Tank biathlon

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Four T-72B tanks of the participants, 2013 T-72B -TankBiathlon2013-01.jpg
Four T-72B tanks of the participants, 2013
Russian T-72B, 2013 T-72B - TankBiathlon2013-27.jpg
Russian T-72B, 2013
T-80U tanks waltzing at the show, 2013 T-80U - TankBiathlon2013-13.jpg
T-80U tanks waltzing at the show, 2013

The tank biathlon is a mechanised military sport event promoted by the Russian military, similar to the Canadian Army Trophy, with some similarities to the winter sport of biathlon. It utilizes the complex training of tank crews including their rough terrain passing skills combined with the ability to provide accurate and rapid fire while performing maneuvers. [1]

Canadian Army Trophy

The Canadian Army Trophy (CAT) was a tank gunnery competition established to foster excellence, camaraderie and competition among the armoured forces of the NATO countries in Western Europe.

Biathlon winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle sports shooting

The biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It is treated as a race where the contestant with the shortest total time wins. Depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra distance or time being added to the contestant's total.

Tank Tracked heavy armored fighting vehicle

A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat, with heavy firepower, strong armour, tracks and a powerful engine providing good battlefield maneuverability. The first tanks were designed to overcome the deadlock of trench warfare in the 1916s; they are a mainstay of modern ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat. Modern tanks are versatile mobile land weapon system platforms, mounting a large-calibre cannon in a rotating gun turret, supplemented by mounted machine guns or other weapons, such as ATGMs, or rockets. They combine this with heavy vehicle armour which provides protection for the crew, the vehicle's weapons, and its propulsion systems, and operational mobility, due to its use of tracks rather than wheels, which allows the tank to move over rugged terrain and adverse conditions such as mud, and be positioned on the battlefield in advantageous locations. These features enable the tank to perform well in a variety of intense combat situations, simultaneously both offensively with fire from their powerful tank gun, and defensively due to their near invulnerability to common firearms and good resistance to heavier weapons, all while maintaining the mobility needed to exploit changing tactical situations. Fully integrating tanks into modern military forces spawned a new era of combat, armoured warfare.



One of the shooting targets used in tank biathlon (dimensions in centimeters) Mishen' No. 12 <<Tank>>.svg
One of the shooting targets used in tank biathlon (dimensions in centimeters)

Participating tanks drive a three-lap route of 6–10 km. During the first lap, crews fire at targets positioned at distances of 1,800, 1,700 and 1,500 m. In the second lap, different targets imitating an anti-tank mortar (RPG) squad and an infantry unit are fired upon. These targets are at a distance of 600–700 m, and must be engaged with a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. In the third lap the tank crews fire at targets shaped like an anti-tank gun and ATGM unit using of the turret-mounted heavy machine gun at a distance of 1,200 m. One or more misses leads to an extra penalty lap 500 m long. On the final lap tanks have to go through various terrain obstacles; an obstacle missed or improperly traversed adds 10 seconds to the crew's final timing.

Rocket-propelled grenade man-portable weapon designed to attack tanks and armored targets firing an unguided rocket

A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon system that fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades, while others are single-use. RPGs, with some exceptions, are generally loaded from the muzzle.

Machine gun fully automatic mounted or portable firearm

A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm designed to fire rifle cartridges in rapid succession from an ammunition belt or magazine for the purpose of suppressive fire. Not all fully automatic firearms are machine guns. Submachine guns, rifles, assault rifles, battle rifles, shotguns, pistols or cannons may be capable of fully automatic fire, but are not designed for sustained fire. As a class of military rapid-fire guns, machine guns are fully automatic weapons designed to be used as support weapons and generally used when attached to a mount- or fired from the ground on a bipod or tripod. Many machine guns also use belt feeding and open bolt operation, features not normally found on rifles.

Anti-tank gun artillery for combat against armored vehicles

An Anti-tank gun is a form of artillery designed to destroy armored fighting vehicles, normally from a static defensive position. The development of specialized anti-tank munitions and anti-tank guns was prompted by the appearance of tanks during World War I. To destroy hostile tanks, artillerymen often used field guns depressed to fire directly at their targets. However, this practice expended too much valuable ammunition and was of increasingly limited effectiveness as tank armor became thicker. The first dedicated anti-tank artillery began appearing in the 1920s and by World War II was a common appearance in many European armies. In order to penetrate armor they fired specialized ammunition from longer barrels to achieve a higher muzzle velocity than field guns. Most anti-tank guns were developed in the 1930s as improvements in tanks were noted, and nearly every major arms manufacturer produced one type or another.


The United States received an official invitation in 2013 and an unofficial invitation in 2017. [2] In 2014, 41 countries received the invitation. [3]

International Competition, 2013

The first international tank biathlon competition was held at the Alabino proving ground in the Moscow Oblast, on 12–17 August 2013. Four teams took part in the competition: Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Moscow Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Moscow Oblast, or Podmoskovye, is a federal subject of Russia. With a population of 7,095,120 living in an area of 44,300 square kilometers (17,100 sq mi), it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and is the second most populous federal subject. The oblast has no official administrative center; its public authorities are located in Moscow and across other locations in the oblast.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, excluding Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is the largest metropolitan area in Europe proper and one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Armenia Republic in South Caucasus in West Asia

Armenia, officially the Republic of Armenia, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located in Western Asia on the Armenian Highlands, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.

