According to military experts, images taken from the battlefield in Ukraine appear to show Russian tanks suffering from a defect which Western militaries refer to as the “jack-in-the-box” effect. The fault relates to how the tank stores ammunition and comes after Russia opted to carry multiple shells within the turrets of its armoured combat vehicles.
It is thought this leaves them very vulnerable as an indirect hit could lead to a chain reaction.
The chain reaction could even see the entire ammunition store explode, which could include up to 40 shells.
A resulting shockwave might even lead to the tank’s turret to blast as high as a two-story building, according to US news network CNN.
Sam Bendett, an adviser with the Russian Studies Program at the Center for a New American Security, said: “What we are witnessing with Russian tanks is a design flaw.
“Any successful hit … quickly ignites the ammo causing a massive explosion, and the turret is literally blown off.”
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Former British Army officer Nicholas Drummond added: “If you don’t get out within the first second, you’re toast.”
The fault has been known about ever since 1991 when Iraqi tanks, which were Russian-made, faced the same fate.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace revealed the true extent of Russia’s losses earlier this week.
Speaking on Monday, the Preston North & Wyre MP told MPs more than 2,000 armoured vehicles have either been destroyed or captured, including as many as 580 tanks.
He also said around 15,000 Russian troops have died since Vladimir Putin launched Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
“Russia has very limited air access to the north and west of Ukraine, limiting offensive actions to deep strikes with stand-off weapons.
“Russia continues to target Ukrainian military assets and logistics infrastructure across the country.
“The majority of Russian air strikes in Mariupol are likely being conducted using unguided free-falling bombs.
“These weapons reduce Russia’s ability to effectively discriminate when conducting strikes, increasing the risk of civilian casualties.”