Expansion of MRO support critical to the success of Western supplied armored vehicles in Ukraine, says GlobalData

Following the British Ministry of Defence’s announcement that western nations would supply the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) with Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and armored vehicles;

Tristan Sauer, Land Domain Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The decision to provide the AFU with the MBTs and armored vehicles the Ukrainian government has been requesting since the beginning of Russia’s invasion is a significant political milestone for NATO, which had previously seen such measures as too risky to entertain. Nations including Britain, France and the US are looking to pressure German lawmakers and other more reluctant allies to supply more heavy platforms, such as Germany’s advanced Leopard 2 MBTs which Ukraine has requested on numerous occasions.

“While the provision of more advanced mechanized platforms to the AFU will certainly provide tactical benefits, the strategic impact of these systems on the battlefield will hinge on Ukraine’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities. Acquiring the spare parts and technical knowledge required to keep these new western armored vehicles operational will prove difficult in Eastern Europe, requiring a secure supply chain between western suppliers and the AFU to keep pace with the heightened rate of mechanical failures or combat losses.

“Ukraine’s western allies have recognized this imperative, with the UK pledging an equipment support package sufficient to refurbish around 100 MBTs and armored vehicles. The UK also plans on supplying the AFU with armored recovery and repair vehicles alongside the 14 Challenger 2 MBTs, however, the inherent lack of logistical support facilities on the Ukrainian frontlines may render these platforms tokenistic at best.

“The groundswell of western political support for Ukraine is proving to have a positive strategic impact on the logistical capabilities of the AFU and its western allies. Ukrainian forces have adapted western weapons systems like NASAMS and Brimstone to suit their operational needs, while both official and volunteer networks source and supply niche equipment from throughout Europe.

“Ukraine’s western allies have also been forced to adapt their strategic outlooks, with the US Army currently refocusing its modernization efforts on streamlining expeditionary MRO facilities in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. For its part, the European Union’s directorate-general for Mobility and Transport is expanding its budget from €330 to €616 million in 2023 to enhance military mobility within the bloc.

“As the conflict in Ukraine nears the one-year mark, the mounting logistical failures of the Russian military and the AFU’s successes continue to highlight the importance of diversified but united supply chains and support networks in the field of international defense.”

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