The U.S. State Department has given its approval for a possible Foreign Military Sale to Romania, involving M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and related equipment, with the proposed sale valued at approximately $2.53 billion.

This follows the formal notification to Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Romania’s request, as detailed in the press release, includes “fifty-four (54) M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks; fifty-four (54) M1A1 Structures; four (4) M88A2 HERCULES Combat Recovery Vehicles; and other equipment.”

The list extends to include various types of vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and support services.

The State Department’s press release emphasises the significance of this sale for U.S. foreign policy: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO Ally which is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe.”

Regarding the impact on Romania’s defence capabilities, the release states, “The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries and participating in NATO operations.”

It also assures that “Romania will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768565)
6 months ago

Not cheap at £35m per vehicle, unless the ‘other equipment’ was very expensive. I wonder what other tanks the Romanians looked at? I would have thought a late mark Leo2 would have been cheaper, and would have a lower maintenance and logistic burden.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_768590)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Eye wateringly so! I replied to a tweet on @Nic Drummond’s account where he was advocating gifting all our C2/3s to the Ukraine and us buying new L2A8s. I had just read about Germany purchasing some of these to replace gifted L2s, their cost worked out to be approx Euro 29 mill per unit. So for us to buy 148 replacements came in at around £3.5 billion. Not cheap I said, yes but it includes a whole host of spares and trg – apparently! Either way, going new is expensive these days, not entirely sure the large increase in costs… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_768592)
6 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Interesting, the comment that Romania will have no problem integrating these tanks when it was so often stated that Ukraine would not be able to do so as an excuse for not supplying them. I would suspect Romania would need much allied, particularly US support, to operate them esp in a conflict.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_768596)
6 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Yes. A somewhat odd choice if they are going down the route of up grading their tank force. Realistically the only choices are this or the Leo2 in some form, but would have thought that Leo2 offers more choice at reduced costs when compared to Abrams, as @GM posted above!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768612)
6 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Some people have little sense of political and financial reality! We are spending about £800mill on the 148 CR3s. RBSL have not yet produced a single prototype, let along 148 production CR3s – the first off the line will be in about 2027 and the last off the line will be built in 2030 – all too late for Ukraine. Anyway even if HMG did gift all the CR2s and CR3s, a very brave Defence Sec (and thats not Yes-man Grant Schapps) would have to go to HMT to ask for even more dosh to buy the L2A8s which I… Read more »

Tom
Tom (@guest_768633)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi… The Ajax ‘adventure’ seems to be all systems go (for now anyway). Would it be possible/feasible to keep what challenger’s we have, and aim to replace them with either a newly designed British tank, or simply buy the newest, or best rated ‘off the shelf’?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_768670)
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Videos of the Factory and the rather stilted Army officer drooling over his new toy. Anyone would think MOD were trying to rewrite History just when the legal bills get near £1million.

Cynic or Realist ?🥴

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768678)
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Hi Tom, I am now prepared to back Ajax as a Project and as a Product. Challenger – MoD of course is under contract (signed May 2021) with RBSL for the supply of 148 CR2s to a set standard and for RBSL to upgrade them to the CR3 build standard for £800m. The remaining CR2s will be gifted, sold or scrapped. I don’t see that anything would change this plan. I had hoped and expected that the Integrated Review Refresh 2023 (set up due to react to the Russo-Ukraine war) and the associated Defence Command Paper would revise upwards the… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_768888)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

All sensible stuff, although from what or can see of the German order for the A8 they are coming in at 25million a tank not 19.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769084)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

That even more staggering. Might include spares packs, publications, simulators, training aids, ammunition etc.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_768666)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Army is paying the price for all those years wasted in Afghanistan when the concept of heavy armoured warfare and the associated equipment was forgotten about😡They are now trying to play catch up!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768701)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

That’s possible. The ‘A’ veh project I was working on at Abbey Wood, AVST, was cut in 2010, albeit it that is was an equipment support project not a capability project.

It should not have been the case as just one brigade-equivalent was deployed in Afghan, only a smallish percentage of the field army.
The rest of the army was still ‘being mainstream’, which indcluded ‘heavy metal’ activities. We still had an armoured division in Germany, we had an armoured or mechanised brigade in Iraq from 2003 to 2009, and were conducting Med Man exercises in Canada etc.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_768668)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham and Deep. I am actually not surprised that Romania is buying the US M1 rather than other options. I am pretty sure the US will bend over backwards to ensure that they can absorb and use them, as it’s 100% in the US own interests to do so. There are just 3 users of M1 in continental Europe, the US Army Poland and now Romania. Poland has Leopards and ordered more plus Korean K2 and US Abrams, but they want mass and quickly. Folks forget that Poland and Romania are in a unique position regarding their relationship with… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768740)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Thanks mate, I had not realised about the AEGIS factor. You are right about Poland – they don’t mind the complexities of a mixed fleet – they just want lots of armour, quickly, as you say.

