The grinding nature of Russia’s war in Ukraine and its well-documented resupply problems have forced the Kremlin to resort to deploying tanks that were built decades ago during the height of the Cold War.
Ukraine says it has knocked out more than 3,400 Russian tanks since the start of the war in February 2022. While other countries say Kyiv’s figures are inflated, the tally is still believed to have taken a significant toll on Russia’s armored stock.
The Russian military has responded by bringing their 60-year-old T-62 tanks out of mothballs, British military officials said Monday in an intelligence assessment.
In a Twitter post on Monday, British officials said there is a “realistic possibility” that units of the 1st Guards Tank Army, believed to be Russia’s premier tank force, will be given T-62s to make up for their losses on the battlefield. They had been due to receive the next-generation T-14 Armata main battle tank.
“In recent days, Russian BTR-50 armored personnel carriers, first fielded in 1954, have also been identified [as] deployed in Ukraine for the first time,” British intelligence officials said.
About 800 T-62 tanks have been pulled from storage since the summer of 2022. Some have received upgraded sighting systems that will likely improve their effectiveness at night. However, both of the “vintage vehicle types” will be vulnerable to attack because they lack modern explosive reactive armor, officials said.