The Economist: Russia will launch two more repair plants to make up for huge losses of tanks


Russia needs to strengthen its tank fleet if it hopes to hold on to the territories it occupies. However, the ability of the Russian Federation to replace the tanks lost in the war is doubtful, writes The Economist.

The Ukrainian side claims 3,250 enemy tanks destroyed. The open-source intelligence blog Oryx has documented 1,700 Russian casualties. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says that about half of the pre-war stocks of T-72s that Russia had, which is about 2,000 tanks, have been destroyed.

The publication recalls that in the 1940s, Soviet factories produced more than a thousand tanks every month. Enterprises involved in the production of tractors and engines for locomotives were ordered to switch to the production of military vehicles. Meanwhile, today it is much more difficult to increase the production of tanks.

So, modern tanks use complex electronics, including night vision systems, guidance systems and other functionality. This slows down production, which means that many factories intended for other production cannot simply be repurposed.

The only tank factory in the Russian Federation — “UralVagonZavod”, was built in the 1930s. But financial mismanagement and heavy debt slowed down its modernization. Employees joke that they assemble tanks by hand.

According to «Novaya Gazeta», the plant produces 20 cars per month. Western officials told The Economist that, overall, the Russian Armed Forces' needs for tanks outstrip production by a factor of 10.

In an attempt to meet demand, Russia has increased its rate of renewal of old tanks, of which it still has thousands in stock. In Ukraine, modern Russian T-90 vehicles now fight alongside T-72B3s built several decades ago.

«Ural WagonZavod» restores approximately 8 tanks monthly. And three other repair plants – about 17, as evidenced by reports in the Russian media. In the next few months, two more repair plants will start operating.

Russia can only build 20 new tanks a month, it will soon be able to repair about 90 old vehicles in the same period. However, this still won't make up for the loss of about 150 tanks every month, according to Oryx analysts.

Some of the newly refurbished tanks in Ukraine contain a bunch of different equipment from different models. And they lack high-tech systems, such as wind speed sensors, which allow them to fire accurately.

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