TechRussian forces resort to decades-old tanks in Ukraine conflict

Russian forces resort to decades-old tanks in Ukraine conflict

T-62 Tank
T-62 Tank
Images source: © Kskdivniy.ru, Lic. CC BY-SA 4.0
10:57 AM EST, February 8, 2024

In one of the recent reports, the British Ministry of Defense disclosed that since the inception of the war in Ukraine, Putin's forces have sustained a loss of around 2,600 tanks and nearly 4,900 other armored vehicles. Even though it still can dispatch an additional 100 tanks to the front every month, these increasingly tend to be very old models. William Alberque from the International Institute for Strategic Studies believes that "this reeks of sheer desperation."

Russians resort to older tank models. They have no alternatives

In a conversation with Business Insider, the expert highlighted that the mention of 100 supplementary tanks every month for Putin's army would not be feasible without reverting to old designs conserved in warehouses. Such viewpoints align with the increasing frequency of confirmatory footage of transports in recent weeks and even in-combat usage of T-62 or T-55 tanks. One of the latter was eliminated only a few days back.

The T-55 is a tank with a history dating back to 1958. These tanks have very poor armor and currently lack reliable sensors and optics, meaning they do not offer adequate situational awareness and precision. They are equipped with a 3.93-inch caliber gun.

In the initial stages of the Ukrainian conflict, T-55s weren't employed in offensive maneuvers by Russian forces. They were occasionally used for bombardments from entrenched positions. Over time, they began to support troops in the capacity of armored personnel carriers and have recently been deployed for attacks, which usually result in quick defeat. The T-55 does not assure the safety of the crew, even when faced with an FPV drone.

Old Russian tanks. What do they offer?

The T-62 is a next-generation tank produced between 1963 and 1978, the primary weapon of which was a 4.52-inch caliber gun. It was found during operation that its rate of fire fell short of expectations, the power produced by its engine was deemed insufficient, and currently, its armor performance is extremely poor.

Other old Russian tanks include the T-64 models that were produced from 1964 to 1987. They were the first tanks globally to be serially fitted with composite armor. They were also equipped with a more potent 4.92-inch gun, a feature that is standard on Russian tanks today.

Another expert quoted by Business Insider appraises the ability of the Russians to recoup their losses as increasingly limited. Nicholas Drummond, a defense analyst, believes that some of the tanks deployed by the Russians are of "almost museum quality". In his outlook, the estimate of about 100 tanks made available to the Russian army every month seems inflated, and it is diminishing as the months pass by.

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