TechUkraine's M1 Abrams Tanks under threat: A close look at Russian tactics

Ukraine's M1 Abrams Tanks under threat: A close look at Russian tactics

M1A1 Abrams tanks during training in Germany.
M1A1 Abrams tanks during training in Germany.
Images source: © 7th Army Training Command
3:43 AM EDT, March 15, 2024
It has become evident how Russian forces have been targeting the American M1 Abrams tanks operated by Ukraine. Experts cited by Forbes indicate that the attacking army employs anti-tank guided missiles to neutralize these armored vehicles. This revelation has prompted discussions on the necessity to upgrade the Abrams to thwart such threats in the future, as reported by the Unian agency.
Forbes has disclosed that, to date, Ukraine has lost three of its 31 American-supplied M1 Abrams tanks, with at least one sustaining damage. It's worth noting that these losses coincide with the Abrams being deployed to the frontlines, where their presence and actions in combat have marked them as prioritized targets for Russian forces. Previously, these tanks were mainly utilized for reconnaissance missions, leveraging their advanced vision systems capable of detecting adversaries from nearly 5 miles away. However, a shift in Ukrainian strategy has seen these tanks being actively engaged in direct confrontations.
The primary challenge to the Abrams, as identified by Forbes experts, is anti-tank guided missiles. The implementation of a laser detection system in the tanks could potentially have prevented the destruction of at least two of the three tanks lost.
Despite these setbacks, the expectation of future losses remains high. "As the war continues, it's almost assured that more Abrams tanks will be lost in the coming weeks and months, as the remaining 28 tanks are exposed to mines, artillery, and attacks from other tanks," reports suggest. Unian comments that while losses are anticipated, the introduction of missile detection systems could mitigate the rate at which these valuable assets are depleted.

M1 Abrams in Ukraine

It's important to highlight that the Abrams tanks in question are formidable machines, each weighing 63 tons and measuring nearly 33 feet in length. Their primary offensive capability comes from a powerful 120 mm calibre gun, supplemented by machine guns of .50 (12.7 mm) and .30 (7.62 mm) calibres, making them highly effective against both heavily and lightly armoured targets.

The M1 Abrams, designed for the American market, features armor incorporating depleted uranium. In contrast, the variants sent to Ukraine are outfitted with tungsten inserts in their armour to prevent the transfer of sensitive technologies. Additionally, these tanks have been equipped with ARAT-1 armour packages from the TUSK set, constituting single-layer reactive armour, as a strategic enhancement for operations within Ukraine.

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