The Russian army has already lost more than 40% of the total number of combat tanks that it had before the invasion.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine have already destroyed and captured under 1400 tanks of the Russian army, some of them were generally abandoned by the crews in quite good condition and are now actively protecting the Ukrainian land. To understand the number of destroyed vehicles, there are 93 tanks in the Russian tank brigade. And in the conditional battalion tactical group – 31 vehicles.
And the total number of losses in the tanks of the Russian army since February 24 is more than 40% of the number of all vehicles in service as of 2021.
The number of tanks in the Russian army in service on the eve of the invasion:
To estimate the initial number of vehicles, you can use the Military Balance database of military potentials of countries from the authoritative British International Institute for Strategic Studies.
As of 2021, it states that 3,330 tanks of all modifications are in service in all the armed forces of the Russian Federation. The bulk of them, 2840 tanks, were in the ground forces, the rest – in the airborne troops, marines and coastal defense forces.
It is also clearly seen that the most massive of them are the T-72B3, which are the modernization of the T-72B by installing a new powerful engine, a thermal imaging sight, digital radio stations, updating the fire control system, as well as new dynamic protection.
In general, the distribution by type is as follows:
- T-72 old versions: 650 units
- T-72B3: 1770 units
- T-80 old versions: 360 units
- T-80BVM: 190 units
- T-90: 360 units
The number of tanks in the Russian army at storage bases on the eve of the invasion:
The Military Balance also contains data on the estimated number of Russian tanks at storage bases. We are talking about 10,090 units, of which 7,000 are T-72s, 3,000 are T-80s, and up to 90 T-90s.
The database does not contain data on the number of tanks of obsolete versions, such as the T-55 and T-62, although the latter are already being removed from storage bases . You can estimate the approximate number of cars if you raise the data for 2014. According to them, 2.8 thousand T-55 units and 2.5 thousand T-62 units may still be in warehouses in the Russian Federation. But it is known that T-62s were actively going to Syria for Assad’s army.
The database for 2014 also mentions the presence of 2,000 T-64 tanks of all versions on conservation, which the Russian army began to withdraw from service in the early 2010s. But it was the T-64 that the Kremlin has been quite actively throwing at the Donbass since 2014.
Thus, the maximum number of tanks at storage bases in the Russian Federation is, hypothetically, up to 28.5 thousand and is distributed as follows:
- T-55: up to 2800 units
- T-62: significantly less than 2500 units
- T-64: significantly less than 2000 units
- T-72: up to 7000 units
- T-80: up to 3000 units
But such a quantity is excluded “on paper” and can be used by the Russian Federation solely as a “myth” about its huge reserves. This is due to the fact that the storage of any military equipment is a rather complicated and costly process. To understand, this is more difficult than keeping a car in a garage for decades in order to start it from a “half turn” at the first need.
The available photographs of such bases show that they resemble scrap metal dumps, and not bases with military equipment. And the fact that they are generally regularly photographed speaks well of the quality of protection of such objects and their value.
More precisely, there is nothing of value there for a long time, including the wiring that was pulled out to be handed over to a non-ferrous metal collection point. Not to mention radio stations and sights.
That is why even relatively “decent” samples from storage bases, which can still be restored in theory, require painstaking work on a complete reassembly and reassembly. And the gross number of these 28.5 thousand tank corps, if something is threatened, then only the environment.