President Biden made the call to send 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The White House went back and forth on whether or not to send any, initially resisting due to these resources being too complicated and too hard to maintain. But intense international pressure and diplomatic arm-twisting led to the announcement. And a plant in Lima, OH will likely be the key to getting the tanks ready and built to be sent over to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been asking for M1 Abrams for months. The M1 Abrams has been leading the front for the American military for decades, as they were first used during Desert Storm in 1991. They can hold a crew of four and have thick armor, a 120 mm main gun, armor-piercing capabilities, advanced targeting systems, thick tracked wheels, and a 1,500-horsepower turbine engine with a top speed of 42 miles per hour.

M1 Abrams Plant in Ohio

The plant in Ohio is owned by the Army and operated by General Dynamics. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth who walked the plant with other Army leaders and officials said it would likely be the location of the plant providing the tanks for Ukraine.

“We are still looking at options for exactly what variant of tanks will be provided to the Ukrainians. I think there’s still a little bit to be worked out, but certainly, the tanks being built here in Lima are central,” she said.

The plant production varies based on contract demands. And currently is building about 15-20 tanks a month, but could easily boost production to meet the demands of producing as many as 33 per month. And if they added an additional shift could produce even more.

U.S. Army Decisions on Tank Production for Ukraine

The Army is still working on deciding if they want to refurbish old tanks from the current military training stocks or from Army units or provide new tanks. If the Army took tanks from stocks or Army units, it could impact U.S. readiness to fight. And even if they took tanks from their current fleet, they would likely need upgrades before being sent to Ukraine. The production plant also has to meet its current contracts for foreign sales already in place with Poland and Australia.

“Part of it is figuring out – among the different options – what’s the best one that can allow us to get the Ukrainians tanks in as timely a fashion as we can,” said Wormuth, without affecting contracts currently in place along with the needs of the Army.

But making a shift to build more tanks quickly isn’t an easy shift. It takes approximately 18-24 months to go from a steel hull into a shiny, newly painted tank. The U.S. also doesn’t build tanks from scratch. Tanks are refurbished from the 2,500 fleets of Abrams. Older tanks are torn down to an empty hull as a starting point and then rebuilt.

Defense Industrial Base Need an Investment

There are approximately 800 people working at the plant in Ohio. It is spread across 369 acres in northwest Ohio. Its 1.6 million square feet of manufacturing space is the only place where the M1A2 Abrams are made. Not only does this plant produce Abrams, but it also builds Stryker armored vehicles, tank support vehicles, and other equipment.

After she walked the plant, Wormuth told reporters the Army will invest about $558 million into improvements at the plant over the next 15 years. Some of those improvements include the expanded use of robotics.

Wormuth highlighted the importance of the plant and the commitment to readiness by saying, “I think the war in Ukraine has shown everyone here, there’s a real need to level up our defense industrial base, the plant in Lima is part of that”


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Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. She published her first book in 2019 titled Women of the Military, sharing the stories of 28 military women. In 2019 she also launched her podcast also titled Women of the Military. In 2020, she was published as a collaborative author in Brave Women Strong Faith. And in 2021, she launched a YouTube channel to help young women answer their questions about military life, Girl’s Guide to the Military. You can learn more about Amanda at her blog Airman to Mom.