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US Offers Obsolete M1A2 Abrams Tanks to Balkan Nations: Strengthening Defense Capabilities in the Region

US Plans to Sell Upgraded Obsolete Abrams M1A2 Tanks to Balkan Region

The United States intends to offer refurbished Abrams M1A2 tanks, which are considered outdated but have undergone refurbishment, to countries in the Balkan region. This sale aims to create space for more modern tank models like the SEPv3, SEPv4, and the Abrams X, while phasing out older military equipment.

Romania Shows Interest as Potential Buyer

Romania has expressed keen interest in procuring US tanks, particularly the Abrams M1A2 series. It is estimated that Romania may purchase a minimum of 54 units of these tanks. However, the approval process still requires the endorsement of legislators in both the US Congress and the Romanian Parliament.

Reports from Romanian media indicate that the tanks will be second-hand and previously used by the US military. Although the M1A2 variant is an upgraded version of the basic 1990s model, Romania plans to further modernize these tanks.

Specific details regarding the upgrades sought by Romania have not been disclosed, but it is worth noting that the M1A2 features a second-generation thermal gunner’s sight and armor components with depleted uranium, classified as a “national security secret.” The United States has never exported this type of armor to any country, including its close allies like Britain. It will be interesting to observe if Washington permits the export of Romanian tanks equipped with such armor.

Abundance of Tanks for Sale

The US Army currently possesses over 8,000 M1A1 and M1A2 tanks in its inventory. The proposed sale of 31 tanks to Ukraine and the suggested 54 tanks to Romania represent only a small portion of the available units. Some sources indicate that there are at least an additional 1,500 M1A2 tanks in stock.

Romania’s Tank History, Influenced by the Soviet Era

Historically, Romania has primarily operated Soviet-era tanks such as the TR-85-800 and the TR-85M1 Bizonul, which have undergone modernization to meet NATO standards and form the backbone of the Romanian tank divisions, totaling around 300 units. Additionally, the Romanian army possesses Soviet T-55 tanks, estimated to be around 120 units.

In Summary

The United States plans to sell refurbished but outdated Abrams M1A2 tanks to the Balkan region, with Romania expressing interest as a potential buyer. Romania may acquire at least 54 units of these tanks, pending final approval from the US Congress and the Romanian Parliament.

The M1A2 tanks offer advanced features, including second-generation thermal sights and depleted uranium armor. However, it remains to be seen whether the export of such armor will be permitted by the US government. With a significant inventory of M1A1 and M1A2 tanks, the United States has a substantial supply of armored vehicles available for sale in the coming years.

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