How many tanks have Western countries supplied to Ukraine?


A German Leopard 2 tank is transported by train in the Lodz region, Poland, months after the outbreak of the main war between Ukraine and Russia. Credit: Fotokon via Shutterstock

More than any other land platform, main battle tanks (MBTs) command public attention on the battlefield, despite the growing threat of stray munitions and low-tech one-way drones. Ukraine benefits from hundreds of examples from European and American inventories.

Since the large-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, Western and NATO allies have increasingly sought to supply the Ukrainian armed forces with military platforms, equipment and ammunition in an effort to prevent the overthrow of the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Although this initially involved the delivery of soldier-operated anti-tank and anti-air missile systems, the size and capability of the donated equipment escalated over time, culminating in the MBT tipping point in early 2023 when the UK pledged 14 Challenger 2 tanks. The donation likely represented almost 10% of the Challenger 2 MBTs available to the British Army at the time.

Since then, the Ukrainian military has been modernized by taking delivery of a wide range of MBTs, from older Russian vehicles of ex-Soviet design still operational in the former Eastern Bloc countries, to modern Western behemoths such as the US Army’s M1A1 Abrams, the UK’s Challenger 2 and the European Leopard 2.

Methodology: Calculation of Western Tanker Supply for Ukraine

The scale of military aid that NATO allies and sympathizers are providing to Ukraine as Kiev continues its fight against Russia is difficult to gauge, as countries continue to promise and deliver systems, including heavy tanks.

By researching available open-source intelligence (OSINT) and insights from GlobalData’s defense desk, Military technology has been able to identify a number of tanks that have been delivered or promised to Ukraine.

Where possible, data has been derived from existing articles written by GlobalData’s defence desk. In areas where this was not possible, information from the Kiel Institute for World Economy was used, as well as official government sources from the US, UK and continental European countries.

The Data: Ukraine is the recipient of Western tanks

The top figures show that Ukraine’s Western NATO members and other allies have delivered, committed or ordered between 682 and 819 MBTs, ranging from older Leopard 1 variants with 105mm guns and T-72s to modern Challenger 2s and relatively new M1A1 Abrams.

The bottom number represents the delivered platforms, the top number represents the platforms that have been promised or ordered but not yet delivered.

Calculating the losses of Western-made MBTs operated by Ukraine is difficult to determine, with both sides likely exaggerating their respective successes. However, OSINT figures compiled by Ukrainian war-tracking site Oryx provide some indication of the potential loss of donated equipment, including: 95 T-72s, eight PT-91s, ten M1A1 Abrams, one Challenger 2, and at least 30 Leopard 2s of varying variants.

A destroyed US-supplied M1A1 Abrams tank on display in Moscow in May 2024. Credit: ibWR111 via Shutterstock

Russia has sought to capitalize on Western-supplied tanks it has captured or destroyed in fighting in Ukraine, with semi-permanent static displays in Moscow showcasing its successes. These include main battle tanks and armored vehicles.

Russia’s endless supply of tanks

According to GlobalData, Russia’s land inventory before the invasion of Ukraine indicated a potential fleet of 16,970 tanks, consisting of 550 1990s T-90s, 3,450 T-80s and 8,950 1970s T-72s, with an additional 2,000 T-64s and 2,400 T-62s, originating from the 1960s. Russia is said to have around 20 of the new T-14 Armata MBTs in its battle order.

Previous research by GlobalData, conducted in December 2022, found that the loss of equipment to Russia in the first ten months of the war in Ukraine cost Moscow more equipment than in both Chechen wars combined.

However, in January of this year this was reported by Military technology that despite the increasing losses of Russian MBTs and other armored fighting vehicles (ACVs) in Ukraine, Moscow’s ramping up of its industrial capacity means it could maintain its current level of offensive activity for the foreseeable future.

In a January 29, 2024 post on the social media platform X, the British Defence Intelligence Service stated that Russian ground forces had been on the offensive in eastern Ukraine since early October 2023. During this period, Russian losses have increased, with forces likely losing up to 365 MBTs and 700 ACVs, making “small” territorial gains.

Russian tank losses have been significant, but its equipment stockpiles and ability to repair damaged systems are such that it can reportedly sustain the current rate of wear. Credit: Andrii Marushchynets via Shutterstock

According to British Defence Intelligence, Russia is capable of producing or repairing at least 100 MBTs per month. This is an acceptable pace, given the ability of Russian industry to return damaged platforms to service, produce new tanks or mobilise stored/reserve stocks.

In addition, UK Defence Intelligence stated that Russian ground forces likely lost around 2,600 MBTs in Ukraine from 24 February 2022 to 25 January 2024. Russian losses of combat vehicles in 2023 were around 40% less than in 2022.

By mid-November 2023, the UK Ministry of Defence estimated that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had cost Moscow more than 2,400 main battle tanks (MBTs) – equivalent to about 15% of its pre-war inventory at the time.

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