Many of the weapons used by European countries to support Ukraine are the equipment of the former Soviet Union. As a country of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine uses much Soviet equipment and ammunition weapons, and ammunition Ukraine has no production capacity.
The US worked with NATO allies to equip Ukraine with the necessary former Soviet armaments, the most visible of which are the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and the T72 tanks.
Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Greece are three US allies with S-300 missiles. Slovakia eventually transferred its S-300 to Ukraine. As compensation, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries sent Patriot air defense missiles to Slovakia to offer air defense.
The S-300 is the Soviet Homeland Defense Air Force’s third-generation surface-to-air missile system, utilized for combat-intensive multi-target air strikes in the entire airspace from ultra-low altitude to high altitude, from close to ultra-distant. The S-300 is located in a barrel, has a vertical cold launch, requires no maintenance, and has a storage life of ten years.
The S-300 comes in a variety of models, with significant variances between them. Some versions can only shoot at a small range, less than 100 kilometers. Newer variants can travel up to 200 kilometers.
Regardless of the model, the former Soviet Union’s S-300 has a missile range of roughly 100 kilometers and a detection range of about 200.
The S300 delivered by Slovakia to Ukraine is a prototype, and its performance cannot be compared to Russia’s. Nonetheless, it has the potential to significantly improve Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.
Let us now discuss the T72 tank. The T72 tank is widely utilized in NATO countries, in contrast to the limited quantity of S-300s. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Poland are now NATO countries that have Soviet-made tanks.
During the Cold War, manufacturers in Poland and Czechoslovakia produced T-72M tanks. Poland had at least 400 T-72M tanks by 2020, and these Cold War-era tanks had also been refurbished in Poland. According to reports, Poland has supplied Ukraine with at least 300 T-72 tanks.
The T-72 entered service in 1976, and over 25,000 were built. It weighs 45 to 50 tonnes, has a three-man crew, a self-loading 125mm 2A46 cannon, and heavy and medium side-by-side machine guns.
The dominant main battle tanks in the West, such as the US M1 Abrams and Germany’s Leopard 2, weigh between 60 and 70 tonnes and have stronger armor, faster speed, and more accurate fire control systems.
The lighter weight of the T-72 makes it cheaper and less fuel, and the Ukrainian army also knows how to better repair and maintain this tank.