The past ten months of combat operations in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war has resulted in a level of equipment destruction not seen in Europe since the Second World War, with open-source data indicating a combined loss from the two combatants of more than 11,000 military platforms to date.
In terms of equipment lost, the Ukraine-Russia war outstrips losses incurred during the intense urban fighting of Russia’s Chechen wars in the 1990s and 2000s. According to data analysis conducted by GlobalData using open-source intelligence from Oryx, the combined equipment losses of participants in the Chechen wars was 1,059 pieces of equipment, including 412 infantry fighting vehicles.
In addition, more than 200 tanks were destroyed in the fighting, along with a small number of artillery pieces. Airborne assets were also lost by the combatants, including 75 rotary-wing platforms. In contrast, analysis shows that in the Russo-Ukrainian war between 24 February and 21 December this year, a combined total of 11,128 pieces of military equipment from the two combatants have been destroyed in the fighting. This includes 2,021 tanks and 2,287 platforms that can be described as infantry fighting vehicles.
Data source: Oryx
Artillery, widely regarding as having a decisive affect on the battlefield, has also been subjected to combat attrition, with 390 units lost from both sides, likely through actions such as counter-battery, airstrike, and losses from battlefield retreats/advances.
Combat in the air was hard-fought in the early weeks of the war, although aerial action has dropped off as platforms and pilots have been lost, and anti-access, area denial zones established. A similar number of rotary-wing aircraft have been destroyed in the Ukraine war (100) as seen in the Chechen wars, although losses of fixed-wing aircraft are significantly higher in the skies over Ukraine (122) compared with Russia’s Chechnya combat operations (12).
The latest analysis shows that in the ongoing war in Ukraine, total Russian equipment losses reach 8,515 as of 21 December. In contrast, Ukraine’s military has lost 2,613 pieces of equipment in combat. Human casualties on both sides run into the tens of thousands.
Ukraine’s hybrid equipment list
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February this year, the Ukrainian military comprised mainly of Russian-origin equipment, with some designs being adapted slightly for in-country manufacture. However, the provision of equipment from NATO members states, including guided rocket artillery, has seen the make-up change to a more mixed affair, comprising European, US, and Russian-origin systems.
On 21 December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on a rare trip outside of Ukraine, met with US officials in Washington, DC, where it was announced that the US would provide the Patriot air defence missile system to Kyiv to aid in the fight against Russia. Including the latest round of equipment, the US has provided or promised to provide more than 11,000 military platforms for the land, sea, and air domains (crewed and uncrewed) and more than 105 million small arms, mortar, and artillery munitions, among an undisclosed number of other high-end missiles.
Platforms provided include Mi-17 helicopters and T-72 tanks, and western equipment such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, 155mm, 122mm, and 105mm artillery, and armoured mobility vehicles such as the M113, M1117, and Mine Resistant Protected Vehicles, also known as MRAPs.
The increased use of NATO-standard equipment, and the provision of required training by NATO forces in countries such as Germany and the UK, will see Ukraine’s military take on a more European-US bias moving forward. However, Russian-origin designs are likely to remain a prevalent part of Ukraine’s military structure for the foreseeable future, with the defence industrial base already producing air and land equipment from adapted Russian designs.
Data visualisations by Saywah Mahmood, Mengying Du, and Giacomo Boscaini-Gilroy.