TechUkrainian 'monster tank' Azovets falls into Russian hands near Mariupol

Ukrainian 'monster tank' Azovets falls into Russian hands near Mariupol

Tank Azovets
Tank Azovets
Images source: © Defence Blog

6:57 PM EDT, April 5, 2024

Russian soldiers have reportedly discovered a Ukrainian "monster tank," according to the Defence Blog portal, which cites the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. The tank, dubbed Azovets, was first introduced in 2015, and it seems the Ukrainians lost it near Mariupol in 2022. It has now apparently fallen into Russian hands.

It's common for equipment captured from the enemy to become trophies in conflicts, and this war is no exception, with both Russian and Ukrainian forces acquiring gear from each other. Recently, the defending forces proudly announced capturing several wheeled BTR-82 transports from the Russians. However, the tables have turned, and the Russians have now seized a unique piece of Ukrainian equipment—the only model of its kind ever made, the Azovets tank.

The Azovets now in Russian possession

The Military Land portal provides a brief history of the Azovets tank. It was unveiled in 2015 as a "promising design." However, over time, the vehicle was stolen from its development group's territory, leading to the abandonment of this specific project, which was built on the chassis of a T-64 tank.

The Azovets eventually made it to the front lines in Ukraine, where, however, it hardly saw any action, reportedly lost by the Ukrainians in 2022 near Mariupol, as Defence Blog elucidates. It appears the Russian military recently found the missing Ukrainian vehicle and retrieved it. Preliminary assessments by the Russians indicate that the captured Azovets are in poor condition and unsuitable for combat.

The Azov found by the Russians
The Azov found by the Russians© Defence Blog

Constructed on the T-64 tank platform, the Azovets was essentially an experimental and uniquely designed vehicle, blending features of a tank and an armored fighting vehicle. Primarily, it was meant to support mainline tanks in secondary combat roles. The Azovets have a maximum speed of about 40 mph and are armed with two 23 mm autocannons, PKT machine guns, and anti-tank missile launchers. They are also equipped with rotating headlights and cameras to monitor their surroundings, though these are reportedly just rudimentary intercom cameras.

Nevertheless, the Azovets' limited maneuverability is a significant drawback, making it an easy target. Additionally, having only one emergency hatch might complicate crew evacuation in case of damage, posing a considerable risk.

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