for Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive.

“F-16s for Ukraine is about the long-term commitment to Ukraine,” Ryder said

The department did not share how many F-16s are allocated for Ukraine or any information about the origin or timeline of the supplies. What is known is that the US will join forces with its partners and allies to train Ukrainian pilots to fly these jets.

“That training will take place outside of Ukraine at sites in Europe,” the Pentagon spokesperson noted.

“But in terms of… when that training will begin, how those jets will be provided, who will provide them, we’re continuing to work with our international partners on that front.”

Earlier, the US agreed for Ukrainian pilots to receive training to fly F-16s offered by its allies. According to Ryder, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin received several requests from countries that wanted to start F-16 training for Ukraine at the latest Ukraine defence contact group meeting in April.

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