Russian T-72 main battle tanks currently operating in Ukraine appear to be surviving hits from the U.S.-made Javelin anti -tank guided missile (ATGM) in service with the Ukrainian Army.
Javelins ATGM attack tanks from top down hitting at the least protected part of the tank.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD)’s spokesperson, Igor Konashenkov, during a briefing on March 2 said that a Russian tank crew led by Senior Lieutenant Starostin was attacked by the American Javelin ATGM, received a shell shock, but still was able to operate and destroyed two Ukrainian tanks.
The spokesperson was recounting the “heroism” of Russian tank crew shown during the “special military operation in Ukraine,” which Kyiv is calling an “invasion.”
In another battle, “the crew of one of the Russian tanks under the command of senior sergeant Nimchenko, destroyed 6 tanks and 3 BTR-80, as well as more than 90 nationalists (killed), within 40 minutes,” the spokesperson said.
Russian tanks sporting peculiar top canopy
Some Russian T-72 tanks in Ukraine have been seen sporting a square top canopy with twin layer of steel. The canopy looks like an add-on welding and has not been seen in any previous iterations of the T-72. A section of observers say that the canopy’s purpose is to deflect ATGMs such as the Javelin. Others say the tanks with the steel canopy have been seen in urban areas which could mean they are to protect against small arms fire coming from rooftops.
Ukraine social media replete with images of destroyed Russian tanks
While the Ukrainian Army has not announced the number of Russian tanks destroyed, social media is full of images showing burning Russian tanks. Besides Javelin ATGMs, the Ukrainians are using Bayraktar TB2 drones to destroy Russian tanks. Videos of Russian tanks in the cross-hairs of Bayraktar and then going boom as a missile from it hits the tanks are all too common on social media.