Upcoming Ukrainian mud can make Abrams an easy Kornet ATGM target

The delayed delivery of US M1A1 Abrams tanks to the Ukrainian army may cause more problems than the obvious. BulgarianMilitary.com reported that the US will delay the delivery of Abrams to Ukraine by at least a few weeks due to increased training.

9M133 Kornet russian missile
Photo credit: Asia_Plus

At first glance, no big deal, you might think. But in reality, this is a very big problem that is not mentioned. A few weeks later means entering the autumn season in Ukraine preceded by autumn rains. The Ukrainian mud, also known as the Ukrainian black earth, was one of the reasons why the Ukrainian spring offensive turned into a summer one.

Well, it’s that time of the year again when combat vehicles will be hampered in their movement. And Ukraine is in a disadvantageous position – its troops will have to attack, i.e. to move while the Russians will defend, i.e. they will have taken up defensive positions.

A matter of image

Let’s look at the political side of the issue – Russia has already destroyed the first English-supplied tank to Ukraine, the Challenger 2. In fact, the Russian army became the first in history to destroy an English Challenger 2 tank.

This undoubtedly affects the image of British combat equipment. Until now, Challenger 2 has been known for this very fact. Russian sources even claim that a second Challenger 2 was destroyed by the Kornet anti-tank missile system of the last century.

This destruction of Western-supplied equipment in Ukraine is emblematic. It proves that there are no untouchable weapons and that anything Russian or Ukrainian can be humiliated, regardless of advertising messages and patriotic thoughts and comments of a section of society. Everything burns in the same way – both Russian armor, British armor, and American armor.

Russia recalled the destruction of Abrams tanks with RPG-7s
Photo credit: Wikimedia

It is already speculated that the destroyed Challenger 2 tank is the reason why the US increased the training time of Ukrainian tank crews. In this way, the US hopes not to have to send Abrams to Ukraine and suffer the same humiliation from the Russian active media. On the other hand, the incoming Ukrainian mud can also be used as a possible “re-delay” of the delivery of American tanks. But why is mud scary for the M1 Abrams?

Traction and maneuverability

Abrams M1 tanks are designed to operate in a variety of weather conditions, including rain and muddy terrain. While heavy rains and Ukrainian mud may present some challenges, they are unlikely to completely prevent tanks from moving.

The tanks are equipped with powerful engines and advanced suspension systems that allow them to move through difficult terrain. However, tank performance may be affected to some extent.

Mud can reduce traction and make it difficult for tanks to maneuver quickly and efficiently. This can also increase the risk of jamming or silting, requiring additional time and effort to restore the tanks. Therefore, while tanks can still operate in such conditions, their combat performance may be somewhat compromised.

Abrams has rain/mud countermeasures

To mitigate the effects of rain and mud, Abrams M1 tanks are equipped with features that improve their mobility. The tanks have wide chains that spread their weight over a larger surface area, reducing the likelihood of sinking into soft ground.

In addition, the tanks have high ground clearance, which allows them to pass through muddy terrain without getting stuck. The tanks also have a self-cleaning system for their chains that helps prevent mud build-up and maintain traction.

These design features allow the tanks to continue moving even in difficult weather conditions, although their speed and agility may be slightly reduced. But it is precisely the agility and reduced speed that will be a problem for the Ukrainian Abrams crews. When these stats are underrated, tanks become easy targets.

Bad weather will affect the accuracy

The impact of rain and mud on the combat performance of the Abrams M1 tanks goes beyond just mobility. Tanks rely on advanced guidance systems and sensors to accurately engage targets and assess the battlefield.

Russia: US doesn't want photos of Abrams stuck in the Ukrainian mud
Photo credit: YouTube

Heavy rain and muddy conditions can affect the operation of these systems. Rain can affect optics and sensors, reducing visibility and potentially affecting target acquisition. Mud spatter on the outside of the tank can also obstruct visibility and make it more difficult for the crew to spot and engage enemy threats.

Therefore, while tanks can still operate in such conditions, their ability to effectively attack targets and maintain situational awareness may be compromised.

Support against bad weather

In addition, the maintenance and logistics of the Abrams M1 tanks can be more challenging in rainy and muddy environments. Mud can build up on the exterior and components of the tanks, requiring more frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Tanks may also require additional resources and equipment for recovery operations if they become stranded or immobilized. These factors can increase the logistical burden and potentially limit the combat readiness of tanks.

It is therefore important for military forces to consider environmental conditions and plan accordingly to ensure effective deployment and maintenance of tanks in such environments.

Ukraine expects 31 Abrams tanks in May in Grafenwöhr, Germany
Photo credit: Twitter

Why Kornet ATGM?

The Kornet Anti-Tank Guided Missile [ATGM] is a Russian-made weapon system designed to destroy armored vehicles. It is a wire-guided missile that can be launched from various platforms, including ground-based launchers, vehicles, and helicopters.

The missile is equipped with a tandem-charge warhead, which consists of two explosive charges. The first charge is designed to penetrate the vehicle’s armor, while the second charge is intended to detonate inside the vehicle, causing maximum damage. The Kornet ATGM has been in production since the late 1990s and is still in use by various countries around the world.

The Kornet ATGM works by utilizing a semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight [SACLOS] guidance system. This means that the operator must keep the missile’s crosshairs on the target until impact.

The missile is launched from a tube, and once it is in flight, the operator uses a joystick to guide the missile toward the target. The missile’s guidance system receives commands from the operator via a wire that connects the launcher to the missile. This wire allows the operator to make adjustments to the missile’s flight path, ensuring accurate targeting.

The 1990s produced

The Kornet ATGM was first produced in the late 1990s by the Russian company KBP Instrument Design Bureau. It was developed as a successor to the earlier AT-5 Spandrel missile. Since its introduction, the Kornet has gained popularity and has been exported to numerous countries, including Algeria, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. It has also been used in various conflicts, such as the Syrian Civil War and the Yemeni Civil War.

The Kornet ATGM carries a tandem-charge warhead, which consists of two explosive charges. The first charge is a precursor charge that neutralizes the vehicle’s reactive armor, if present. The second charge is the main warhead, which is designed to penetrate the vehicle’s armor and cause significant damage.

Russia's-Kornet-D1-ATGM-uses-an-FAE-warhead-and-hits-two-targets
Photo credit: DefenceTurk

The missile’s warhead is capable of penetrating up to 1,200 millimeters of rolled homogeneous armor [RHA], making it effective against a wide range of armored vehicles, including main battle tanks.

Kornet ATGM vs. armor

The Kornet ATGM has been successful in various conflicts and has demonstrated its effectiveness against armored vehicles. It has been reported to have successfully destroyed tanks and other armored targets, including those equipped with reactive armor.

The missile’s high penetration capability and accuracy make it a formidable weapon against armored threats. Its success in combat has led to its widespread adoption by different armed forces and insurgent groups.

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