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Russia is installing toilets in the wildly expensive T-14 Armata battle tanks it can't afford
It's hard to wage war when nature calls, so Russia is installing toilets in its troubled third-generation T-14 main battle tanks, Russian state media revealed Thursday.
The days of relieving themselves in fuel and ammo cans or hopping out to dig single-use latrines are apparently over for Russia's tank crews, at least those manning the T-14 Armata tanks, Ilya Baranov, a senior official at the Ural Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building in Yekaterinburg, told TASS News Agency.
"A major hassle for [tank crews] is that they cannot relieve their natural functions," Baranov explained, "That is, water and field rations are available in the tank, but all the other conveniences are, unfortunately, absent."
The Armata has solved this problem. "This tank provides this possibility for a crew to perform lengthy combat missions" without having to stop, he said.
The T-14, presented as a devastating supertank featuring upgraded armor, armaments, and engine technology, made its public debut at the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade, where one embarrassingly broke down and had to be towed away during rehearsal.
Russia had initially intended to mass produce and field as many as 2,300 Armatas by 2025, but, as has been previously reported, that number has been reduced to no more than 100, The War Zone reported last year. Russia has less than two dozen prototypes available for testing.
State trials for the T-14 are expected to begin this year, and the first Armatas will be delivered to the 1st Guards Tank Regiment of 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division, according to The Diplomat.
As early as 2015, there were signs that the cost of this state-of-the-art tank, which includes an unmanned turret and other expensive features, was way over budget. The actual cost of the Armata was estimated to be 2.45 times the figure in the State Armaments Program for 2020.
The T-14 program never took off like the Russians hoped. Instead of buying more Armatas, Russia has opted to upgrade and improve its older T-72, T-80, and T-90 tanks, capable armor but nothing like what Russia promised for the Armatas.
The decision to invest elsewhere came with excuses similar to those made for the country's problematic Su-57 fifth-generation stealth fighter, the mass production of which has been put off in exchange for improvements to the country's fourth-generation fighters.
"These models are quite expensive in relation to existing ones," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said of the T-14 tanks last July. "Why flood all the armed forces with the Armata tanks?" Repeated budget cuts simply put mass production of the much touted supertank out of reach.
But even with the tanks being over budget, it appears that Russia considers onboard lavatories a priority for the next-generation battle tanks.
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Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.
On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.
Fatal training accidents are on the rise. Now the families of the fallen are pushing lawmakers to do something about it
CAMP PENDLETON — Susan and Michael McDowell attended a memorial in June for their son, 1st Lt. Conor McDowell. Kathleen Isabel Bourque, the love of Conor's life, joined them. None of them had anticipated what they would be going through.
Conor, the McDowells' only child, was killed during a vehicle rollover accident in the Las Pulgas area of Camp Pendleton during routine Marine training on May 9. He was 24.
Just weeks before that emotional ceremony, Alexandrina Braica, her husband and five children attended a similar memorial at the same military base, this to honor Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion who also was killed in a rollover accident, April 13, at age 29.
Braica, of Sacramento, was married and had a 4 1/2-month-old son.
"To see the love they had for Josh and to see the respect and appreciation was very emotional," Alexandrina Braica said of the battalion. "They spoke very highly of him and what a great leader he was. One of his commanders said, 'He was already the man he was because of the way he was raised.' As parents, we were given some credit."
While the tributes helped the McDowells and Braicas process their grief, the families remain unclear about what caused the training fatalities. They expected their sons eventually would deploy and put their lives at risk, but they didn't expect either would die while training on base.
"We're all still in denial, 'Did this really happen? Is he really gone?' Braica said. "When I got the phone call, Josh was not on my mind. That's why we were at peace. He was always in training and I never felt that it would happen at Camp Pendleton."
North Korea threatens to resume nuclear weapons and ICBM tests if US-South Korea military exercises proceed
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States looks set to break a promise not to hold military exercises with South Korea, putting talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at risk, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.
Customs and Border Patrol denied a Marine vet entry into the US for his a scheduled citizenship interview
A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.