Russian Tank Count from Imaging Analysis

More accurate counts of tanks in Russian storage tell us when Russia’s ability to replace destroyed tanks will drop. This will be a further drop in Russia’s military capability. The other key take away is that traditional military assessment sources like the International Institute for Strategic Studies (British research institute) are likely less accurate than hard working private investigation using public or commercial satellite imagery.

Youtube channel Covert Cable has used satellite imaging to count the good and bad Russian tanks at Russian bases and tank storage areas. Russia has lost about 2000 tanks in the war with Ukraine so far. Russia is losing about 150 tanks each month. Russia is restoring about 90 tanks each month from its tanks in storage. Russia can build about 20 new tanks each month.

Bad tanks are those without turrets. There are maintenance activities that are needed each year to keep tanks from deteriorating. In seven months, 785 good tanks were removed from storage and another 700 were removed before the war. In March 2023, there are 3911 good tanks available in Russian storage. Russia has about two years of tanks left. 270 of the tanks are T55, which are 70 year old tanks.

Russia will be building 240 new tanks each year and they will try to increase their new tank build rate. Russia will run out of tanks to refurbish and that will drop their ability to replace lost tanks.

UPDATE: I have another article looking at the critical summer offensives and more analysis of the Russia-Ukraine war.

27 thoughts on “Russian Tank Count from Imaging Analysis”

  1. Incorrect, the Russian markings are clear and easy to spot by necessity.

    Only a fully burned tank can lose those markings and very few tanks burn so completely, there are also plenty of physical revisions and upgrades to the tanks that make it possible to identify which side the tank belongs to, even if fully burned.

    If there are misidentified tanks, it’s a tiny percent of the total.

    If anything oryx’s tally of Russian losses is LOW because it’s guaranteed that not every vehicle lost has had it’s picture taken and uploaded to social media & found by oryx.

    I’d say you’ve been fed some Russian propaganda over the matter.

  2. Nonsense? These numbers are in accordance with military intelligence estimates, and photographic evidence. In fact, it is a carefull estimate and may even be somewhat higher.

  3. These Russian based bots and propaganda trolls continue to lie, like is their 2nd nature.

    I will never forget what I learned from Black Book of Communism. Soviet communists from Russia caused millions of Ukrainians to die of starvation. The soldiers came and took all the food from Ukrainian farmers and left them with nothing. If they tried to hide some and were found out they were shot or similar. Some rebelled and were killed. Poor people did not have anything to eat and were dying like flies. Some resorted to cannibalism, because they were hungry and wanted to survive. Where was the basic food? Forcefully taken away from them by soldiers, which have their orders from Moscow. Millions died.

    I am very careful on every demagogue or populist who plays on similar cards like the communists were using. For example: “It is the will of the people”, “The rich elites, capitalists are the enemy”,..

    Trump is using similar populist playbook. That he is kind of hero, who is fighting against rich, corrupt elites and is the “champion” of the people.
    Actions say otherwise, he publicly praised Russian president. He lies and cheats all the time. If he is really doing something for “the people”, why did he not spend more time working-
    governing? Why did he play golf and spend so much time on Twiiter attacking his opponents instead of working?
    Why did he lower taxes for the rich and corporations?
    After he in charge, what he did is divide USA even more and radicalize both dems and reps. That is classical example of divide and rule military strategy.

    I hope republicans vote for someone else and find some decent, capable guy.

  4. No nation would waste the resources required to mobilize and supply museum pieces like T-55s if they had more modern tanks available in abundance.

  5. As wrong as it could be. Russia had about twenty thousand tanks in the storage of all types, 7 thousand t-72 and t-80 alone. Secondly – 20 tanks a month is a huge underestimation. It’s more like a pre-war production rate for T-90 alone, before the last year’s rump-up. Medvedev recently estimated the production rate of all types of tanks as 1500 per year. So you better correct your estimates by 50-100 years.

    • I provided sources with satellite images for my figures in this article. What are the sources for your claims? If Medvedev is right and you are right then where are all these tanks and why is Russian media confirming that T-54s are being sent and where are the mass tank based attacks?

    • No, you are as wrong as can be, you are just squirting completely outdated numbers, without any knowledge.
      Even the Russians themselves reduced their stored tank inventory several years ago already, to just over 10,000. And most of those are scrap metal.
      This study, which I had already seen myself, is probably one of the most accurate.
      And the fact that Russia is getting so many old tanks out of storage is also telling.

    • Since when, and where? It’s been practically stalemate since the last big counteroffensive. Russia is faltering.

  6. Ruble is loosing its value. Sanctions are beginning to work. They managed to inflate it in short term though.

    The consequences of communist history are as we see it. Capable people don’t have enough motivation, because one party nepotism is above all others. Army is in bad condition as well as economy. Not all Russians are bad, but considering years of inner atrocities under communist regimes the nation has traumatic history. General Russian population will need to find strength to resist brainwashing and find a way to real democracy. As long as regime continues to meddle in Usa, EU affairs and try to swing elections or foster inner conflict in western nations, they should be considered hostile.

  7. I think the broader point here is that there is a definite limit on what Russia has and how long it will last. NATO is effectively acting as a protected industrial rear area for Ukraine. Who’s industrial base is larger and can last longer, NATO or Russia? Obvious answer and anyone who says “Russia” just isn’t being serious.

    Tanks are just a proxy for other military resources. Truth is this war has an expiration date. So long as the west continues to support Ukraine the outcome is inevitable.

  8. Other question: how many experienced tanker crews does Russia have? It takes time to train a new crew.

    • It doesn, indeed, take time and they have to be trained by experienced tankers. Having specialized ranges and simulators helps a lot. A tank without an experienced crew is just an expensive coffin.

  9. A good tank has an engine and transmission. Many were sold on the black market for industrial power generation, over the road trucks, and farm equipment.

  10. Even a tank that isn’t destroyed is experiencing wear from being in a combat zone. The length of time it takes to get parts and keep tanks in a working state could lengthen as manpower is strained

    • The fact that Russia has been using tanks as improvised Self-Propelled Artillery just further accelerates this wear. T-72/T-80/T-90 cannot have their barrels replaced in the field and their barrels are only good for ~750 rounds before they’re shot out.

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