Senator Collins Underscores Critical Need to Support Ukraine, Calls for Accelerated Delivery of Abrams Tanks


Washington, D.C. At a hearing to review the fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Department of Defense, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, called on the Administration to provide Ukraine with swift support.  In addition, Senator Collins questioned Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.


During her opening remarks, Senator Collins said:


One final point on Ukraine, about which I shared the Chairman's commitment.  It is critical that the Administration provide Ukraine with what it needs in time to defend and take back its sovereign territory.  We expect the Administration not to wait until the 11th hour if the Ukrainians need more before the end of the fiscal year.


Senator Collins continued during Q&A:


In January, the Department [of Defense] announced that 31 Abrams tanks would be delivered to Ukraine.  The latest information I have is that that will not occur until this fall.  Is that accurate?   Could you update us on what the current delivery schedule is and whether there's any way to accelerate the delivery of these tanks to Ukraine?


Secretary Austin:


We are doing everything possible to accelerate the delivery of these tanks, and early fall is a projection.  In the meantime, we've moved a number of tanks over into theater so that the Ukrainians can begin training on this capability.  And by the time they complete that training, the tanks will be available for them to use.  We're putting in the infrastructure to be able to sustain and support this capability as well.  As you know, this is a different capability, turbine engine, and a number of pretty sophisticated systems.  But we're moving as fast as possible to get the capability in the hands of the Ukrainians, and I will certainly have that available by early fall.




As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins is pressing forward with Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) to hold subcommittee hearings on the President’s budget request.  These hearings provide an important opportunity to assess our country’s needs for the coming year and will help guide Senators Collins and Murray’s efforts to write the annual government funding bills.