The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were filmed moving their newly-acquired Oshkosh M-ATV MRAP to the frontline. The exact number of these armored vehicles is unknown, but military observers speculated it to be about 20.
The phrase “mine-resistant ambush-protected” (MRAP) refers to light tactical vehicles created by the US military as part of the MRAP program and specifically designed to survive IED strikes and ambushes.
As soon as the low-resolution video, recorded from a car moving adjacent to the convoy, surfaced online, it went viral and led analysts to claim that Ukraine has stepped up its activity along the frontlines.
Experts observed that it could particularly be aimed at encircling Russia and advancing into the flashpoint town of Bakhmut.
Some reports in the local Russian-language media suggested that an unknown number of tanks and the Oshkosh M-ATV were also sent to the battlefield.
In addition to reporting the development, the local Russian media report highlighted the vast number of vehicles moving to the frontline as evidence of the swelling of Western military aid for Kyiv.
Some pro-Russian military watchers and netizens asked why Russia did not destroy these vehicles while on their way to the frontlines. However, there was no information about the coordinates of the location where the movement of this convoy was recorded.
⚡️Column of American armored vehicles Oshkosh M-ATV and tankers of the Ukrainian army on one of the roads on the way to the front line. pic.twitter.com/KuvNPdVFw1
— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 17, 2023
Moreover, some pro-Russian netizens called the video a move at conducting ‘psychological warfare’ against Russia, with threats of a massive counteroffensive looming large.
?? A large column of US-made Oshkosh M-ATV's somewhere in Ukraine.
Ukrainian sources constantly put out these kind of videos in order to put psychological pressure on the Russians.
To me they just ride this same column over Ukraine just to get different backgrounds ??♂️ pic.twitter.com/wWaOnsj9DV
— ??Jacob??Charite?? (@jaccocharite) May 17, 2023
As a Ukrainian counteroffensive seems imminent (or has already started), the Russians have reportedly dug their heels, deploying many soldiers to hold positions on the frontlines and in the territories they occupied during the invasion.
Besides positioning troops, Moscow has dug trenches for the infantry and anti-tank ditches, obstacles, and prefabricated lines of defense like the diminutive concrete anti-tank pyramids known as dragon’s teeth. In addition to fortifying its defenses, it has unleashed an enormous missile and drone attack on Ukraine to dissuade it from launching a massive military operation.
The movement of Ukrainian vehicles and tanks is significant given that military analysts have opined that Ukraine’s counteroffensive might already be underway, despite the claims made by the Ukrainian President that the counterattack has been delayed.
In preparation for the counteroffensive, nine recently established “assault brigades” are being prepared for combat by Ukraine. The brigades mentioned in recent Air National Guard intelligence leaks are manned by Ukrainian volunteers and furnished with brand-new Western gear.
These brigades include Leopard 2 tanks from NATO, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker infantry combat vehicles, AMX-10RC armored vehicles from France, and other heavy equipment donated by Western nations. The brigades are anticipated to launch the assault from the front.
The movement of Oshkosh M-ATV, which has been inducted into the 37th Marine Brigade, lends weight to the argument that an offensive is in the works. Last month, there were reports that the Ukrainian Marine brigades were training on the French AMX-10RC armored fighting vehicles and American Oshkosh M-ATV MRAP vehicles.
American Oshkosh M-ATV
The reports of delivery of the Oshkosh M-ATV from the US to Ukraine first surfaced in March this year. Until then, there had been no public statements from the US about the potential shipment of this kind of vehicle to the Ukrainian military.
Military experts and officials have long stressed the importance of armored vehicles for Ukraine as the combat on the ground becomes more significant in the absence of air superiority over Ukraine by either side. The armored vehicles, for one, could aid the spring/summer offensive by transporting troops without the threat of an ambush. They are not tanks, but they can significantly assist ground combat.
The Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (or M-ATV) is a medium combat tactical armored vehicle. The four-wheel-drive all-terrain armored vehicle was created especially for American forces in Afghanistan to evade mines and offer better protection against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). It is currently in service with the US Army.
The M-ATV seats four passengers and one gunner and has an armor system with a “V” shaped hull designed to divert blasts from IEDs away from its occupants. The M-ATV weighs about 25,000 pounds, including equipment and fuel, although some armored vehicles can weigh more than 60,000 pounds.
The Oshkosh can be used for C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) missions, military intelligence, conventional and unconventional warfare, and special reconnaissance and target acquisition.
Oshkosh MRAP ATV is known to combine the defensive qualities of large armored vehicles and the mobility of smaller vehicles. The vehicle is believed to be well suited for urban warfare, making its availability with Ukraine a significant military addition.