Moscow has lost a significant portion of its main battle tank inventory since invading Ukraine in February last year.
The same has been the case for Russia’s infantry fighting vehicles, air defense systems, and other crucial weapons.
The Kremlin often boasts that its “cutting edge” systems are superior to those of the West, but data from its invasion suggests otherwise. Ukraine’s supply of American- and NATO-delivered weapons has helped to considerably diminish Moscow’s military might over the last year and a half.
With Kyiv now pushing to recapture some of its occupied territories, Moscow’s frontline heavy weaponry and armored vehicles are being stressed even further.
Open-source intelligence group Ukraine Weapons Tracker published a series of images this week showing the destruction of multiple Russian weapons. A post shared on X showed a T-90 tank, three T-72 tanks and a BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle being destroyed by Ukrainian forces near Novohryhorivka, Luhansk Oblast.
Introducing the T-90 MBT
As one of Russia’s more modern tanks, the T-90 was expected to demolish less advanced counterparts on the battlefield in Ukraine. The tank’s performance has been dismal.
The T-90 was first conceptualized years ago as a replacement for the older T-64, T-72 and T-80 armored vehicles. Designed with a smaller frame, the T-90 has a greater operational range than some of its near-peer competitors. The T-90’s design is in part based on its predecessors, including the tank’s fire control system and the V-84MS multi-fuel engine it adapted from the T-80. Over the years, several enhancements have been incorporated into the tank. The latest iteration, the Proryv-3 T-90M, features built-in reactive armor that protects the MBT from projectiles and tandem warheads.
Russia’s T-72 MBT
The Kremlin has a history of exaggerating the capabilities of its weapon systems. Russian officials once claimed that its T-72 MBT would easily blow the American-made M1A1 Abrams out of the water in combat, but this threat was not grounded in reality. In fact, since the onset of the invasion, at least half of Moscow’s T-72s have been wiped out, captured, or abandoned by Russian troops.
As an improved version of the Soviet-era T-62, the T-72 quickly became a mainstay of the USSR’s armored corps when it was introduced to service more than five decades ago. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands of T-72 MBTs were produced and exported throughout Warsaw Pact countries.
The BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
The BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle is the latest iteration in Russia’s amphibious tracked family. Like its predecessors, the armored vehicle was designed to be a more efficient “battle tank” that could withstand enemy fire and other threats while on the move. The BMP family has not fared well against the more advanced Western infantry fighting vehicles that Ukraine deploys, including the American-made Bradley.
#Ukraine: A Russian T-90M, three T-72B3 tanks and a BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle were destroyed by the Ukrainian army during a recent Russian offensive attempt near Novojehorivka, #Luhansk Oblast. pic.twitter.com/M8vyI6cnSm
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) September 19, 2023
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
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