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5 Apr, 2024 22:16

WATCH Ukraine’s ‘wonder weapon’ captured by Russia

The ‘Azovets’ heavy armored vehicle had vanished in 2016
WATCH Ukraine’s ‘wonder weapon’ captured by Russia

A heavy armored fighting vehicle that was supposed to be a revolutionary innovation of the Ukrainian military has been found by Russian troops broken down and buried, according to a video made public on Friday.

Engineers sympathetic to the neo-Nazi Azov regiment created the ‘Azovets’ (Azovite) in 2015 by converting a Soviet-era T-64 tank.

Instead of a main gun in a single turret, the Azovets was fitted with two autonomous turrets, each armed with twin 23mm guns and a machine gun, as well as anti-tank guided missile launchers.

Advertised as a breakthrough in urban armored design, the $5 million vehicle did not make it into serial production. It vanished from the factory in October 2016 and was never seen on the battlefield.

According to Russian soldiers who spoke to Sputnik, that was in part because the vehicle was unfit for combat duty. Far too heavy for its engine, at 41 tons, the Azovets was encased in 500 bricks of reactive armor. Moreover, it had no thermal sights and its armament was underwhelming.

The two turrets were independently operated and had no command override. The crew did not have conventional sights, relying instead on cameras. The designers used commercially produced Chinese doorbell cameras for the vehicle, triggering a corruption probe once the Ukrainian authorities found out.

In October 2016, unidentified men broke into the manufacturing facility and stole the only prototype of the Azovets. It was eventually discovered under a pile of dirt at the Azov regiment’s base in Urzuf, a town between Mariupol and Berdyansk. 

One of the reasons the Azovets was never deployed appears to be that its engine and gearbox had been wrecked during the heist. Instead, the neo-Nazi unit simply buried it. Local residents came forth with its location after Russian troops arrived.