MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. German Leopard 2 tanks that some NATO countries intend to supply to Ukraine have good armor but can be effectively wiped out by Kornet anti-tank missile systems, Vikhr and Ataka air-launched missiles and 125mm Mango armor-piercing shells, the state tech corporation Rostec told TASS on Wednesday.
"The Leopard 2 is a modern and well-protected vehicle but cannot be called invulnerable. Combat experience has shown that these tanks can be obliterated even with old man-portable anti-tank missile systems that are considerably inferior by their performance to weapons operational in the Russian Army, in particular, Kornet anti-tank missile systems," Rostec said.
As compared to Russian tanks, the Leopards lack explosive reactive armor and thus are vulnerable to Russian Vikhr and Ataka missiles employed by Russian combat aircraft to successfully wipe out Ukrainian armor, it said.
"The German tanks will surely be knocked out by 125mm Mango shells, regardless of the angle of their hits: a tank will be destroyed, if a projectile hits its front armor or its side. The Russian Army operates T-90M Proryv tanks that outshine the Leopards in terms of some performance characteristics and can effectively fight them," Rostec stressed.
The German government confirmed on January 25 that it would send Ukraine 14 Leopard 2 tanks and authorize their re-export from other countries. As German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said, the first Leopards can be delivered to Ukraine in about three to four months’ time.
Kornet anti-tank weapons, missiles and shells
The Kornet (NATO reporting name: AT-14 Spriggan) is an anti-tank missile system engineered by the Tula-based Shipunov Design Bureau of Instrument-Making (part of High Precision Systems Holding Company) and designed to engage tanks and other armored targets, including combat vehicles with modern reactive armor. The anti-tank weapon has an operational range of 100 meters to 5,500 meters in the daytime and up to 3,500 meters at night.
Vikhr-M missiles were developed by the Kalashnikov firearms manufacturer for the Ka-52 attack helicopter. The missiles can accelerate to 610 meters per second and hit targets at a range of 800 meters to 10,000 meters. The Vikhr is capable of puncturing 750mm homogenous reactive armor.
The Ataka anti-tank missile is designed to strike enemy armor, manpower, bunkers, air defense sites and helicopters. The missile engineered by the Kolomna Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau has been mass-produced by the Degtyarev Plant. The Ataka is capable of accelerating to 550 m/s and features an enhanced warhead.
The 125mm Mango sub-caliber armor-piercing tank projectile is designed to engage enemy tanks, self-propelled artillery systems and other heavily armored targets. In 2019, Russia unveiled the Mango-M projectile with enhanced armor-piercing capabilities.