Abrams Tanks Fail Ukraine: Vulnerable and Outdated

Ukraine | May 31, 2024, Friday // 10:00|  views

"Abrams" tank displayed on the Red Square in Moscow

Ukrainian soldiers operating US-supplied Abrams tanks have uncovered surprising vulnerabilities in these armored vehicles, raising doubts about their frontline effectiveness, according to a CNN report. The Abrams tanks, provided by President Joe Biden as a show of support, are now facing scrutiny from Ukrainian crews who find them inadequately armored against modern threats like drones.

A soldier, known by the call sign Joker, revealed that the tank's armor does not sufficiently protect the crew in today's drone-dominated warfare. His colleague emphasized that the Abrams have become the primary targets on the battlefield, explaining, "Without protection, the crew does not survive." Crews have resorted to improvising additional protection, such as attaching explosive plates to create counter-blasts against incoming shells.

On the eastern front, German-trained Ukrainian soldiers have expressed concerns that the Abrams tanks are not designed for Ukraine's combat conditions. The tanks' original design for NATO-style warfare, which relies heavily on air power and artillery support, contrasts sharply with Ukraine's situation, where such support is lacking. A Ukrainian fighter impersonated a NATO soldier, saying, "Call the air force, call the artillery," highlighting the discrepancy between NATO strategies and Ukraine's capabilities.

Technical problems have further complicated the Abrams' deployment. CNN reported seeing a tank immobilized due to engine issues soon after arriving from Poland. Crews mentioned that rain or fog can cause condensation that damages the tank's electronics. Additionally, they faced challenges with ammunition, finding that the provided munitions were better suited for direct tank battles rather than the artillery role they often fulfill in Ukraine.

Russia has capitalized on these issues, mocking the tanks as "empty cans." A damaged Abrams was even captured and displayed in Moscow's Red Square. Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials noted that Ukraine is adapting equipment not initially intended for their war. They have requested support from all countries, regardless of the technical capabilities of the equipment, and continue to use everything they receive to the best of their ability.

The Abrams tanks' poor performance has been a disappointment for Ukraine, which had hoped the advanced US models would surpass their old Soviet-era tanks that frequently malfunctioned. However, the sophisticated US tanks have shown little improvement in practice. Ukrainian soldiers reported that drones can easily detect and target the tanks, and the armor's vulnerability to these attacks has led to some tanks being quietly withdrawn from the front lines.

Despite the tanks' formidable reputation and high cost—about 10 million USD each—their effectiveness in Ukraine's current war conditions is being questioned. The changing nature of warfare, especially with the prevalence of drones, has limited the mobility and impact of these armored vehicles, making them more of a liability than an asset on the battlefield.

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Tags: abrams, Ukraine, tanks, US

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