What are the powerful armored vehicles that the West will send to Ukraine

FILE – U.S. soldiers drive a Bradley fighting vehicle during an exercise in Deir Ezzor, northeastern Syria, on Dec. 8, 2021. The United States will send Bradley fighting vehicles to Ukraine (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad, File)

Three weeks ago, Ukraine’s highest-ranking military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, he laid out his wish list for the military equipment he needed to repel the imminent Russian offensive. “I know that I can beat this enemy. But I need resources. I need 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVS, 500 howitzers”. His plea has been heard in Western capitals, to a degree. In a series of advertisements, state Joined, France Y Germany they pledged to send infantry fighting vehicles.

Ukraine will have to wait for western tanks. But the promised armored vehicles are a step toward that goal, and should go a long way toward improving the combat power of Ukraine once they arrive. The exact model and number of the IFVS has not yet been revealed. state Joined has promised “dozens” of Bradleyas part of a new military aid package worth nearly $3 billion, which includes humvees, mine-resistant vehicles, and a host of missiles and other munitions, to be announced on January 6. According to German reports, some 40 Marders. It is likely that France provide a similar number of AMX-10RCS.

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The scale and timing of the announcements suggest a major Western effort to bolster Ukrainian armored forces for possible winter offensives. Unusually, it was Franceoften criticized for delaying the provision of military aid to Ukrainethe first to act. After speaking with her Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr ZelenskyPresident Emmanuel Macron announced on January 4 the shipment of “light tanks” – French-made AMX-10RC vehicles – as part of France’s efforts to “extend military aid to Ukraine.” Mr. Zelensky he tweeted in response: “Your leadership brings our victory closer.”

Soldiers follow a Marder infantry fighting vehicle during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Bergen, near Hannover, September 2011 - Copyright AP Photo/Michael Sohn
German soldiers follow a Marder infantry fighting vehicle during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Bergen, near Hannover, September 2011 (AP)

One day later, after a telephone call between the President Joe Biden and the Chancellor Olaf scholz, state Joined Y Germany they said they would do the same with combat vehicles Bradley Y marderrespectively. Germany would also contribute a battery of anti-aircraft missiles patriot to complement the one sent by state Joined to help Ukraine to resist the attack of Russian missiles and drones, directed in particular against its energy infrastructure.

It is not clear if the early announcement of Macron forced the hand of scholzwhose Social Democratic Party (SPD) is reluctant to properly arm Ukraine, or whether it was choreographed to ease German distress. Many in berlin they suggest the former; US officials hint at the latter, noting that at one point the three leaders had planned to make a joint announcement.

A French AMX-10RCS like the one in the image will be sent to Ukraine in the coming days to fight against the invading troops of Vladimir Putin (AP)
A French AMX-10RCS like the one in the image will be sent to Ukraine in the coming days to fight against the invading troops of Vladimir Putin (AP)

The IFV they occupy an intermediate space between the main battle tanks and the armored personnel carriers. They offer armored protection to crews and infantry, and carry sizeable guns.. They can take on many Russian tanks, especially the older models. As such, should significantly strengthen Ukraine’s ability to maneuver on the battlefield. Western analysts believe they could help Ukraine to penetrate the Russian lines, building on the successes of the past year in pushing back the invading forces from the areas of kyiv, Kharkiv Y Kherson or its surroundings.

The AMX-10RC french, the Bradley American and the marder German are somewhat different beasts. The French vehicle is wheeled and relatively fast on roads and rough terrain, but its armor is relatively thin. The Bradley and the marderheavier, have tracks, which are more difficult to maintain, but work better in the swampy terrain of Ukrainewhich has not yet frozen everywhere. They all have impressive firepower that will likely torment Russian armor..

The marder It’s a decade older than the other two models, but it’s been a workhorse of the Bundeswehr during decades. The AMX-10RCwhich is currently being retired by the French Army, is equipped with a 105mm big gun designed to take on Soviet tanks of the 1980s (sometimes referred to as “tank destroyer”). The Bradley have a smaller 25mm barrelbut it was very effective against Soviet tanks T-72 in the first Gulf War in 1991. The most recent have thermal sights – a huge advantage against Russian units that have shunned night fighting – and fire control systems virtually identical to those of the M1A2 Abrams, the main American tank. The Bradley can fire projectiles sabot that would destroy even the most modern Russian tanks, if hit on their flanks or rear, some 2.5km away, according to an experienced US officer commanding the vehicle. Just as important is that the barrel is stabilized so that, unlike the AMX-10RCyou can shoot accurately on the move.

If a sufficient number of Bradleyconsiders the official, “it could really be a game changer, perhaps more so than if they got Abrams. It would provide the Ukrainian mechanized infantry with far superior firepower than today.” Another former officer stresses the importance of using IFVS in conjunction with (preferably western) tanks, dismounted infantry and other units to maximize their punch. Tellingly, the US military is planning to train Ukrainian battalions in these types of combined arms operations.

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That being said, having three models of combat vehicles, each with a different gun, will further complicate the logistical and maintenance problems of Ukrainewhich will have to manage a mixed arsenal from the NATO and from other countries. Besides, Ukraine You will need to devise ways for the IFVS communicate effectively with each other and with accompanying units.

As important as the military power they bring, the combat vehicles signal Western determination to continue helping Ukraine “for as long as necessary”, in the words of Biden Y scholz, and to continue to increase military commitment. Furthermore, the compromise suggests that Germany has overcome some of his qualms about climbing with Russiaeven in the face of threats and flattery from Vladimir putinthe latest of which was to order a brief ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas.

Robert HabeckGerman economy minister and vice-chancellor of the Greens party, praised the “good decision.” Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermanna combative liberal politician who has been asking for the supply of Mardersdeclared: “The decision has come very late, but not too late.”

A big question is whether the IFVS prepare the way for the delivery of Western tanks, which Ukraine is crying out for This is not unthinkable. The allies of Eastern Europe they have already provided refurbished Soviet-era tanks. In the past ten months of fighting, in the face of Russian atrocities and the impressive Ukrainian combativeness, the West has abandoned one taboo after another regarding the weapons it is willing to supply. Last summer, state Joined began supplying the famous rocket system Himars with great success; last month announced the dispatch of a battery of anti-aircraft missiles patriot.

Europein particular, is flooded with tanks leopard of German manufacture, whose diesel engines are easier to drive and maintain than the turbines of the Abrams. But Germanywhose re-export permit must be obtained, has so far refused to allow anyone to send them to Ukrainewhich has upset many allies and even the coalition partners of scholz.

Claudia majorof German Institute for International and Security Affairsa think tank from berlinattributes the resistance of the SPD to a combination of factors, including reservations about militarism, fear of reducing the German forces themselves, alarm at an escalation with Russiathe tradition of maintaining friendly ties with the kremlin and, no less important, the guilt for the WWIIwhen the Nazi armored columns devastated Russia.

As in the case of IFVSsays Mrs. major, state Joined will be the decisive factor in the liberation of the leopard. As much as Germany talk about leading Europe in defence, “it takes the White House to unlock the chancellorship”.

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