US Not Prepared To Provide Abrams To Ukraine | Tank Debate Continues in Europe | Denmark Donates Caesar Howitzers
BAE Systems won a $72 million deal for the manufacture and delivery of five Columbia-class submarine components. Work will be performed in Louisville, Kentucky (100%), and is expected to be completed by May 2030. Fiscal 2023 National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund funds in the full amount will be obligated at time of award, of which none will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Columbia-class program’s goal is to design and build a class of 12 new ballistic missile submarines SSBNs to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 aging Ohio-class SSBNs. The Ohio-class submarines were designed to have a service life of 42 years (two 20-year cycles with a 2-year midlife nuclear refueling period). As the Ohio-class SSBNs were first deployed in 1981, they will start reaching the end of their service between 2027 and 2040, at a rate of about one boat per year. Starting in 2031, the Navy plans to replace each retiring Ohio-class boat with a new Columbia-class SSBN submarine.
The United States is not currently prepared to provide advanced Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday, citing difficulties in maintenance and training. Ukraine has repeatedly pushed for modern Western tanks to help battle Russia’s invasion, and Germany has reportedly linked its decision on whether to do so to Washington’s willingness to provide Abrams.
Middle East & Africa
Morocco’s army said Tuesday it had agreed with Israel to strengthen military cooperation, including in intelligence and cybersecurity, following defense meetings in Rabat. The two countries “agreed to further strengthen cooperation and expand it to other areas, including in intelligence, air defence and electronic warfare,” the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces said in a statement.
The debate on whether to send tanks to Ukraine is still keeping EU countries busy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under increasing international and domestic pressure to supply German-built Leopard 2 tanks or at least approve their delivery by third countries. Poland and Finland have both promised to send their Leopards – but need Germany’s permission to do so. But Berlin is still in talks with the US about its official position. Reports suggest that Mr Scholz will only give the green light to the Leopards if the US President Joe Biden agrees to supply American Abrams tanks. This attitude has prompted Ukranian president Zelenskyy to criticize Germany. Meanwhile, German Rheinmetall group brings the Challenger-1 on the scene, which Rheinmetall could buy from Oman and gear up. The vehicles could be handed over to Ukraine later this year, a person familiar with the proceedings said.
Denmark said Thursday it would donate 19 French-made Caesar howitzers to Ukraine, including some still on order, following a slew of pledges of heavy weapons from Kyiv’s Western allies. “We have been in constant contact with the Ukrainians about the Caesar artillery, and I am pleased that we have now received broad support from parliament to donate it to Ukraine’s freedom struggle,” Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said. Only a handful of Caesar howitzers have so far been delivered to Denmark, and the statement published by the Ministry of Defense noted that the system was still being implemented in the Danish military.
The Australian government has confirmed its purchase of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from the US for $1.9 billion. The sale was first approved by the US State Department in August 2022. According to the department, the new choppers will improve Canberra’s ability to deploy combat power and defend its national interests.
WATCH: How Will Ukrainian Leopard Tanks Perform Against Russia?