Analysts explain why it took months for Western-aided main battle tanks to be operational in Ukraine’s frontline areas.
Meanwhile, the U.S. said it would begin training Kyiv forces next month to use its own Abrams tanks to deliver the weapon to Ukraine to counter Russian forces by the end of the summer.
However, military experts warn that for several reasons, even with tank transport and training going on, the tanks sent by NATO allies to Kyiv will not immediately impact the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
First, modern main battle tanks are complex weapons. According to CNN, despite its intimidating appearance, the tank owes much of its effectiveness on the battlefield to sophisticated electronics and computer systems at its core. These systems detect targets and aim the tank’s main gun barrel at them.
Operating, repairing, and supplying the parts needed for the tanks required detailed training for the crews on board to support logistics hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, if not thousands of kilometers, of the front lines in eastern Ukraine.
Former British Army officer Nicholas Drummond, a defense industry analyst who specializes in land conflicts, said: “The ability to train Ukrainian soldiers to support any type of tank is almost more important than the type of tank they use.
Experts further pointed out that in addition to the time it takes to train soldiers to control tanks, these weapons also require maintenance. This means managing the supply chain. Drew Thompson, a senior researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, cited an example because the “Abrams” is an American-made tank that needs logistics to extend to the Ukrainian battlefield.
Major components of Abrams tanks worn or damaged in combat must be replaced with American-made products. It is therefore expected that they will have to be sent to a repair station in Ukraine or possibly to Poland, a neighboring country that also wants to buy its own fleet of Abrams tanks.
According to Thompson, the Pentagon is generally good at solving difficult logistical problems. However, this time, the stakes are high for the United States and Ukraine.
For these reasons, Thompson believes that the ability to support Leopard 2 tanks from European logistics bases is definitely better.
Leopard 2 is a tank model used in 13 European countries. Analyst Drummond said more than 4,000 tanks of this type are currently in service, and spare parts are always available from many sources. However, the actual effectiveness of the Leopard 2 against the Ukrainian army in the confrontation with the Russian army will take time to be revealed.