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    A T-72 tank during the military machinery show at the Alabino training ground held as part of the international military-technical forum ARMY-2016

    Everything You Need to Know If You Want to Buy a Russian Tank

    © Sputnik / Alexey Filippov
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    Doing a bit of research into the market for heavy military equipment available for civilian purchase in Russia, Sputnik has discovered a surprising variety of listings, sometimes at remarkably affordable prices.

    According to the latest Global Firepower stats, the Russian military has some 20,300 tanks and 27,400 armored fighting vehicles and personnel carriers at its disposal. With new armaments, vehicle technologies and manufacturing techniques meaning regular new additions to this impressive arsenal, it's no surprise that some obsolete models are written off and find their way into the civilian market.

    Of course, if you were hoping to buy a real armored vehicle complete with weapons and a full stock of ammo, you'd be in for a disappointment. Decommissioned tanks and other armored vehicles have their weapons removed or deactivated, for obvious public safety reasons (road rage, anyone?). Otherwise, they're left the same as they were when they first came off the assembly line 30, 50 or even 70 years ago.

    You can find tanks and armored vehicles on Russian automotive auction sites, websites specializing in military equipment, and sometimes even on avito.ru, the Russian equivalent of Craigslist.

    Generally (although not always), the price of your declawed war machine will depend on its age, with older models being less expensive. One site offers the T-34, the legendary World War II-era workhorse with a 12-cylinder diesel, 500 horsepower engine, for as little as 12.5 million rubles (about $190,500 US). If you want a Cold War-era T-72, T-64M, or T-80, be prepared to shell out between $335,000 and $564,000.

    Main battle tanks for sale, from the WWII-era T-34 to the late Cold War-era T-80.
    © All-Terrain Vehicle Association
    Main battle tanks for sale, from the WWII-era T-34 to the late Cold War-era T-80.

    If you're on a budget and willing to settle for an armored personnel carrier, you can get a BTR 60 for as little as 2 million rubles ($30,500), or a stock BTR-80, sans-turret for 2.95 million ($45,000).  A BDRM-1 or BDRM-2 light armored reconnaissance vehicle is even cheaper, and can be yours for as little as 800,000 rubles ($12,200).

    Armored reconnaisance vehicles on sale for as little as $12,200 US.
    © All-Terrain Vehicle Association
    Armored reconnaisance vehicles on sale for as little as $12,200 US.

    You never know what you'll find if you shop around and show some patience. In 2015, a resident of the town of Vyazma in Smolensk region posted an ad for a German Panzer IV tank for 2.7 million rubles (about $46,500 US). The 'tank' turned out to be built out of two tractors, with a ZiL truck engine as a powerplant. The seller boasted however that the 'tank' had seen action in battle reconstructions and even appeared in several films.

    Panzer IV made out of two tractors for sale in Russia's Smolensk region.
    © avito.ru
    Panzer IV made out of two tractors for sale in Russia's Smolensk region.

    As with all things, one has to be wary of private internet ads. In 2016, a Rostov-on-Don resident posted an ad for a T-90, asking only 2 million rubles ($30,000 US) for the cutting-edge main battle tank. Users were immediately suspicious, pointing out that a T-90 in export configuration costs over $3 million dollars (196 million rubles). The ad turned out to be bogus, with the seller claiming to have put the ad up just to see how long it would be before Avito.ru noticed.

    Bogus avito.ru ad for a T-90 tank.
    © avito.ru
    Bogus avito.ru ad for a T-90 tank.

    You'll need a license to drive your tank, and if you live in Russia, a tractor operator license will do. You're not going to be able to drive your tracked vehicle along public roads, since they'll quickly tear up the asphalt, so get to rent a transport truck to haul it back home.

    Be sure to budget plenty of cash for running costs; these machines aren't exactly suitable for your daily commute to work. A T-72 consumes 450 liters of diesel per 100 km over rough terrain, with a BTR-80 guzzling at least 50 liters per 100 km.

    Shipping your new tank, armored personnel carrier, or armored car back to your home country is another matter. Mortar Investments, a military vehicles dealer out of the Czech Republic, gave Wired.com an estimate between $15,000 and $25,000 for shipping from Europe to the United States in 2015. From Russia, expect prices to be even higher, and perhaps even trouble from your local sanctions-happy officials. Of course, if you don't want the hassle, you could always move to Russia.

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