Ukraine: Major destruction in Soledar following Russian attack
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British officials have been discussing the supply of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to give Ukrainian forces an edge against the occupying Russian military. The appearance of British tanks on the battlefield is likely to provide a “significant boost” for Kyiv, according to defence industry analyst Nicholas Drummond.
Mr Drummond told Express.co.uk: “The poor performance of Russian tanks in Ukraine suggests that Challenger 2 MBTs donated to the UAF would provide a significant uplift in capability.
“In terms of training and support, Ukrainian tank crews would benefit by coming to the UK for instruction on how to use Challenger.
“The RAC centre in Bovington runs courses for the Army on an ongoing basis, so it would be easy to include Ukrainian tankers.”
Ukrainian soldiers have been able to effectively engage and destroy Russian T-72 tanks in battle, despite their reputation as a reliable workhorse.
In addition to the T-72, Russia has also deployed advanced tank support combat vehicles, known as BMPTs, in the conflict.
These vehicles were seen in the Donbas region, which has become the main battlefield of the war.
Russia has lost a significant number of tanks in the war, with reports suggesting that they have lost upwards of 400 tanks, about a third of their total tank force on the ground in Ukraine.
Additionally, Russian tank crews rarely survive the destruction of their tank, so each of those losses equates to almost three men killed.
The move to equip Ukraine with main battle tanks follows months of lobbying from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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While welcoming moves to aid the UK’s allies, Mr Drummond is concerned that the war in Ukraine proves that Britain needs to maintain a battle-capable fleet of tanks of its own.
Mr Drummond told Express.co.uk: “Some people, myself included, have been very clear in stating that the war in Ukraine validates the ongoing relevance and utility of tanks, and other armoured vehicles, in contemporary conflicts.
“The threat posed by artillery and machine gun fire is still much greater than that posed by anti-tank missiles and loitering munitions.
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“If this is right, then there’s a good case for upgrading all of the UK’s 227 Challenger 2s and not giving any of them away.
“Or, if we do gift them, then perhaps we should accelerate plans to replace them?”
The Challenger 2 tank is a main battle tank developed by Vickers Defence Systems as a successor to the Challenger 1, which served as the British army’s main battle tank from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s.
The Challenger 2 entered service with the British army in 1994 and is considered to be significantly more capable than its predecessor.
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