Russian forces have started preparing to destroy Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams tanks, even before Ukraine has started receiving these tanks.
"Handbooks and brochures for personnel have been issued, which reveal, where and from what distance to better hit such foreign equipment. This includes Abram and Leopard (tanks)," Yan Gagin, advisor to Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin, said on Russian TV Thursday.
U.S and German suppliers will have to have several new trick up their sleeve as the Abrams and Leopard tanks have been in the inventory of several nations in the Middle East and Europe for decades and Russian observers have understood their working, Pushilin said.
Russian anti-tank weapons
While western anti-tank weapons such as the Stinger and NLAW are credited with destroying Russian tanks in their hundreds last summer, Russia has a number of anti-tank weapons that could pose a challenge to Ukrainian forces trying to retake territory from the Russians with Western tanks.
The Metis-M1 and Kornet-E vehicle-mounted/portable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems are designed to engage tanks fitted with explosive reactive armor.
The Khrizantema-S Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Guided Missile System is designed for combating modern tanks. It has 9M123 ATGMs with tandem shaped-charge warhead and the 9M123F ATGMs with HEAT warhead. Two targets can be engaged simultaneously.
Upgraded T-90M Proryv tanks delivered
Rostec announced in January 2023 that a batch of T-90M tanks has been sent to the Russian MoD recently. "The T-90M "Proryv" tanks sports a new turret, a new dynamic armor protection, a new gun, modern communication besides a more powerful engine," its manufacturer, Uralvagonzavod said. It is not clear if the T-90M is equipped with the top attact defeat module from the T-14.
Russian tank losses in Ukraine
The Russian military has lost at least 1,630 tanks during fighting in Ukraine, most of them T-72 and T-80 models, according to Dutch observer group Oryx which has based its information on photographs of an individual tanks destoryed. Of these, at least 44 were T-90 tanks. The T-90 is touted by Moscow as a weapons system on par with the U.S. Abrams M1A3 and Germany’s Leopard II.