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HomeIndustryTaiwan to receive first M1A2T Abrams tanks by June end

Taiwan to receive first M1A2T Abrams tanks by June end

Taiwan is all set to receive its first two M1 Abrams main battle tanks from the US by June end, according to new reports. This procurement is seen as one of the major decisions to bolster the island’s defense capabilities against a supposed invasion from mainland China.

According to the reports, the tanks will be handed over in the United States, where a Taiwanese delegation is undergoing training to operate these metal behemoths. These tanks are the latest iteration of the venerable M1 Abrams tank family, dubbed M1A2T, which is a customized M1A2 SEPv3, used by the US Army.

Taiwan has ordered 108 M1A2Ts as part of a larger deal that also includes Stinger missiles and associated equipment in 2021. Interestingly, the military is also building bunkers to house the tanks in order to increase their survivability during wartime. Additionally, training grounds will also be modified and upgraded at the Armour Training Command in Hsinchu’s Hukou Township.

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The tanks will provide a major boost to the Taiwanese military, which faces a constant danger of an attack by the PRC. In all likelihood, the ground invasion force from China will be spearheaded by light armour and mechanised formations along with PLA marine infantry battalions, which would need to be countered with armour and various anti-tank missile systems. 

Currently, the Taiwanese military operates old M60A3 and CM11 tanks, whose design and technology date back to the 1940s and 1950s- including their 105mm rifled gun and traditional steel armor plating rather than composite materials used in modern armored fighting vehicles. The older 105-millimeter guns may not be able to readily penetrate the frontal armor of modern People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Type 96 and Type 99 tanks, which can easily penetrate the Patton’s old-fashioned steel armor with their 125-millimeter guns. The M1A2T tank’s 120-millimeter gun is capable of destroying PLA tanks without reliance on anti-tank missiles.

It is expected that the majority of the ROC Army’s armored units would continue to be equipped with legacy tanks in upgraded form after the army acquires the newer modern tanks.

The M1 has been the workhorse of US Army and the Marines, and has proven itself as a battle-hardened armoured platform that has participated in the Gulf War, Invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other engagements in the Middle East since then. The tank has been exported to 6 countries including Australia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Morocco.

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