Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense is preparing to train personnel and set up training facilities for the 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks to be received in four batches from the U.S. from 2023 to 2026, the sale having been approved in July 2019 for a budget of US$ 1.34 billion according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).
The Taiwanese Army began preparing early this year for the eventual arrival of the tanks, including training instructors, setting up training grounds and bunkers, and purchasing simulators.
The preparations are reportedly being made with the help of U.S. experts, who visited Taiwan last February. Taiwan purchased the 108 M1A2T tanks to modernize its current fleet of 1,000 battle tanks, mostly M60A3 and CM-11 models that have been in service for more than two decades.
The M1A2T is a customized model of the M1A2 SEPv2, specifically for Taiwanese Army requirements. The M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package) version of the Abrams tank features a new-production turret with a series of enhancements for enhanced survivability.
On top of U.S.-made simulators bought with the tanks, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), Taiwan’s state-owned institution in charge of developing indigenous weapon systems, will also develop Taiwan’s own simulators and install other training facilities at military camps where the tanks will be deployed.
The most recent budget submitted by the ministry showed that it plans to order 18 of the new tanks in 2022, 18 in 2023, 28 in 2024, 30 in 2025 and the remaining 14 in 2026. The M1A2T tanks will reportedly be assigned to the 6th Army Corps, which is responsible for the security of northern Taiwan, where most central government agencies are located, the MND said.
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