The Economist: Tank Killers. Western infantry fighting vehicles that Ukraine will receive will change the course of the war

The Economist: 'Tank Killers'. Western IFVs Ukraine gets will change the course of the war

A number of Western countries decided to send infantry fighting vehicles, some of which are called “tank killers”, and other weapons to Ukraine, but some of the requests of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzny have not yet been satisfied. This is written by The Economist, NV reports.

Agreed statements by France, the United States and Germany

About three weeks ago, Zaluzhny said that he could defeat the enemy, but for this he needed 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, 500 howitzers.

Recently, the United States, France and Germany made a number of statements about providing Ukraine with infantry fighting vehicles, which are located between the main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. They provide moderate armored protection for crew and infantry, are equipped with powerful guns and can withstand many Russian tanks, especially older models.

Western analysts believe that the provided IFVs will help Ukraine penetrate Russian defense lines, building on last year's successes in repelling invading forces in or around Kyiv, Kharkov and Kherson.

But Ukraine will have to wait for the main Western battle tanks, notes edition.

As part of the largest U.S. military aid package to date, $3 billion, Ukraine is sending 50 M2A2 Bradleys, armored personnel carriers, armored vehicles, Humvee cargo vans, self-propelled and towed artillery, as well as a large number of rockets and other munitions. In particular, the US aid package includes RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, ship-based anti-aircraft missiles that will be adapted to work with Soviet Buk ground systems, and 4,000 Zuni missiles that can be installed on Ukrainian aircraft and helicopters.

Germany pledged 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

France will supply an undisclosed but likely equal number of AMX-10RCs, armored vehicles that qualify as light tanks on wheels.

Former US officer Gian Gentile, who now works at the Rand think tank, believes the scale and the consistency of the statements testify to the great efforts of the West to give the Ukrainian forces the opportunity to deliver a powerful armored mechanized strike before possible winter offensives.

The Economist drew attention to the unusual leadership of France, which is often criticized for delaying the supply of military aid to Ukraine.

President Emmanuel Macron announced the delivery of AMX-10RC to Ukraine on January 4, after talking with Volodymyr Zelensky.

< p>“Your leadership brings our victory closer,” the President of Ukraine wrote in response on his Twitter page.

The next day, after a telephone conversation between President Joe Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the United States and Germany announced the provision of Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, respectively.

In addition, Germany announced the provision of a second Patriot anti-aircraft missile battery – in addition to the one that the United States promised shortly before the New Year.

The Economist believes that Macron's statement on the eve of Biden and Scholz's statements could have sounded to influence the position of the German chancellor, whose Social Democratic Party is wary of arming Ukraine. The article says that this is the opinion of many in Berlin and that this is hinted at by US officials, noting that at some point the top three planned to make a joint statement.

The main differences between the BMPs of the three countries

There is some difference between AMX-10RC, Bradley and Marder. The French vehicle is wheeled and relatively fast on roads and hard ground, but has comparatively thin armour. The Bradley and Marder are heavier, with more difficult-to-maintain tracks, but they'll handle the mud better in Ukraine, where the ground isn't frozen everywhere. They all have impressive firepower capable of wreaking havoc on Russian armored vehicles.

The Marder is about a decade older than the other two models, and has been in use by the Bundeswehr for decades.

AMX-10RC is being phased out by the French Army, the vehicle is equipped with a large 105mm cannon that was designed to fight Soviet tanks of the 1980s and is sometimes referred to as a “tank destroyer”.

The Bradley is equipped with a smaller 25mm gun, but it proved highly effective against Soviet-made T-72 tanks in the first Gulf War in 1991. Brigadier General Pat Ryder called the Bradley IFV a “tank killer”. These IFVs are equipped with thermal imaging sights, which is a big advantage as Russian troops avoid night battles, and advanced fire control systems. The Bradley can fire armor-piercing rounds that can destroy even the most advanced Russian tanks from a distance of about 2.5 km if hit from the flank or rear, according to an American officer with experience in driving a vehicle. Equally important is the fact that the gun is stabilized – unlike the AMX-10RC, the Bradley BMP can fire on the move. The Bradley also has a pair of anti-tank missile launchers with a range of 3 km or more.

An officer who spoke to the Economist opined that if enough Bradleys were sent, “it could really be a game changer, maybe even more than if they got Abrams tanks. This would provide the Ukrainian motorized infantry with much more firepower than it currently has.” Another former officer emphasized the importance of using infantry fighting vehicles along with tanks (preferably Western ones), foot infantry and other units to maximize their impact.

Should Ukraine wait for the supply of tanks

The publication notes that the US Army plans to train the Ukrainian forces in such combined arms operations battalion at a time, starting from the end of this month, the exercises will continue for about a month.

Operation of three models of combat vehicles, each of which has different weapons, will complicate logistics and maintenance for Ukraine, as the country uses a mixed arsenal of NATO countries outside the Alliance. Ukraine will have to develop ways to effectively communicate infantry fighting vehicles with each other and accompanying units.

“Ukrainians are experts in the use of various types of equipment, and at the same time they are able to act as a well-coordinated force,” assured Laura Cooper, a senior Penagon spokeswoman, noting that the Ukrainian crews were assisted by Western army advice on “remote maintenance”.

In addition to the capabilities of the BMPs themselves, the announcements of their provision are also important in that they signal the determination of the West to continue to help Ukraine “for as long as necessary” and, according to Biden and Scholz, to increase military commitments. It also speaks to Germany's overcoming fears of an escalation of the conflict by Russia.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who is also Deputy Chancellor Scholz from the Green Party, praised the “good decision” on the BMP. And the head of the Bundestag's defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann of the Free Democratic Party, who called for the Marder BMP to be provided to Ukraine within months, said that “the decision was made very late, but not too late.”

< p>An important question remains whether the supply of BMPs will prepare the supply of tanks that Ukraine needs. Eastern European allies have already provided it with refurbished Soviet tanks, and in the last ten months of fighting, in the face of Russian atrocities and Ukraine's impressive fighting prowess, the West has abandoned one taboo after another on the weapons it is willing to supply.

< p> In Europe, there are many German-made Leopard tanks, whose diesel engines are easier to operate and maintain than American M1 Abrams turbines. Cooper acknowledged that Ukraine needed tanks, but hinted that Leopards were more suitable for Ukraine. Germany, whose re-export permit must be obtained, has so far refused to allow anyone to send them to Ukraine. This irritates not only many of her allies, but also some of Scholz's coalition partners.

According to Claudia Major of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, as in the case of the BMP, the US will be the decisive factor in providing the Leopard.

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