Following the delivery of American M2 Bradley fighting vehicles to Ukraine in April, multiple Western sources have reported at least one third of the vehicles have been visually confirmed as having been abandoned, damaged or destroyed, ‘Military Watch Magazine’ informs.
This was supported by prior reports, including one from the New York Times, highlighting that Ukraine’s Western-trained 47th Mechanised Brigade had lost 30 percent of its Bradleys within just two weeks.
The first images of the vehicles taking heavy losses in combat, alongside German supplied Leopard 2A6 tanks, emerged in early June. Although Washington has pledged to continue to supply new Bradleys to Ukraine, and to eventually supplement them with M1A2 Abrams tanks, it has also repeatedly been made clear by officials and lawmakers in the United States that the future of arms supplies to the Eastern European country will depend heavily on the success of its new offensives.
The offensive against Russian positions which began in early June has so far seeing Ukrainian forces gain little ground and take tremendous losses, which has been highly damaging to the reputations of many key weapons systems including the Bradley and the Leopard 2.
Older Leopard 1 tanks, which have been delivered in much lager numbers, have continued to take losses in combat. Russian attack helicopters have been highlighted in both Western and Russian reports to be taking a particularly heavy toll on Ukrainian armour.
Russian sources have particularly praised the performance of the new Vikhr-1 anti armour missile, which is deployed by Ka-52 attack helicopters, and which has been seen in footage destroying Bradleys on multiple occasions. The missiles use HEAT (high explosive anti tank) rounds designed specifically to counter heavy armour, including explosive reactive armour which Ukraine has added to at least some of its German built vehicles.
Pentagon sources previously touted Bradleys as “tank-killers,” predicting that they would provide “a level of firepower and armour that will bring advantages on the battlefield.” The vehicle does have formidable anti armour capabilities, despite the low calibers of its guns, due to use of anti tank missiles and integration of depleted uranium rounds with extra penetrating power onto its guns. The vehicles have nevertheless been criticised since their late design stages as under armoured and thus insufficiently protected to engage in high intensity conflict.
The fact that the vehicles have not been produced for close to 30 years means the undermining of their reputation is unlikely to seriously impact America’s arms export profile.
Accordingly, a new $800 military aid package for Ukraine announced by the Joe Biden administration earlier in July includes 32 more Bradleys.