America’s Abrams tank is present in Bulgaria for what purpose is an issue that is attracting international media attention?
The fact that the Ukrainian armed forces asked the US to provide them with Abrams tanks made the appearance of these tanks on European soil, regardless of location, attracting a lot of media attention.
On October 1, 2022, a convoy of American Abrams M1A2 tanks was discovered on the Bulgarian highway Trakia (part of an international route with the designation E80).
Photos provided by a person following the direction of Sofia showed the convoy of tanks escorted by the Bulgarian military police. The photo only recorded the first 5 tanks of the group, but according to the story, the entire formation was up to 24.
The presence of the Abrams M1A2 tank is common in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian and American armed forces are constantly conducting military training and exercises around the country’s training grounds.
At the beginning of September 2022, the US Army also arrived in Bulgaria with M1A2 Abrams tanks; M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles; helicopters UH-60 Blackhawk, AH-64 Apache, and HH-60; Technical equipment, communication, and repair.
In addition to maintaining permanent US and NATO combat units at the Novo Selo base, joint exercises with the host country will be continuously conducted, bringing together the armies of many other countries, this activity ends only at the end of December.
In addition, it should be recalled that at the end of August 2022, at the Tsrancha training range, the US M1A2 Abrams main battle tank also participated in a joint exercise with a Bulgarian armored brigade.
According to the announcement from the US side, after the end of the exercise, the tanks can be transported out of Bulgaria and sent to another partner country, such as Turkey, Romania, Poland, or a Western country in Europe.
But it should be emphasized, the Russian side is still particularly concerned about the prospect of NATO starting to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine after Moscow announced the annexation of four Ukrainian territories after a “popular referendum idea”.
Currently, NATO countries only provide the Kyiv government with armored personnel carriers, the West has not even agreed to transfer infantry fighting vehicles according to Western standards, but their views are changing. after the recent event.
In the event that NATO approves the supply of “NATO-specific” tanks to the Ukrainian Army, the best candidates according to the assessment are the German Leopard 2A4 and also the US-made M1A2 Abrams.
Compared to the classic T-72s that Ukraine is receiving from Eastern European countries that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact, it is clear that the US M1A2 Abrams is much more powerful, both in terms of offensive and defensive capabilities.
However, in order to exploit Western tanks well, Ukrainian soldiers also need to undergo special training, because NATO tanks do not have an automatic reloading system, so the combat crew will be 4 people instead of 3.
Another problem is to ensure logistics – technology, but Ukraine can completely rely on its NATO allies when they are in charge of maintenance for most of the self-propelled artillery that Kyiv has received.