In Russian army there is some not usual event they have every year since recently. They call it “The Tank Biathlon”. Sort of big bunch of tanks with colored flags each compete for some targets. But because this is a pan Russian game they need to supply only a few teams so they have pre-qualification games in regions to select the best of the best to go compete in federal tournament. So these are the regional games among a few tank regiments of Russia. Yuri, the photographer, has visited those and here are some photos:
All tanks that participate in a game are T-72B. Those appeared in Russian army first in 1984 and still are in majority after last year Ministry of Defense dropped the use of T-80 tanks.
The red one is ready to go.
Each tank has three people crew: the officer, the aimer, and the driver.
Each crew has its own color of the flag. Also each crew represents a single regiment.
There are a few stages of the game. For example tanks compete in racing on the racetrack of 7 km long.
Four tanks race each other and do four laps.
So they race and then stop for shooting. Just like real biathlon.
Racetracks have special obstacles – trenches, poles, barriers etc. They have to maneuver and overcome those.
After the tank is arriving to each shooting point the crew has to get out of the tank and line up near the machine.
The judges watch from the nearby towers and allow the crew to start shooting.
Tanks have to shoot from their main canons, then from machine guns and smaller machine guns on top.
Each tank has got two attempts to hit the targets. In case it misses it gets penalized with 500 meter more on a racetrack. Also if the tank hits some obstacles it gets 10 seconds penalty time.
Shooting from the machine gun.
Crossing the obstacles.
Some shooting points were requiring the tanks to stop first then shoot. Others were meant to shoot while moving.
Heavy T-72s can still go as fast as 70 km/h.
At the end the “winners” would have to participate in “International Biathlon” with over twenty countries including: India, Serbia, China, Kuwait, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus etc. They say they have sent the invitations to over forty countries including ones of NATO block. The first year they made this competition back in 2013 only four ex Soviet countries were competing.
Thanks to Yuri for the photos, his site is below: