Special Report

How Ukraine's Newly-Bolstered Tank Army Compares to Russia's

> Country of origin: Russia
> Belligerent countries using the tank: Ukraine and Russia
> Main artillery: 125 mm smoothbore cannon
> Max speed: 47 mph
> Operational range: 290 miles
> Engine output: 780 horsepower
> Total units on/going to battlefield: 5,500

Until now, Ukraine has been relying on modernized Soviet-era T-72 tanks to defend against the Russian invasion, receiving at least 450 of them from Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia, and the Netherlands. Russia is also employing the T-72s, some of which – as many as 543 by some estimates – Ukraine has captured and redeployed.

With a top speed of 47 miles per hour, T-72s are faster than more modern Western tanks, and unlike the M1 Abrams, which runs on jet fuel, T-72s can operate on much more widely available diesel. Any advantages the T-72 offers, however, are outweighed by the tank’s limitations. Weighing in 45 tons, T-72s offer far less protection than the M1 Abrams. Additionally, the T-72 can not drive in reverse faster than 2 miles per hour, a great limitation in its agility. Since the start of the war, thousands of T-72s are estimated to have been destroyed.

Source: Rockfinder / iStock via Getty Images

M1 Abrams
> Country of origin: United States
> In use by: Ukraine
> Main artillery: 120 mm smoothbore cannon
> Max speed: 42 mph
> Operational range: 164 – 265 miles
> Engine output: 1,500 horsepower
> Total units on/going to battlefield: 31

The M1 Abrams was first introduced in 1980 and has been battle tested in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. Due to a combination of its mobility, targeting capabilities, firepower, and armor, it is considered to be the world’s preeminent tank.

Used by both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, the latest iteration of the Abrams has a 120 mm cannon and can carry 42 rounds of ammunition, including explosive and anti-personnel shells. It is also equipped with .50 caliber and 7.62 caliber machine guns, and its advanced, computerized firing system has a 95% hit ratio. The tank weighs nearly 74 tons with advanced armor and is also outfitted with an air filter system designed to stand up to chemical and biological attacks. Propelled by jet fuel, the tank has a maximum speed of about 42 miles per hour and can travel about 164 miles off road and 265 miles on road.

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