The issue of supplying Ukraine with major Western tanks remained in question until the last moment, until the German government and the US president officially announced it on January 25. Thus, in addition to the German Leopard2, Ukraine will also receive Challenger2 and Abrams tanks. During the negotiations at the Ramstein Air Base, 12 countries expressed their readiness to supply Kyiv with a total of about 100 Leopard2 tanks. So far, Kiev was promised to deliver 14 Challenger2 tanks, 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from Germany, 14 from Poland, 31 M1 Abrams tanks from the USA. Most likely, the announced number will not be final.
How will russia respond to this and how will it change the situation at the front?
The russian propaganda tries to downplay the combat potential of tanks for Ukraine. In particular, emphasis is placed on the significant weight of Western tanks, which seems to require special conditions when moving on the ground and crossing bridges. Indeed, the combat weight of the latest version of the M1 Abrams M1A1 and Leopard 2A7 (66 t) and Challenger2 (75 t) is higher than the mass of the russian T-80U (46 t) and T-72B3 and T-90 (46.5 t). However, according to experts, there will be no problems with the passage of Western tanks, because the pressure per square centimeter of the soil is almost the same as that of Soviet tanks.
The second conventional “minus” of Western tanks is the need for special training of crews to manage digital fire control, surveillance and communication systems. Of course, learning new equipment even for experienced tankers takes time, but Ukrainian tank crews are currently undergoing appropriate training in the United States.
Third, Ukraine will receive three very different tanks, which will require the logistics of supplying each of them with its own set of ammunition, spare parts and fuel. However, Abrams and Leopard are in service in Poland, where there is already a base for their maintenance and an established system of supplying spare parts and other necessary materials.
As you can see, certain problems of Western tanks have already been solved or are in the process of being solved.
But other technical features of tanks supplied to Ukraine have decisive advantages over russian ones.
🔸 Unlike russian models, Abrams is equipped with multi-layer armor with inserts made of various composite materials, which makes it one of the most protected tanks in the world.
🔸 All three tanks Challenger2, Leopard2A6 and M1 Abrams have a greater angle of inclination of the gun than the russian ones. According to experts, this allows the machines to hide behind the slopes of the hills, leaving only the top of the tower exposed.
❗️ Summing up the conclusions, it can be argued that the russian army is not ready to oppose Western armored vehicles. The only competitor for modern Western tanks remains the T-14 Armata. However, this tank is not mass-produced, primarily due to problems with the engines, which stall even during parade rehearsals on Red Square. In particular, the Minister of Defense of the russian federation, s.shoigu, recognized the planned release of the T-14 in 2022 as only a “research and industrial” batch. In fact, against super-modern tanks, the shoigu has only T-72s and a small number of T-90s, which are inferior to all models and modifications of tanks provided by the West.
The General Staff of the russian Army is trying to protect itself from putin’s wrath and spread the myth through the controlled media that the russian Armed Forces will destroy the Leopards and Abrams with missile strikes and blow up the Dnipro bridge crossings and small rivers in the west and central part of Ukraine on their way. Against the background of Konashenkov’s previous statements about the Ukrainian aviation being shot down three times and the “HIMARS” being destroyed, such statements look comical. Today’s missile attacks proved their effectiveness to be practically zero due to the saturation of Ukrainian air defense with Western systems.
This constant propaganda lie is designed to cover up the incompetence of the command of the Armed Forces of the russian federation both on the “tank issue” and on other problems of the army, which ultimately led to the defeat of the “special operation” – the shortage of personnel, the lack of modern weapons and corruption in the highest echelons of power.
❗️❗️ It is clear that from a military point of view, the future deliveries of even 100 tanks will not fundamentally change the situation on the fronts, because time is required for high-quality training of crews, establishment of a repair base, combat coordination with other components of the combined battle (infantry, engineering units, intelligence). In addition, according to the estimates of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine V.Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine needs at least 300 Western tanks to win the war. However, in certain areas of the front, the presence of modern armored vehicles can already play a decisive role.
At the same time, the political decision of the collective West is designed to demonstrate to the russian leadership that it not only does not intend to leave Ukraine in the struggle with russia, but will also increase military and economic aid to Kyiv. Following tanks and modern air defense systems, the issue of aviation supplies is already moving into the practical realm.