[The sale of M1 to Australia was very political too].

Michal
Michal (@guest_768756)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We in Poland have given about 360+ tanks to Ukraine, that’s about 1/3 of our prewar armour strength. 250 M1 SepV3 have been ordered in summer 2021, I suppose there were already some worrying signs what may happen, but main reason we are buying tanks from the US is speed of delivery, M1 SepV3 will be in Poland in 2025-2026, ex Marines M1 FEP are already being delivered. Germans do not have that kind of capability, Norway will wait for one Leo2 battalion till 2027-2028 and Poland needs about 1300-1500 modern tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768870)
6 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Thanks. Your last line must have made some of us gasp ‘Poland needs about 1300-1500 modern tanks’.
I wish Germany had such a view, and perhaps France and Italy.
Regrettably we (UK) will not be able to contribute many tanks to the European Theatre if WW3 breaks out.

Michal
Michal (@guest_768875)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I hope our European allies will reconsider the importance of having higher numbers of tanks in their armies, this is still the most universal land combat platform. Unfortunately even if it happens that would take many years before production speeds up, Germany for example makes only 2 vehicles per month atm, that’s shockingly low. So for that reason we have had no other choice than to make a deal with The US and Korea and also we must be able to produce and service tanks in the country in near future.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769083)
6 months ago
Reply to  Michal

Some on these pages have suggested a future Poland-UK tank development programme,

Michal
Michal (@guest_769089)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m generally big supporter of intense and wide military collaboration between The UK and Poland on every field, including arms development, as beneficial for both countries. Many others in Poland have the same opinion.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_768791)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I have to agree with you, can’t see us basically throwing away some £800 million and getting another £3.5 billion for the same number of tanks. @ND line throughput has been consistent in buying new Leo2’s though whether right or wrong. Although, such a suggestion might have merit if we were trying to get our tank numbers back up to 300+ units, as we don’t realistically have enough C2 to convert to that number. As we aren’t, then somewhat irrelevant? I think that the HMG/MOD/ARMY should have sat down after the last IDR and thrashed out exactly what direction they… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768917)
6 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Good points. We will never get back to 386/300 tanks. In the army once cuts are made, cuts stay, unless WW3 beckons, but there would probably not be time to rearm (expand). A prudent government in 1935 set about rearming – we don’t have prudent geovernments now and probably would not have 4 years grace time to rearm before major peer-peer conflict. I was very disappointed with IR23 Refresh and the related Defence Command Paper – both were supposed to have learned lessons from 2 years of the Russo-Ukraine war, and most expected a Defence uplift, especially for the army… Read more »

pete
pete (@guest_768689)
6 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Drummond is a consultant for KMW who make the Leopard 2 hulls , think he would get a nice bonus if he influenced the buying of L2 A8’s lol

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_768702)
6 months ago
Reply to  pete

Hi Pete, yes I am aware that he is, but to be fair to him, he did mention that KNDS asked him to say as much, and that he was in agreement in his tweet. So yes, probably a v big Xmas bonus!

Steve R
Steve R (@guest_768810)
6 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

How much are the C3 upgrades going to cost?

I have a feeling that it’ll end up being cheaper for us to buy all-new Leopard 2A8s than it will to upgrade 148 Chally 3s by the time it’s completed.

Especially as brand new tanks could last us 20+ years, whereas C3 is little more than a stopgap, with no plans for real replacement.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_768603)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

GM,

Assistance requested in decoding article’s text: “Romania’s request…includes fifty-four (54) M1A1 structures…” Should this be interpreted as each MBT has an associated modular/mobile maintenance shelter/facility?!? Something lost in transmission…🤔

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768614)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I think something has been lost in translation. I am baffled. They are buying 54 M1A2SEPv3 tanks…and 54 M1A1 structures.

The sructures are associated with an earlier mark tank (the A1) than the A2 – so could ‘structures’ mean stripped out A1s – what would be the point of that? other than as a source of used compatible spares.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_768618)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The M1 Tanks sold for export go through a Re-manufacturing process, so the Customer chooses the spec, but the Tank starts with the basic Structure.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_768651)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Believe the semicolon denotes a separate category and quantity; however, Uncle Sugar”s press release is certainly a masterpiece of bureaucratic ambiguity. 🤔😁

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_768653)
6 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

…Uncle Sugar’s (aka US State Dept )…😉

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768675)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

OK, so Romania are buying 54 M1A2SEPv3 and 54 M1A1 ie 108 tanks?

