16 May 2024

Tanks take a sharp turn to remain relevant

Sascha Bruchmann

Recent conflicts have sparked a minefield of questions about the tank’s future.

Tanks in Ukraine have suffered heavy losses, targeted by uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) – in particular loitering munitions – and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Poor battlefield tactics have been another problem.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies has assessed that Russia may have lost more than 8,000 armoured fighting vehicles in the first 24 months of the war. Among those are more than 3,000 main battle tanks (MBTs), or as many MBTs as it had at the outset. It has had to replenish stocks by taking old equipment from storage.

Ukraine’s 2023 counter-offensive, backed by Western equipment, including United States M1A1 Abrams and German Leopard 2 MBTs, made limited gains. The Western-donated armour also suffered losses, in part to Russian Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, with the Kremlin recently showing off some of the captured equipment in Moscow.

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