Russia has unveiled its most powerful and sophisticated tank since the end of the Cold War in the latest warmongering exercise by Vladimir Putin.
The T-14 Armata appeared in public for the first time yesterday, rumbling down a Moscow avenue on its way to Red Square as a crescendo of patriotic fervour gripped the country.
The tank was taking part in final rehearsals for the Victory Day parade on Saturday, where it be the highlight of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Some 200 pieces of military hardware and 16,500 troops will take part in all.
Armed with a remote-controlled turret and an automatic loading system, the tank is the product of Russia’s ten-year armament program in which £254billion is being spent on new weaponry.
Show of force: A new Russian Armata T-14 tank speeds through Moscow for final rehearsals for the Victory Day parade, where it be the highlight of celebrations on Saturday marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany
State-of-the-art: Armed with a remote-controlled turret and an automatic loading system, the tank is the product of Russia’s ten-year armament program in which £254billion is being spent on new weaponry
New Russian military vehicles including the new Russian T-14 Armata tank, foreground, make their way to Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade
The new tanks were brought out for a ‘test run’ during the rehearsals, which is the first time the T-14 has been seen in public
Showing muscle: The Russian Army’s new T-14 Armata is set to go on display at the annual Moscow Victory Day Parade on Saturday
The tank is also the first to have an internal armoured capsule to give added protection for its three-man crew.
Russian and some Western military experts say the Armata will surpass all Western versions.
The Russian Defense Ministry last month released photographs of the tank, but its turret was covered with fabric and only the platform was visible.
Yesterday was the first time the tank was shown uncovered.
The Armata designers also envisage the use of the same platform for several other machines, including a heavy armored infantry vehicle, a self-propelled heavy howitzer and combat support vehicle.
Big spender: The Russian Army received he highest numbers of new planes, missiles and armor since the 1991 Soviet collapse in 2014 (pictured is a Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery piece)
Russian defense spending increased by one-third this year, and should reach £63.5billion by 2016 (pictured is a Kornet-D self-propelled anti-tank complex)
Showing off: Kurganets-25 Armored Personnel Carrier will go on display at Saturday’s parade
Russia’s forceful annexation last year of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula as Kiev pledged its future to the European Union has plunged relations with Moscow into deep freeze, with no sign of any improvement soon.
Putin has also been accused of sending troops over the border to help Russian separatists seize parts of eastern Ukraine.
This has jolted the 28-nation bloc and the US-led NATO military alliance out of their post-Cold War complacency, showing they needed to come to terms with a much more assertive Russia led by a no-holds barred Putin.
Moscow has also been sending Bear bomber jets into UK airspace and those of other countries to test their defence responses, while Sweden and Finland claim Russian nuclear submarines have been entering their waters.
Western powers have responded by imposing economic sanctions on Moscow which in turn has forced Putin on the offensive to boost the morale of his people with a show of aggression.
Practice makes perfect: Russian servicemen march in formation before a rehearsal for the Victory parade
Showing off: The New Russian T-14 Armata tanks make their way to Red Square with the Historical Museum in the background at the rehearsal
So far, 26 world leaders had accepted invitations to take part in Moscow Victory Day Parade, including Chinese President Xi Jinping
The £254billion armament programme has produced some highly visible results last year, with the military receiving the highest numbers of new planes, missiles and armour since the 1991 Soviet collapse.
Russian defense spending increased by one-third this year and should reach £63.5billion by 2016.
‘The task set by the president not to allow anyone to get a military advantage over Russia will be fulfilled no matter what,’ Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said at a meeting with the top brass in February.
In 2014, the Russian armed forces obtained a record number of 38 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.
This year they are to get another 50, allowing the military to fulfill its ambitious goal of replacing Soviet-built nuclear missiles, which are approaching the end of their lifespan.
The Russian navy already has two submarines equipped with the Bulava, a new submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missile, and is to commission a third one next year. Five more are to follow.
The army’s ground forces are receiving large batches of Iskander missiles, which which can be equipped with a nuclear or conventional warhead, could be used to target NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense sites.
In a show of force, Iskanders were briefly deployed in December to the Kaliningrad exclave bordering NATO members Poland and Lithuania.
The Russian air force received more than 250 new planes and helicopters last year and is set to receive more than 200 this year — numbers unseen since Soviet times.
So far, 26 world leaders had accepted invitations to take part in Moscow Victory Day Parade, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, but the heads of many Western nations, including Germany and the U.S. have declined.