TechRussia to display Western military captures in a twist on Victory Day 2024

Russia to display Western military captures in a twist on Victory Day 2024

Leopard 2A6 in Moscow.
Leopard 2A6 in Moscow.
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor
10:52 AM EDT, April 29, 2024

Russians are gearing up for Victory Day celebrations in 2024, which will take a unique turn from what has been traditionally observed. For the first time, the celebrations will be held earlier, on May 1, and will feature an exhibition that includes captured Western military equipment. Here’s an insight into what will be showcased.

At this year’s Victory Day, alongside their own military arsenal, Russia plans to parade Western military gear seized in Ukraine. Initial reports suggest about 30 pieces of equipment, though the final count might be slightly higher.

This display of Western military wreckage serves a propaganda purpose, highlighting Russia's opposition to "Ukrainian fighters and their Western allies." The centerpiece of this year’s collection in Moscow is the recently captured Leopard 2A6 tank, with an M1A1SA Abrams tank likely to join the lineup soon.

What to expect at the Russian parade of military wreckage on Victory Day

The parade will feature a variety of Western military hardware that Russia has captured over recent years of conflict. So far, images have revealed the presence of combat infantry vehicles such as the CV90, M2A2 Bradley ODS, and Marder, as well as armored personnel carriers like the M113, British "Saxon" armored taxis, and the AMX-10 RC reconnaissance vehicles from France.

These vehicles, notable for their heavy armament and armor, are designed to transport a squad to a specific location while providing fire support with automatic cannons. The Marder, for example, is equipped with a 20 mm cannon, whereas the CV90 boasts a 40 mm cannon. These cannons are effective against light fortifications and, with the use of programmable ammunition, capable of targeting troops in trenches.

Additionally, these vehicles feature anti-tank guided missiles for tank encounters. Western models have advanced fire control systems, unlike Russian BMP family vehicles, including thermal imagers, allowing for quicker target acquisition and engagement. Ukraine's 47th Independent Mechanized Brigade has effectively employed its Bradleys in combat operations against Russian forces.

Moreover, when hit, the crew in Western vehicles typically has a higher chance of survival without the risk of being trapped in a burning "armored grill," unlike the BMP series, where fuel tanks are placed on the rear exit doors or beneath seats.

Not stopping there, the exhibition will also highlight the recently captured tanks such as the Leopard 2A6 and the M1A1SA Abrams. This could offer Russia insights into the ERAWA-2 reactive armor technology and the concepts behind the early 21st-century European armored designs. Consequently, nations with sizable fleets of these or older models, like Poland, Finland, Greece, or Turkey, may need to upgrade to more modern versions or seek alternative platforms.

As for the M1A1SA Abrams tanks, Russia might glean less information due to the Ukrainians receiving a downgraded version, whose armor does not match the versions used by the United States. It’s important to underscore that Russia’s demonstration of capturing Western military assets, while touted as a significant victory, primarily serves a propaganda role. Any tangible benefits from such acquisitions, assuming the necessary research and production infrastructure, are likely years away.

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