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PHOTOS: 2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

August 07, 2014 08:22 IST

2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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Indian tank crew on Wednesday secured a respectable third spot in the second stage of the 2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship, a mechanised military sport invented in Russia.

Being held at a firing range in Albino, outside Moscow, teams from 12 countries, including from Angola, Armenia, Belarus, Venezuela, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Kuwait, Mongolia, Russia and Serbia, are participating in the competition.

Delegations from more than 20 countries are taking part as observers.

Teams have to race through up to 20km obstacle course in Russian-made T-72B tanks, or Slingshot, according to NATO classification, and fire at targets imitating tanks and helicopters. Crews that miss a target get a penalty lap.

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Image: Russian T-72 tanks perform a drill during the World Tank Biathlon near Moscow
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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The 2014 Tank Biathlon competition is being held in four phases: individual races, 3-kilometer (1.86 miles) sprints, pursuit and relay races.

Each member state is represented by four tank crews -- three primary ones and a backup team. 

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Image: Serbian tank crew overcome a steep challenge
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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The 4.5-mile-long track includes a high-speed section, firing ranges, and a variety of obstacles, such as passage through minefields, two uphill slopes, an anti-tank ditch, an obstacle and manoeuvring course, mounds, two escarpments, fords, and a model of a track bridge.

The Russian team won the first round. Russia was followed by the Armenian team which completed the course in 28 minutes and 58 seconds.

Kazakhstan was third with a time of 29 minutes and 53 seconds.

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Image: The Angolan tank crew in action
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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The Russians triumphed again in the second round followed by Kazakhstan and India.

“On the current stage (of the competition) Russian Federation came first with the result of 26 minutes 27 seconds, Kazakhstan came second with the result of 30 minutes 14 seconds and India came third in 31 minutes 26 seconds,” competition chief judge Lt Gen Yury Petrov was quoted by the press service as saying.

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Image: The Serbian tank crew clears an obstacle
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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The rules of the tank biathlon do not, however, prohibit tank crews from using machines of other brands.

So the Chinese team arrived in Alabino in their own Type 96A tanks. Put into service in 1997, the Type 96A forms the foundation of the Chinese army’s armoured units.

Markedly different from the T-72, the machine is 5.5 tons heavier than the Russian tank. However, its maximum speed (64.3 km/h) exceeds that of the Russian machine by 4.5 km/h.

During the competition, the Type 96A showed good fighting and technical capacity, at the level of most of the other machines involved in the championship. The loss of a caterpillar track kept the Chinese from overtaking the Russians.

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Image: A Chinese Type 96A tank carries out manoeuvres
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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Tanks were painted in four types of camouflage colours -- yellow, red, blue and green.

Tanks painted yellow include teams from India, Angola and Kuwait; Blue for Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus; Red for Mongolia, Russia and Venezuela; and green for Serbia, China and Kyrgyzstan.

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Image: A Russian T-72 has its front fender ripped off after colliding with another tank
Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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The competition follows a new low in relations with the US and European Union, which last week introduced "tier-three" sanctions against sectors of Russia's economy over the Ukraine crisis.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that in the times of the complicated global situation such competitions would help to promote trust and mutual understanding between global armed forces and speak for Russia’s readiness to develop intergovernmental cooperation in the military sphere.

“It may be said without any exaggerations that this event turns a new page in the international military cooperation.”

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Image: A tank drives through a water obstacle on the course of the Tank Biathlon world championship in Alabino outside Moscow
Photographs: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship

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General Ivan Buvaltsev, the chief of the Russian armed forces' main department of combat training, said in early June that Russia provided six-week training for foreign tank crews intending to compete on Russian combat vehicles “just for equal opportunities to all the competitors.”

He also said that that this year infantry combat vehicles and airborne assault vehicles will compete along with the tanks.

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Image: Mongolian tank crew competes at the tank biathlon outside Moscow
Photographs: Reuters

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Like last year, each member of the winning crew in the finals will receive a new car from the Uralvagonzavod Corporation as a prize.

This time the prize vehicle will be a fully-equipped Russian SUV -- UAZ Patriot.

The keys will be handed out to the winners on the last day of the competition, August 16, after the results of the championship are tallied.

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Image: A tank fires at a target on the course of the Tank Biathlon world championship in Alabino
Photographs: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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Russia, meanwhile, is conducting a far more serious, large-scale military exercises near the Ukrainian border.

More than 100 aircraft and helicopters are taking part in the manoeuvres that will continue from Monday through Friday, a Russian air force spokesman was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

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Photographs: Russian Ministry of Defence

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