TechRussian military losses in Ukraine war exceed 3000 tanks, but reserves estimated to last three years, says IISS report

Russian military losses in Ukraine war exceed 3000 tanks, but reserves estimated to last three years, says IISS report

Russian tanks in the Rostov region
Russian tanks in the Rostov region
Images source: © Getty Images | Erik Romanenko
12:44 PM EST, February 13, 2024

This figure comprises roughly 1120 tanks and nearly 2000 armored and infantry fighting vehicles lost in 2023, a decrease from the preceding year. This downward trend has been attributed to the evolving battlefield conditions and strategies employed by both conflicting parties. The Russian forces initially spearheaded a major offensive, exposing their armored vehicles to losses at the front of the military columns.

Can the Russians sustain their tank supply?

According to an annual analysis of global military balance and defence expenditures ("The Military Balance 2024"), published by a London-based think tank, the losses do not necessarily spell the downfall of Russian operations. The report underscores that Russia still possesses adequate armored vehicle reserves to replenish their losses for an estimated three years.

"Moscow could feasibly endure approximately three more years of severe losses and sustain their tank reserves, even if these are technologically subpar, irrespective of their capability to manufacture new equipment," states the report.

Recently, Ukraine has witnessed the appearance of T-55 or T-62 tanks, with their manufacturing history dating back to 1958 and 1963 respectively. The T-55 is fitted with a 100 mm caliber cannon, and its crew cannot rely on the support of optics and sensors typically installed in contemporary tanks for enhanced situational awareness. Similarly, the T-62 with a 115 mm caliber cannon faces the same disadvantage. Moreover, both the T-55 and T-62 tanks possess relatively weak armor, which fails to provide adequate protection, even against drones.

Ukraine, too, bears significant losses

The report further notes that Ukraine has also encountered substantial losses since the invasion. Nevertheless, the introduction of Western supplies has allowed Ukraine to maintain its numerical status, while simultaneously upgrading the quality of its equipment.

Ukraine primarily receives Western tanks such as the German Leopards of various versions, the British Challenger 2, and the American M1 Abrams.

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