The military-industrial complex is a major part of the Macro economy. In 2020, the Defense Department spent 3.4% of GDP, or $714 Billion.
A lot of military spending is for personnel, but billions go to defense contractors for hardware.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been called a “proxy war” by the Russians because so many western armaments are being shipped to Ukraine. There hasn’t been a live-fire testing ground for conventional weapons on this scale since World War 2.
The sinking of the Russian flag ship, Moskva, has just been joined by the destruction of Russia’s most advanced tank, the TM-90. The article doesn’t describe the weapon used to destroy the tank.
I hope that the U.S. military and contractors learn about the vulnerabilities of U.S. hardware from the Russian experience in Ukraine. Extremely expensive ships, planes and tanks are being destroyed by hand-held weapons and relatively inexpensive guided missiles. I hope that our generals and engineers realize that a lot of the U.S. military would be equally vulnerable.
I also wonder whether the shipments of arms to Ukraine are so large that our defense contractors will receive large replacement orders.
There hasn’t been a live-fire testing ground for conventional weapons on this scale since World War 2.
Except for Korea and Viet Nam and Iraq.
The vulnerability of the Russian tanks has been known since roughly 1990 (or earlier). It is a design flaw that was never fixed in the newer versions of their tanks.
Western tanks use a different design that mostly eliminates that design flaw.
Iraq and “Live fire testing”
One of my favorite recalls from the Iraq war was CNN’s Arnett giving real time forward observer reports on cruise missile hits in Baghdad. January 17, 1991.
Gave CNN a major viewership boost, and gave US Navy instant feedback on how the stuff was working. The linked article gives more detail.
I didn’t see it in the article, but IIRC Arnett was describing in detail how missiles were swerving around buildings that were to be avoided and then hitting their targets.
A mere 31 years ago. My how time flies.
Peter Arnett at CNN Broadcasts the First Live Television Coverage of War
Wendy: has just been joined by the destruction of Russia’s most advanced tank, the TM-90.
TM-90 is an upgraded T-72 intended mostly as a modest price export model to many countries armies that can’t afford to build their own. It suffers all the flaws of the T-72 that are well known from Afghanistan notable the autoloader that occasionally loads the gunners forearm and three man crew that can’t change a broken track … because it takes four men for the job.
Operators around the World
Even though the T-90 tank is produced for the Russian Army, it is not exclusively used by them. The T-90 tank is being exported and sold to many countries around the world:
Algeria: It has 572 tanks of the variant T-90SA
Armenia: It has more than 30 Units of the variant T-90S
Azerbaijan: It has a 100 T-90S tank
India: It has a 2078 T-90S tank
Iraq: It has 73 T-90S/SK tank
When Moscow intervened in Syria in 2015, the Syrian rebels had the American TOW-2A missiles, and here the big scandal happened. Many filmed videos show the Syrian rebels firing the TOW missiles onto the T-90 tank and knocking it out completely.
To use words borrowed from elsewhere, “this ain’t no wonder weapon”.
TM-90 is an upgraded T-72 intended mostly as a modest price export model to many countries armies that can’t afford to build their own. It suffers all the flaws of the T-72 that are well known from Afghanistan notable the autoloader that occasionally loads the gunners forearm…
IIRC, the main disadvantage to the T-72/90 design is the Jack-in-the-Box syndrome. The ammo is stored up top by the turret rather than in a separate compartment. One hit and the tank goes up like Jack…