Ukraine’s Leopard tanks are encountering significant challenges in combat due to the advanced Russian weaponry and the constraints of their air defense network.
Numerous videos circulating on social networks depict the Russian Lancet-3 suicide drone inflicting considerable damage to the German-made Leopard 2 main battle tank during the conflict in Ukraine.
The Leopards faced multiple threats on the battlefield, including artillery shell strikes, anti-tank missile attacks from Ka-52 Alligator helicopters, and encountering dense minefields set by Russian and special forces. However, the impact of suicide drone attacks has been particularly notable.
Recently, videos emerged on Twitter showing two Leopard tanks being targeted by the Lancet-3 Lancet suicide drone. These videos offer different perspectives, one from the attacking drone’s camera rushing at the tank and another from a separate UAV observing the attack from above.
Although the videos do not reveal the aftermath of the attacks, military experts agree that the tanks likely suffered significant damage and might no longer be operational for combat.
The Lancet-3 UAV has proven to be a highly effective weapon on the Ukrainian battlefield, reportedly responsible for destroying up to 45% of artillery systems supplied by NATO countries since the conflict began in February 2022.
The Lancet-3 suicide drones are primarily utilized for “counterattack” missions, meaning they are employed to respond to enemy offensives. Several videos shared on social media showcase the Lancet-3’s capability in destroying numerous US M777 light howitzers, Polish KRAB self-propelled howitzers (SPGs), as well as several small Ukrainian naval vessels, radars, and surface-to-air missile (SAM) guns. These instances highlight the drone’s effectiveness in neutralizing a range of enemy targets during the ongoing conflict.
In a significant military engagement on the Zaporizhzhia front, the Lancet UAV demonstrated its formidable capabilities by successfully eliminating two Ukrainian Leopard 2A6 tanks. The recorded video reveals the intense moment as the targeting net from the Lancet UAV’s camera rapidly closed in on one of the tanks, while the Lancet-3 UAV, flying overhead, executed a precise maneuver directly into the turret of the other tank, leading to their destruction. This display of advanced technology and tactical prowess highlights the effectiveness of the Lancet UAV in combat situations.
During the Lancet tank attacks, the initial impact explosion may appear insignificant, but it is followed by a larger explosion, indicating possible hits on the tank’s fuel storage or ammunition depot. Numerous videos demonstrate this pattern, where small explosions, smoke, and light flames initially mislead observers, only to escalate rapidly into intense fires and significant explosions as ammunition storage ignites. This method has proven effective in destroying several Polish KRAB self-propelled guns.
As for the Leopard 2A6 targeted in the video, its final condition remains uncertain. Russian Telegram groups claim that the explosion inflicted substantial damage, potentially rendering the tank unserviceable in its current state.
In the second video, the Lancet drone crashes into the cannon of another Leopard, believed to be the 2A4 variant. An attack on the turret could lead to the detonation of the ammunition magazine, causing a secondary explosion. This tactic poses a serious threat to armored vehicles during military confrontations.
According to military experts, Ukraine’s attempted counteroffensive has been widely reported as unsuccessful. Despite their efforts, they were unable to reclaim any positions held by Russian troops along the extensive 1,000 km front, including Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. Regrettably, Ukraine also suffered significant casualties during this operation.
While Moscow remains watchful of Ukraine’s actions, the Russian military commanders exercise caution, understanding the potential consequences of hasty decisions.
In the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the Leopard tank and the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, supported by Western aid, are considered crucial assets, along with other combat vehicles like the AMX-10 tank from France and Australia’s Bushmaster armored vehicle.
The main challenge faced by the Ukrainian armored forces lies in the formidable artillery fire and the powerful air force of Russia. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s air defense systems are not substantial enough to adequately protect their combat formations. This imbalance poses a major hurdle for the Ukrainian forces during the conflict.