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_768724)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

My take on it is they are buying 54 M1A1 Tanks from storage to re-manufacture into 54 M1A2SEPv3 Tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768743)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Paul, that could be it. Thanks.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_768650)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Certainly is a more rational interpretation than mine. 😊👍

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_768672)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Just a thought but could it be a word is missing ? “54 M1A1 support structures” perhaps. Not an Army bod but just thinking OOTB !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768741)
6 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Maybe. But what is a ‘support structure’ and why would you want an M1A1 support structure when you have bought M1A2s?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_768613)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Possibly more important to Romania to keep within Uncle Sam’s sphere of influence Graham.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_768615)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m pretty sure that Romania did look at the K2 MBT too. they may want to operate a mixed fleet like Poland.

Michal
Michal (@guest_768659)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

2.53 billion is top amount, final price will be considerably lower.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_768887)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Shows what a serious bargain challenger 3 really is and why it’s a sensible option all round.

The Romanian
The Romanian (@guest_798292)
3 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The deal is 1.1 billion not 2,5, the Romanian national defense just clarify the situation. Will be 1 battalion of Abrams for the flat relief and another 4 battalions of K2 panther for the hills and mountain units because Abrams is to heavy. Will not be any problem with the maintenance, general dynamics is already present in Romania where they build 8×8 armoured vehicle piranha 5 on Automecanica Bucharest.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_798957)
3 months ago
Reply to  The Romanian

Many thanks for the info. Its not great news operating 2 different tank fleets. Thought it would be better for all tank units to have K2 Panther.

Martin
Martin (@guest_768575)
6 months ago

Abrams, fuel hungry etc and I guess coming to the end of its life, no more updates/mods. Leo 2A8+ would be better but unlikely it can be built this side of 2025 or later.
C3 is best tank by far, but limited in numbers.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_768609)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Romania still have Ploesti.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768617)
6 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

A battalion of Abrams will soon drain it dry!

Martin
Martin (@guest_768655)
6 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

I have no idea what that is

Michal
Michal (@guest_768661)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Ploesti is large oil field and refineries

Martin
Martin (@guest_768662)
6 months ago
Reply to  Michal

They can afford Abrams then

Michal
Michal (@guest_768664)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

They are buying just 1 battalion so it shouldn’t be too expensive

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_769207)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin
Paul T
Paul T (@guest_768629)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

The M1 has plenty of life in it – plenty of upgrades have been done over the years, and it will likely get a conventional Diesel Engine in the near future.

Martin
Martin (@guest_768658)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

i thought the USA stopped the latest up grade to M1A2 something SEP4, might be wrong but i know funding for it was on hold

Big O
Big O (@guest_768710)
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

The Army will end the M1A2 System Enhancement Package version 4 program and develop the M1E3 Abrams instead, according to the Sept. 6 2023 announcement.

The M1E3 will focus on challenges the tank is likely to face on the battlefield of 2040 and beyond.

Martin
Martin (@guest_768777)
6 months ago
Reply to  Big O

its a 40 year old idea, too fuel hungry, yes it will be up graded but is a bit long in the tooth. And its mine protection is weak.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_768730)
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Agree Cummins recently secured $87 million for development of its advanced diesel engines for armoured vehicles.
https://www.cummins.com/news/releases/2021/07/30/us-army-awards-cummins-inc-87m-contract-deliver-advanced-combat-engine

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_768640)
6 months ago

Very surprised at this decision Europe usually go for Leo2 ,going to be expensive maintenance etc for the Romania Army .Some very good political talk by the USA to sell this one.

Andrei B
Andrei B (@guest_768649)
6 months ago

For what I’ve read about the Abrams, it’s super-heavy and diesel hungry compared to the Leopards, and given our geography( I’m Romainan) I doubt it’s the wisest of decisions to buy a fleet of massive tanks. Some middle weight, reactive armor tank would be better, and I think if you’d add the price of a Leo + reactive armor you’d get somewhat next to the Abrams. I don’t have extended knowledge in the matter, so I could be wrong

Michal
Michal (@guest_768652)
6 months ago

Germans have very limited production capability for Leopard 2, Romania would have to wait until year 2030 for delivery if they are lucky. I’m from Poland and we have reasonably large fleet of Leopards that we are trying to upgrade to Leopard 2PL version but we meet problems with spare parts from Germany, also there is political side to this issue.
There will be Abrams workshop in Poland soon, capable to service all M1s in Europe plus Abrams Academy is already operating. Romania choice of M1 instead of L2 is understandable.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_768676)
6 months ago

Yet another consequence of Putin’s ill judged war on Ukraine- NATO’s Eastern members all rearming. In conventional warfare, Russia is becoming increasingly overmatched.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_768680)
6 months ago

