Tank You Vedy Much

T-14 Armata on display. (AP photo)

T-14 Armata on display.
(AP photo)

So Russia’s new main battle tank isn’t a turretless design as was supposed last month — and all the way back in the mid-’80s. The turret though is reduced in size and the crew moved outside of it, to an “armored capsule” forward of the turret. There’s no telling how it will perform in combat, but the look is thoroughly modern and historically Russian all at once.

It may also prove historically Russian in its reliability, if this story is anything to go by:

A new Russian tank announced with much fanfare as superior to Western machines stalled during a dress rehearsal for Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on Thursday.

The T-14 Armata, making only its second public appearance, ground to a halt on Red Square, opposite Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minster, was reportedly forced to approach the tank to find out what had happened; servicemen then tried to hook it up to another military vehicle and tow it away.

That attempt was unsuccessful but the tank finally moved off after an expert from the Urals factory – where it was made – took the controls, according to Alexei Zharich, the deputy general director of Uralvagonzavod, the tank’s manufacturer.

Don’t get too excited — new systems always have teething problems (see the last 1,000,006 items I’ve posted about the F-35) and usually at the most embarrassing possible time.