How many tanks does Russia have? Review of tank capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces
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How many tanks does Russia have? Review of tank capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces

How many tanks does Russia have? Review of tank capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces

Russia has one of the largest tank fleets in the world. According to various sources, there are from 16 to 22 thousand tanks in the army and in storage in Russia. This number can only be compared with the total NATO tank fleet. However, taking into account the presence of obsolete tanks in Russia in storage, these figures may turn out to be almost twice as large - according to data for 2024, Russia may have approximately 30 thousand tanks.

How many tanks does Russia have?

According to military expert Vladislav Shurygin, data on the number of tanks in the arsenal of the Russian Armed Forces are somewhat overestimated. According to him, by 2021, the Russian army had 3330 tanks, of which 2840 belonged to the Ground Forces, and the rest were located near the coastal forces of the Navy. At the same time, the total number of new and modernized combat vehicles produced after 2000 in combat units reached about 1200 units, that is, 45 percent of the total number.

In 2019, the American portal We Are The Mighty compared the number of tanks in the armed forces of NATO and Russia. According to their data, NATO armies have 11 thousand tanks, Russia has about 22 thousand vehicles, taking into account those that are mothballed. According to other sources, the Russian tank fleet includes about 16 thousand combat vehicles.

However, as Shurygin noted, in 2018, the Russian army had 12 thousand tanks in storage, including outdated models T-54 and T-55. Due to long-term storage in open areas without reliable care, part of the arsenal of combat vehicles turned into mountains of rusty metal. However, these tanks can be restored and upgraded.

Updating the Russian tank fleet

Currently, Russia is actively working to update its tank fleet. In 2020, 220 tanks and other armored combat vehicles were delivered to the Ground Forces. This is more than two-thirds of the total number of Leopard 2A4 tanks in service with the Turkish army, and only 27 vehicles less than the Leopard 2A4, Leopard 2A5 and Leopard 2PL tanks in the Polish Army.

The main tank of the Ground Forces in the medium term will be the T-14 Armata. The first experimental batch will consist of 132 tanks and support vehicles. Meanwhile, Uralvagonzavod has begun serial production and supplies of T-90M Proryv tanks to the Ministry of Defense. The Taman Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army received the first vehicles in April last year.

The T-90M and T-14 "Armata" tanks are equipped with the equipment of the Unified Tactical Link Control System (ESU TZ), which connects all objects equipped with an interaction complex via the "army Internet". The main difference between the Proryv and the basic T-90 is the new multi-layer turret module with improved fire control and automatic loading systems. The 125A2M-46 smoothbore 4-mm cannon is suitable for the entire range of ammunition of this caliber, and can also serve as a launcher for guided missiles of the Reflex-M and Invar complexes.

In addition, Russia continues to form new tank units within motorized rifle divisions and, possibly, tank formations in the newly created combined arms armies. According to the Military Balance 2021 report of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), last year the formation of a tank regiment was underway in the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 5th Combined Arms Army.

Thus, Russia has a huge tank fleet that dwarfs any other military power in the world. Despite the presence of outdated models, Russia continues to modernize and update its tank fleet, introducing new and high-tech tanks such as the T-14 Armata and T-90M Proryv into service. Taking this into account, the tank capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces remain one of the most powerful in the world.

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