The ADF purchase of 59 refurbished 1989 model M1A1 Abrams battle tanks signals longer term cooperation with the US military due to insufficient Australian transportation capacities to move the massive tanks.
The ADF lacks any landing craft capable of carrying even one of the 68 tonne jet-engined M1A1 Abrams tanks. Even transporting the tanks from their port of entry at Melbourne to their intended station at Darwin is problematic.
Freightlink requires new rolling stock to handle the tanks by rail. Road transport is out; road bridges in the NT are only rated for 50 tonnes. The only way to move the behemoths is to load them on a freighter and unload them at a port.
There will be no amphibious landings; if ADF needs to use the Abrams outside of Australia, they’ll either have to pay a merchant ship to take them to a port in the war zone… or hitch a ride with Uncle Sam.
Army mechanics will be kept busy if the US army experience is any guide. It allocates 25 per cent of its maintenance budget for ground combat systems to fixing Abrams gas turbine engines.
Don’t we have quite enough old American junk?
I can’t find any mention of Australian forces using main battle tanks at all since 1945.
At least Australia has a great place to store them.