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Russia's Pricey New Tank Can't Top The T-34, Which Is Still Going Strong Decades Later
Russia put on an intimidating show of force in 2015 by unveiling the T-14 Armata main battle tank, which represented a bold new design billed as an unstoppable NATO tank killer.
Russia was to make and field 2,300 T-14s by 2025, but as of 2019 only has some 100 on order and less than two dozen operating in tests, The Diplomat reports.
Four years later, Russia has scrapped plans to reproduce the tank that sputtered and stalled in Moscow's Red Square in the 2015 Victory Day parade, and found an older tank to do its job instead.
Russia on Thursday announced it had bought 30 WWII-era T-34 battle tanks from Laos, which it said were combat-ready, but would be used in parades and making WWII movies.
As The Drive pointed out, this means Russia will buy more of the 70-year-old tanks than it will of its new T-14, and it indicates how Russian President Vladimir Putin has changed course after failing to modernize his military.
T-14: The NATO killer that died in budget cuts
A T-14 Armata main battle tank in the streets of Moscow n May 2015.(Wikimedia Commons/Vitaly V. Kuzmin)
The T-14 in 2015 cast a menacing figure. Russia, previously crippled by debt and still shrugging off the collapse of the Soviet Union, had updated its main battle tank, something Western countries had only done incrementally.
While the US was adapting its M1 Abrams tank to urban combat against weaker enemies in Iraq, Russia had devised a tank designed to kill other tanks.
With automatic loading, an unmanned turret, reactive and active armor, and a bigger gun than any Western tank, Moscow had announced its focus on a return to the kind of conventional ground war that rocked Europe throughout the 21st century.
But like with many Russian defense projects, the bark proved worse than the bite. In the following years, Russia announced the T-14 wouldn't see mass production. Instead, Russia would upgrade its capable T-80 and T-90 tanks which were seeing combat in Ukraine and Syria.
While the upgraded T-90 tanks proved effective in those battlefields, they lacked the propaganda boost of a new, unstoppable tank afforded Putin.
Pivot to the past
T-34 Tanks mod. 1942 made at the Uralmash plant headed to the front in February 1942(Wikimedia Commons/RIA Novosti archive)
Putin's bet on the T-14 as the future face of Russia's military power failed, but, ever resourceful, Russia has now pivoted to the past.
Soviet tankers with T-34s in the eastern front of WWII fought in grueling battles that eventually saw Adolf Hitler's Nazi forces overwhelmed and the Soviet flag planted atop the Reichstag in Berlin.
Putin has frequently tried to revise and leverage the Soviet's hard-fought success in World War II to bolster nationalism and support for his aggressive government, which stands accused of war crimes in Syria and backing separatist forces in Ukraine.
A state-funded film titled "T-34," which tells the story of a Russian tank crew escaping a Nazi camp, smashed box office records in Russia in January. The Associated Press reported that any criticisms of the film have been silenced.
Now Russia will seek to use the T-34s in other propaganda spectacles, it said.
Russians have every reason to be proud of their country's massive sacrifice in WWII and the tanks that have operated for seven decades.
But the tanks, be they T-34s or T-14s, won't lift Russians out of poverty or allow them to enjoy any new opportunities.
Nor will they fight in wars, as they've always been pawns in a propaganda game deftly executed by Putin to scare the West with paper tigers and feed the public with empty stories of bygone greatness.
Read more from Business Insider:
- Russia just got 30 WWII-era battle tanks
- China moves 'ship killer' missiles into firing range as US warships infuriate Beijing in the South China Sea
- China revealed the J-20 stealth fighter's mission — and even the F-15 could likely wreck it
- As the US prepares to withdraw from Syria, the Trump administration still doesn't know what to do with hundreds of ISIS prisoners
- The problem with America's Syria policy isn't Trump. It's Syria
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.