The Leopard 2 Never Came, The Capability of Old Ukrainian Tanks Began to Be Doubtful

The Leopard 2 Never Came, The Capability of Old Ukrainian Tanks Began to Be Doubtful
The Leopard 2 Never Came, The Capability of Old Ukrainian Tanks Began to Be Doubtful

Kiev - The performance of the Soviet-era tanks still used by Ukraine against Russia on the battlefield began to be complained by its soldiers. Ukrainian troops expected the presence of Leopard 2 tanks, but until the end of February 2023 they had not arrived.

Quoted from the Bulgarian Military, Ukraine used obsolete Soviet-era tanks against Russia. Several types of tanks owned, namely the T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-84. After nearly a year of war, Ukraine is reported to have lost nearly half of its tanks. "Ukraine has lost half of the 800 operational tanks it had before the start of the war," wrote the Bulgarian Military.

This fact shows that the performance of old Ukrainian tanks is not comparable to modern Russian tanks. Even some Ukrainian soldiers complained about the capabilities of Soviet-era tanks on the battlefield.

A Ukrainian tank commander, nicknamed Igor, made this statement in an interview with Spanish media El Pais. He was the commander of the T-64 tank, the oldest tank that participated in the war in Ukraine. Igor said that he often had to avoid fighting the Russians because the tanks he used were outclassed. He was forced by circumstances to surrender. Igor could not fight using a tank that was 50 years old or twice his age. For that, he really hopes for the arrival of the Leopard 2 tanks promised by the allies.

“I am waiting for the German Leopard tanks to arrive so that I can switch to a reliable vehicle,” said Igor. However, he seems to have to be patient because the first Leopard 2 tanks are expected to arrive in March, or April 2023 at the latest. Igor's hopes may not come true in the near future. Open data shows that there are around 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks ready for service in Europe.

But in reality, Europe is currently unable to provide a battalion of Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine. To form a tank battalion, Ukraine requires a minimum of 31 tanks.

So far, only Poland has pledged 30 Leopard 2A4 tanks. The other two countries are Germany (14 Leopard 2A6) and Portugal (3 Leopard 2A6).

Keep in mind, this is a new commitment and has not actually materialized. Ukraine was forced to defend itself against Russia with the Soviet-era T-64 tank developed in the mid-1960s. The T-64 tanks were quite widely produced until the late 1980s totaling around 13,000 units.

The T-64 tank weighs 38 tons and has weapons specifications that were capable of its time. These include a 125mm smoothbore gun and two machine guns, namely a 7.62mm PKMT coaxial machine gun and a 12.7mm NSVT anti-aircraft machine gun.

Even though the old T-64 Tank's engine produced only 700 horsepower, or nearly half the power of modern tanks, it still ran well. The T-64 tank is capable of traveling at a maximum speed of 60 km/hour and a range of 500 km.

The age factor made the T-64 tank face several technical problems, such as the undercarriage not working and dying after firing the Cannon continuously. This is at the root of the performance capabilities of the T-64 tank which Ukrainian soldiers complain about.

A Ukrainian tank commander identified as Igor said the issue limited combat operations. What's more, the weapon systems they use are often accompanied by equipment that is worn out, damaged, and malfunctioning.

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