The Eastern European theatre seems to have taken on a new urgency over the last 12 months or so, I wonder why! So many weak and short term minded western politicians were taken in by this “peace dividend” aka a nice opportunity to reduce defence spending and throw it away on benefits and the NHS to buy votes! Alas shit rolls down hill and they realise they were wrong, and while never admitting it, try to desperately speed up the shite procurement they have put in place! Thank fuck for the USA, and for all its faults, they provide the… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_768685)
6 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Western politicians have it to good big pay packet big homes maybe etc , I think it’s a case of just seeing whats in front them and not able to look beyond 👀sadly 👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768843)
6 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Totally agree. I am embarrassed that Europe with four wealthy G7 nations, two nuclear weapons states, 29 NATO nations – cannot defend itself against a bunch of Orcs with a ‘less than stellar’ army – but that seems to be the case.
God bless the USA!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_768721)
6 months ago

Just like Poland I guess- they will deploy the Abrams along the primary threat axis. Stand their ground.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_768731)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The M1A2 is a thoroughly decent heavy defensive tank

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768925)
6 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Defensive tank? I always think that a strange term for an intrinsically offensive weapon system.
The acceleration and high top speed available due to its GT engine make it a hard-charging offensive tank. It would be wasted in a defensive role.

Bb
Bb (@guest_768854)
6 months ago

Romania already produces it’s own tanks recently modernized in Romarm factory in Bucharest. I think they need a longer range defensive tank. In bank battle the strike distance matter.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_768886)
6 months ago

It does show that our 148 challenger threes for £800 million is pretty cheap with the cost of the Abrahams SEPv3 at £35 million and and the latest leopard order ( A8) at just over 25million per tank…So getting a latest generation challenger a just over £5 million a pop is 5-6 times cheaper than buy a new tank…for the cost. I honestly don’t know why they are not converting the entire 210ish hulls to challenger 3…even with the plan for only two type 56 regiments ( 112 tanks in the regiment) …say 15-20 in the maintenance pool, say a… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768919)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Some great points. Of course those 148 CR3s will not all be in the Field Force as you know, so won’t all be sailing on Point class ships to WW3. Just 112 will be sailing (at most) with an Attrition Reserve sailing in a follow-up crossing. The Attrition Reserve will not be 36 tanks. Those 36 are spread between the Trg Org (RAC and REME), Repair Pool and Attrition Reserve – so there might be just a squadron of 14 tanks in the Attrition Reserve, or thereabouts, maybe 20 at most? In combat, 30% losses renders a unit combat ineffective… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_768923)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham indeed I had not even considered what would happen if we entered a peer war. As you say we could use up the entire attrition reserve in one bad day…if you were equipped with Abrahams or leopards you could just about justify such a tight reserve on the assumption that you could in extremis borrow or buy a few used tanks from allies for immediate need and then order a new batch for long term rebuilding of the reserve..but what makes it so very very foolish of the MOD/army is that there will be no way for them… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769087)
6 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

A peer-peer war is more likely now than at any time since WW2. During the Cold War we thought about and planned for a peer war of course.
I wonder how the figure of 148 was chosen – it allows for very little Attrition Reserve as we have said…and two armoured regiments for an armoured division is very tight – I doubt any other nation has such a small number of tanks for a division.

Chris
Chris (@guest_769238)
6 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

IF we are being honest ,the UK is an island nation. It is unlikely the Russians will be storming the beaches of Brighton to kick off WW3. Any tank action will be to supplant the defense of an ally or offensive operations.

Chris
Chris (@guest_769239)
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris

More importantly, the UK is the only country in Europe (besides the USA) than can air lift a main battle tank of any kind (C-17). That’s rather concerning.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769277)
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Hi Chris, it doesn’t concern me. Moving MBTs by air isn’t really ‘an act of war’, as we used to say. We have 8 x C-17s. Say you want to move just a tank-centric BG. If say 5 C-17s were servicable and committed to a deployed operation, it would take 11 return flights of that available aircraft fleet to move one regiment of tanks. Then you would have to move the 8 Ajax in the recce troop, then the LAD’s armoured vehicles, then all the Regiment’s B vehs. Then you would have to move the Infantry’s armour (say 2 companies),… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769266)
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris

We invented the tank solely for expeditionary operations on the continent alongside allies and not to defend Brighton beach. The defence of the UK homeland, contrary to Government waffle/mantra, is not as high a priority (except for the RAF perhaps) as contributing strong and effective naval, ground and air forces to NATO for the collective defence of the Euro-Atlantic area. A warfighting division is a very modest Land forces contribution for a country of our population and wealth and relative defence spend. Two regiments of tanks is a modest component of that division. If we had 1-2 tank regiments per… Read more »