Australia has repeatedly provided crucial assistance to Ukraine, including heavy weaponry. For example, Canberra, along with Washington, delivered the M777 155mm howitzers to Ukraine, as well as M113 armored personnel carriers and Bushmaster armored vehicles, which received high praise from Ukrainian soldiers.
Should be noted that Australian defense companies have started actively cooperating with Ukraine. For instance, two contracts for combat modules with Electro Optic Systems were secured. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine called on Australia to expand its support and join the tank coalition. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, made a corresponding statement.
The specific tank model is not mentioned in the statement. However, the Australian Armed Forces currently have 59 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks in service. Considering the need for defense across an entire continent, this quantity is relatively small.
Objectively, it is unlikely that the statement refers to these vehicles, which the country has started receiving in 2006. Therefore, it is important to mention what the Australian Armed Forces had before the Abrams tanks.
The Leopard 1 in a slightly modified version – the Leopard AS1 tanks were in a service with Australia. These tanks feature adaptations for operating in hot climates. In the early 2000s, Australia carried out a partial modernization program for these tanks by installing thermal sights. Overall, the country received 90 tanks, 8 armored recovery vehicles, and 5 bridge layers from 1976 to 1978. All tanks were decommissioned by 2007 and partially transferred to museums.
Thus, the Australian government has the opportunity to join the tank coalition without jeopardizing its combat capability.
Additionally, it should be noted that Oleksiy Reznikov also mentioned the Hawkie armored vehicles, which are a classic representative of their class in the category of light armored vehicles.
As of mid-2022, there are over 200 units in service with the Australian Armed Forces. However, their production is currently ongoing, with a planned production rate of 50 units per month. In total, the Australian government plans to order up to 1100 such vehicles.