For Russia, a show of force involving tanks is provocative, whether there’s a war game involved or not.
This is exactly the reaction the U.S. is getting from Russia following it decision to roll out a fleet of eight powerful M1A2 Abrams tanks into Georgia in time for a scheduled military exercise or rather, a war game organized by both the U.S. European Command and the Georgian military, which will run for three weeks.
The main battle tanks were also accompanied by a number of 70-ton M-1s and M-2 Bradley armored fighting vehicles. They made their way into the Georgian city of Batumi after coming off a ferry at the Batumi port last May 4.
According to the U.S. Army Europe, they are taking part in an event called “Exercise Noble Partner 16.” It is a joint Georgian and U.S. military training exercise that takes place in the Vaziani Training Area in Georgia from May 11 to May 26.
The exercise is said to be a “critical part of Georgia’s training” for the country’s light infantry military contribution to the NATO Response Force (NRF). At the same time, it also aims to enhance Georgia’s defense territory capability.
Aside the U.S. and Georgian military troops, Reuters reported that the exercise will also include 150 soldiers from Britain. The U.S. Army Europe said that total force joining the exercise will be around 1,300 participants. From the U.S. side, this includes its Company A from the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment.
Meanwhile, Russia is expressing displeasure at the military exercise, even calling the said war games as “a provocative step.” In response Georgia’s Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili released a statement, saying “These exercises are not directed against anyone. There is no trace of provocation.”
According to The National Interest, it would seem that the U.S. M1A2 tank would have an edge against the Russian T-90 tank if the two ever got into an all-out tank battle. This is because the M1 has an advanced sensor and fire-control suite along with it ability to launch M829 armor-piercing sabot rounds. As for the Russians, its T-90 tanks were just part of a recent exercise in Vladikavkaz for some combat training.