Harder, faster, stronger. The Kamenka village in the Leningrad region hosts tank exercises for the Western Military district. Crew have to hit not only appearing targets, but moving ones too. And when it seems the skill has been mastered, the command gives new orders. Alexander Odintsov went to check out the training.
Every second counts, every shot must hit a target. Its hard to call these tank crews students, but they are still obliged to to the shooting test twice a year, strictly on schedule.
This is probably the most exciting part for a regular spectator. As if a shot from a movie. But those inside a tank care little about film aesthetics. First they have to hastily take their place inside the armor, then load real ammo into the cannon. Final stroke - look for the supposed enemy through a narrow scope.
Alexander Odintsov, reporter: «Tank shooting trainings are held to see how cloesly knitted particular crews and tank batallions are. In essence, these are usual exercises for the tank crews, but today those were made more complex. Targets which used to stand at 1.6 kilometers have been moved to 2 kilometers. This is hardly an obstacle for them though, as they had already hit targets from 3600 meters»
Technical progress urges to put targets further and further away. From one firing range to the other, the most modern T-72 B-3 tanks make it through the field. The state-of-the-art gear allows to hold such trainings at any time of day.
Alexander Petrov, commander of 1st tank platoon: «It has new systems of shot control, third-generation targeting system. It also has thermal sensors allowing it to fire both at day and night»
The crews consist of contract servicemen from a separate mechanized brigade of the Western Military District. This field has been studied thoroughly and its main complexity - the very same targets which are constantly moving at long distances. Fake tanks and guns, imitating the opponent, are hiding beyond the thick veils of dust. But such conditions only excite the crews
Alexander Khvostov, targeting operator: «A lot of adrenalin when you’re in this 42-ton baby. Very interesting. Nothing really difficult here. You only have to aim a little in advance from where the target currently is. Just aim in advance»
Job well-done. Which has become a typical thing here really. These crews from Kamenka have become world champions in Tank Biathlon twice already