RUSSIA. How the war changed the defense production and logistics chain

Since the beginning of military operations against Ukraine, the Russian Army has suffered very heavy losses, especially in terms of weaponry. The available figures thus indicate more than 1,600 heavy tanks, but also nearly 3,500 heavy armored vehicles and 300 mobile artillery systems that were destroyed, damaged or captured by the Ukrainians. This is between 20 and 60% of her pre-war stocks, depending on the equipment category.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian losses are also significant, given the difference in “tonnage” of the two contenders: 450 tanks, less than 900 heavy armored vehicles and about a hundred documented mobile artillery systems, but these losses still account for 20 at 40% of its starting stock, it reports Meta Defense.

In addition, the Ukrainian army received, from the very first weeks of engagement, additional equipment, in particular heavy armored vehicles supplied by Eastern European countries, including Polish and Czech T-72 and PT-91 tanks, as well as BMP1/ 2 infantry fighting vehicles and S-300 anti-aircraft systems.

At the same time, the Russian defense industry was dealing with the consequences of Western sanctions, with a very significant slowdown in production rates, particularly in terms of armored vehicles.

For example, the Uralvagonzavod plant in Nizhny Tagil, which produced the T-73B3M, T80BVM and T90M tanks, as well as the BMP-2M infantry fighting vehicles, was almost at a standstill between April and June, while now producing 40-50 armored vehicles heavy per month.

Moreover, even with low production capacities, Ukraine managed, in particular relying on captured equipment, but also on the industrial capabilities of some of its European neighbors, to repair its own armored vehicles, maintain a positive momentum and erode the ‘initial numerical advantage, to the point where the two forces would now be relatively evenly matched in terms of heavy armour.

The imminent arrival of the American Bradley and German Marder infantry fighting vehicles and the French AMX-10RC light tanks, are the last western supplies.

Since this summer, however, Moscow has changed its industrial strategy, redistributing the cards in this conflict.

Indeed, after the initial shock of Western sanctions, Russian manufacturers, especially those involved in the production of armored vehicles, have reorganized their production but also their supply chain, even at the cost of giving up certain capacities on the models they manufacture.

Thus, as mentioned, the same Uralvagonzavod plant resumed, from the beginning of autumn, the production of heavy tanks, in this case the transformation of T-72A into T-72B3M, T-80BV into T-80BVM, T- 90A in T90M and BMP -2 in BMP-2M (M for modernized), as well as the construction of new T-90M, at a now very strong pace of 40-50 armored vehicles per month, which is 4 times higher than before war.

To achieve this, the Russian Defense relied heavily on Chinese and Hong Kong electronic components to replace the European, Japanese and American semiconductors used up to that time, and some functionalities were eliminated or degraded, particularly in terms of of night vision and targeting, due to less capable components or the absence of some non-replaceable components.

In short, the quantity of the dish was preferred to the quality with the results that are common for all to see. Moscow has turned to Beijing to replace military components, along the lines of what China itself did in previous years, which bet everything on home-made precisely to eliminate similar failures.

The factories work with shifts that rotate over 25 hours a day, to avoid production interruptions and guarantee an adequate production line.

To this must be added the improvements in logistics and in the distribution of vehicles. Questions still open and at the center of widespread reports that the Russian Defense Minister, Sergej Shoigu, will have to illustrate in detail at the beginning of February to the Russian president Vladimir Putin in a meeting dedicated precisely to ways to improve logistics and distribution of tools of the forces in the field in Ukraine .

Anna Lotti

Follow our updates on Geopolitical Gleanings: and on our blog Le Spigolature by AGCNEWS:

RUSSIA. How the war changed the defense production and logistics chain