Images on social media have shown ageing T62 tanks on rail cars heading to the frontline in Ukraine. One of the reasons that Moscow is relying on such ancient vehicles is the success of Ukrainian tank teams supplied with western weaponry.
The US Javelin and Anglo-Swedish NLAW (Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) missiles have made a particular impact and forced the Kremlin to use desperate measures.
Another key factor is the dogged nature of Ukrainian resistance since the start of the Russian invasion in February, reported The Telegraph.
It is likely that the shortage of tanks will increase not only because of the war but also because western sanctions are likely to impact Russia’s military industrial sector.
According to British military intelligence Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces are likely to receive the vehicles.
The Ministry of Defence said that the T-62’s will be “particularly vulnerable” to anti tank weapons.
They said: “The T-62s will almost certainly be particularly vulnerable to anti-tank weapons and their presence on the battlefield highlights Russia’s shortage of modern, combat-ready equipment.”
The T-62, a 41-tonne tank with a 115mm main gun, was produced in the Soviet Union from 1961 to 1975.
However it was largely replaced as Moscow’s main battle tank when the T-72 entered service in 1969.
T-62’s are also likely to be much easier to destroy than modern tanks.
Older anti-tank missiles or even rocket-propelled grenades will make a serious impact.
T-62’s arriving on the battlefield is also likely to put Russia’s faltering logistic system under further strain.
Spare parts are hard to get hold of and unlikely to be in pristine condition.
The main gun is 115mm, a different calibre from the other tanks in Russia’s service that use 125mm rounds, something that is likely to cause problems.