Ukrainian paratroopers recently captured one particularly unusual Russian main battle tank. The model of the vehicle – T-80 – does not seem extraordinary, but the way it is decorated gives some food for thought.
Ukrainian military journalist Anatonii Shtefan posted the pictures of a T-80 main battle tank online. Here are two interesting things that caught his attention.
First, this vehicle appears to be almost new. Primary inspection indicates that its engine has been operating for only 900 hours. For this type of Russian military vehicle, the said parameter is on the lowest possible end – an average for a tank that has been actively used, the number of engine hours ranges from 20,000 to 40,000.
The video below demonstrates the captured vehicle (in Ukrainian language):
Next comes the overall appearance, namely the painting style. In the image, it can be clearly seen that the track rollers of this T-80 tank were painted white. This, according to Shtefan, indicates that the tank is not a simple unit, but that it was pulled out directly from the reserves of the Russian military “ceremonial” service, or if put in other words, it was meant for military parades.
The T-80 main battle tank first entered service in 1976, and was last produced in 2001. In Russian army, these tanks are considered “nearly new”. For comparison, their forces also use vehicles that could be easily called ‘retro showpieces’, such as T-62M, or a tank with “Brezhnev’s eyebrows”.
It is a bit difficult to draw precise conclusions based on this sole catch. But the possibilities are two. Either the Russians were planning to arrange a victorious military parade somewhere in Ukraine, or perhaps they are already using the final reserves of their machinery to compensate for what they lost on the battlefront.