The Taiwanese military will receive its much-awaited M1A2T Abrams main battle tanks from the US beginning next year, President Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed.
During a government budget briefing held earlier this week, the country’s leader announced that the first shipment of 38 Abrams tanks is expected sometime in 2024.
It will be part of a 2019 deal signed between the two countries for the delivery of 108 M1A2Ts with a total value of $2.2 billion.
The second batch of 42 Abrams under order will arrive in 2025, while the final 28 tanks are expected to be delivered in 2026.
In preparation for the arrival of the armored vehicles, an undisclosed number of Taiwanese soldiers had reportedly been selected to undergo training in the US.
These military personnel will then take on the role of instructors and train their comrades on the proper operation and maintenance of the Abrams.
Fortifying Defense Capabilities
Taiwan’s acquisition of Abrams tanks is seen as a strategic move to fortify the country’s defense capabilities amid increasing threats from China.
Beijing has already warned that it will not rule out the use of force to reunite Taipei with the mainland.
The Abrams are expected to support operations along the northern coast, where China would most likely attack first in the event of an invasion.
According to the Taiwanese Army, the US-made tanks are the most suitable for the armed forces due to their improved maneuverability and ability to keep up with rapid developments on the battlefield.
They can also enhance the army’s overall combat capability, including its combat effectiveness and firepower.
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence said it had conducted an assessment between the Abrams tanks and China’s Type 99 main battle tank and concluded that the American vehicles are superior in terms of firepower, mobility, and protection.