The Balkan country of Romania is said to be making plans to acquire a battalion of M1 Abrams tanks from the United States as fears grow over the ongoing escalation of the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine.
In a recent interview with the local military publication Observatorul Militar, the national armaments director of Romania, Major General Teodor Incicas, claimed that the M1 Abrams has been identified as the tank of choice to bolster the combat capabilities of the Romanian armed forces. In the interview, Incicas said the following:
“We are in the process of sending our request for preliminary approval to acquire a battalion of Abrams tanks”
At the moment, it is still unconfirmed as to how many Abrams tanks Romania intends to purchase and which specific model. However, the Romanian press has reported that it could be up to 54 tanks.
If the deal goes through, the M1 Abrams tanks will likely form a much-needed replacement for the current fleet of tanks Romania has, most of which are Soviet-made models dating back to the Cold War.
Romanian Defense Upgrades as Fears Grow over the War in Neighboring Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has rocked notions of stability across Europe as the largest conflict since WW2 exploded in Europe’s second-biggest country.
Central and Eastern European countries, in particular, are increasingly concerned about a wider escalation of the conflict. In Romania, which shares a 400-mile (650 km) border with Ukraine, people are eyeing the ongoing conflict with caution.
Romania has already become a hub of refugees and aid in the conflict. Still, if the war in Ukraine expands to the west of the country, Romania will be directly affected in a new way by the combat.
As a result, Romania is making significant moves to boost its defence. As well as the potential deal to acquire modern Abrams tanks, the country has also invested in a range of new technologies that aim to boost the production of domestic defence products.
The post-communist country of Romania has a solid defence industry dating back to the era of Ceaucescu and during the Kingdom of Romania. The country is most widely-known for the Romanian Kalashnikov variant, the story of which you can read about here.
Romania isn’t the first European country in the firing line of a wider escalation of the war in Ukraine to purchase the Abrams tank. Nearby Poland has already sealed a deal with the U.S. to acquire 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks direct from General Dynamics in a contract worth $4.75 billion.
Inside the Abrams Tanks that Could Serve as Romania’s New “Dracula”
In the world of modern tanks, the M1 Abrams is one that has certainly made a name for itself.
Amongst U.S. troops, its speed, quietness and manoeuvrability across difficult terrain have earned an array of ominous nicknames ranging from “The Beast” to “Whispering Death”.
The Abrams is a main battle tank (MBT) that was designed and developed by General Dynamics Land Systems. It’s a fully-tracked land combat assault platform crafted with a mission to obliterate enemy targets using modern mobility, firepower, and shock.
“The M1 Abrams is unquestionably the world’s best main battle tank (MBT). On one occasion, an M1 fired its 120mm gun at an Iraqi T-72 tank. The round went through the T-72 and into another one directly behind it, destroying both tanks.”– Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment by Tom Clancy.
Armed with a formidable 120-millimetre main gun, the tank is encased in modern armour that is designed to withstand powerful blasts and small-arms fire. Under the hatch, the Abrams has a turbine engine with 1,500 horsepower.
Romania, and its Transylvania region in particular, has long been known as the home of Dracula, stemming from Bram Stoker’s novel set in the region as well as one of the country’s national heroes Vlad the Impaler.
Ironically, the Abrams tank also counts “Dracula” as one of its eerie nicknames due to its quiet approach and lethal battlefield record. Will the mighty Abrams become the country’s latest Dracula? Time will tell.