By The Financial District
Analyst Estimates Russian Tank Losses In Ukraine At 1,300
The estimated total Russian loss of 1,300 tanks in Ukraine roughly corresponds to 14 full-fledged armored brigades or 42 battalion tactical groups (BTGs). This amounts to more tank fleets than the UK, France, Germany, and Italy combined.
Photo Insert: Destruction of Russian tanks by Ukrainian troops in Mariupol
However, Russia still has some 2,000 battle-ready tanks at hand, as well as an enormous amount in storage., Illia Ponomarenko reported for Kyiv Independent.
At the beginning of its full-scale invasion in Feb., Russia had around 3,330 operational tanks (2,840 with the ground forces, 330 with its naval infantry, and 160 with its airborne forces), according to the Military Balance 2021 database. The database includes all tank types currently employed by Russia’s military, notably T-72s, T-80s, and T-90s, and their modifications.
According to Oryx, an online investigative project documenting equipment losses in Russia’s war, Russia has lost at least 994 tanks as of Sept. 1.
However, according to estimates by the Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent Russian online armed conflicts monitor, the Oryx database covers nearly 70% of the total equipment lost in combat by both sides, as it includes only fully-verified losses -- not every single captured or destroyed vehicle is pictured and documented.
Based on these estimates, Russia has lost nearly 1,300 tanks – an impressive 40% of its total operational tank fleet. This figure coincides with that provided by CNN in May, citing an unnamed senior U.S. defense official, which reported that Russia has lost “nearly 1,000 tanks” in Ukraine.
Official figures provided by Ukraine’s military are higher. As of Sept. 1, six months into Russia’s full-scale war, Ukraine has reportedly knocked out 1,997 Russian tanks, which is nearly 60% of Russia’s operational tank fleet.
On the other hand, Oryx suggests Ukraine’s military has lost 244 tanks, 125 of which were destroyed in combat, and the rest abandoned or seized by Russian forces.
The Military Balance 2021 database says Russian storage facilities have around 10,200 tanks, including various T-72s, 3,000 T-80s, and 200 T-90s.
The database’s 2016 publication also indicates that Russia has roughly 2,800 Cold War legacy T-55s (the first tank type to feature a nuclear warfare protection system in the 1950s) in storage, as well as 2,500 T-62s and 2,000 T-64s. This means that Russia may have around 17,300 tanks produced between the late 1950s and now.
An analysis of Google Maps satellite images of 19 Russian military storage facilities mainly located east of Russia’s Ural Mountains by the Ukrainian Military Center estimates that 2,299 tanks appear unrestorable.
An estimated 1,304 are thought to be in a dubious state. Another 2,075 tanks seem recoverable, although some would likely need to be taken to tank factories.
A total of 886 tanks are effectively stored and are likely to be made fully operational. Many Russian bases also have hangars, which may store up to around 1,330 tanks -- in unknown conditions and quantities.
In all, Russia has at least 2,000 potentially restorable tanks, meaning it will not run out during its war in Ukraine – even if it has to roll back its relics from the early 1960s. But Russia also has alternative sources: Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s regime possesses over 500 modernized T-72 tanks.
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