Tank biathlon! Watch countries go head-to-head in booming new discipline (DRONE VIDEO)

Tanks from 17 countries including Russia, China, and India are competing in the Tank Biathlon World Championship at the International Military Games near Moscow, where vehicles navigate complex obstacle courses at speed, before firing at targets.

Russian army officials came up with the idea to adapt the popular winter sport into a military completion only three years ago. While a tank biathlon may sound like a joke, it has quickly caught on, serving as a good test of both military equipment and its crews’ skills.

While only four countries participated in the first exhibition, the third World Championship will see 51 crews competing – three from each country. Among the participants are Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, and Serbia. Russia has won the previous two competitions.

Most teams will be using the T-72B3, an upgraded version of a Soviet-era battle tank, but the Chinese will man their Type 96 tank, while the Belarus team will race in their own T-72 mod.

The individual race began on Saturday, when the crews went through the track and shot at 8 targets to earn a place on the leaderboard, with time penalties handed out for missed targets The competition will winnow down the teams until the final race, when the four best crews will face each other on August 13, the last day of the International Military Games.