PlaceTeamRange 1Range 2Range 3Total time
1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 10002023:44
2Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 01101224:36
3Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 00102125:25
4Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 01101229:48

1st Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2014

The 1st Tank Biathlon World Championship  [ ru ] took place at the Alabino proving ground on 4–16 August 2014. Out of 41 nations that received invitation to the tournament, 12 sent their representatives. Every competitor (except Teams China and Russia) received a T-72B tank in the biathlon color scheme. Team Russia piloted the newest modification, T-72B3, and Team China brought their own Type 96A.

T-72 Soviet second-generation main battle tank

The T-72 is a family of Soviet main battle tanks that first entered production in 1971. About 20,000 T-72 tanks were built, making it one of the most widely produced post-World War II tanks, second only to the T-54/55 family. The T-72A version introduced in 1979 is considered a second-generation main battle tank. It was widely exported and saw service in 40 countries and in numerous conflicts. The T-72B3 version introduced in 2010 is considered a third-generation main battle tank.

Type 96 tank Chinese Second Generation main battle tank (MBT)

The Type 96 or ZTZ-96 is a Chinese second generation main battle tank (MBT). The final evolution of the Type 88 design, the Type 96 entered service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1997. The later variants of the Type 96 are regarded as near-equivalents to China's third generation MBT.

Russian preliminaries for the event ran in several of military districts of Russia. Each district sent its top crews to compete for the Cup of Russia, and 3 finalists from that event formed the national Team Russia for the World Championship.

Participating nations also held preliminaries on their own, sending 3 top crews and a reserve crew accompanied by maintenance and repair personnel to Russia.

Random selection placed teams under following colors:

1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
3Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
4Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
5Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
6Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
7Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
8Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
9Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
10Flag of India.svg  India
11Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
12Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait

First legs of the tournament consisted of:


The final competition was a relay race, the top 4 teams fielded all their crews taking turns.

Total timeTeam
75:14Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
80:03Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
90:56Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
94:11Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan

2nd Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2015

A Chinese Type 96A at the 2015 tank biathlon Type 96A - Tankbiathlon15finalp1-15.jpg
A Chinese Type 96A at the 2015 tank biathlon

The second event of the series took part on 1–15 August 2015 at the same venue in Alabino. This year the Tank Biathlon was held as a headliner of the 2015 International Army Games  [ ru ] that included similar competitions for all things military, from artillery (Masters of Fire) and air force (Aviadarts) to field kitchens.

The athletic stage for the crews was removed from schedule.

Veteran of both previous events, Team Belarus decided to participate in the Army Games "only in the disciplines where we are absolutely ready" and thus didn't apply for the Tank Biathlon (after finishing only 5th last year). Consequently, Belarus won 3 gold, 50 silver and 249 bronze awards and finished 3rd in the total medal score of the Army Games, being surpassed only by Russia and China.

The Nicaragua and Tajikistan national teams joined the event for the first time.

All teams were piloting upgraded T-72B3 tanks, excluding Team China which continued to field its own Type 96A.

List of participants with color scheme:

1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
3Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
4Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
5Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua
6Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
7Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
8Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan
9Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
10Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
11Flag of India.svg  India
12Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
13Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait

1/2 final

Total timeTeam
73:30Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
77:32Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
78:18Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
83:23Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
94:12Flag of India.svg  India
97:06Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
120:04Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan
DSQFlag of Armenia.svg  Armenia


Total timeTeam
72:09Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
79:21Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
84:56Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
86:16Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan

3rd Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2016

The third Tank Biathlon took place in Alabino as part of the 2nd International Army Games  [ ru ] on 30 July–13 August. [4]

1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
3Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
4Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
5Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
6Flag of India.svg  India
7Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
8Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
9Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
10Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
11Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
12Flag of Iran.svg  Iran

4th Tank Biathlon World Championship, 2017

The fourth Tank Biathlon took place in Alabino, Moscow Region. Most counties uses same type of vehicle as previous year such as T-72B3 and Type-96B with the exception of India fielding with T-90 Bhishma. New Delhi Television reported that the Indian Army felt disadvantaged using T-72B3 tanks provided by Russia in 2016 and was keen to field its best tanks and best crews in 2017. However, As a result of the malfunction of both T-90 tanks including the reserved one, the Indian squad was unable to complete the race and were disqualified before 1/2 final. [5] [6]

After seven days of contests, Team Russia won 11 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze awards and finished 1st in the overall ratings, and Team China achieved second place with 7 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze. [7]

1Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
3Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
4Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus
5Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
6Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
7Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
8Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia
9Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela
10Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia
11Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
12Flag of India.svg  India

Medalist table

2014Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
2015Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
2016Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan
2017 [7] Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
2018 [8] Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus

International competitions

Competitions on tank biathlon are held in Russia every year from 2013, in July-August, at the Military training range "Alabino". Since the foundation of the tank biathlon in 2013, 23 teams participated in the world championships. 14 teams passed into the relay race in at least one season.

The table lists the teams' places according to the results of the world championships, as well as the best results in each season (indicated by color). The teams are ranked according to the best places in the world championships.

See also

Related Research Articles

The first Biathlon World Championships (BWCH) was held in 1958, with individual and team contests for men. The number of events has grown significantly over the years. Beginning in 1984, women biathletes had their own World Championships, and finally, from 1989, both genders have been participating in joint BWCHs. In 1978 the development was enhanced by the change from the large army rifle calibre to a small bore rifle, while the range to the target was reduced from 150 to 50 meters.

T-80 main battle tank

The T-80 is a third-generation main battle tank (MBT) designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. When it entered service in 1976, it was the first MBT in the world to feature a powerful multifuel turbine engine as its main propulsion engine. The T-80U was last produced in a factory in Omsk, Russia, while the T-80UD and further-developed T-84 continue to be produced in Ukraine. The T-80 and its variants are in service in Belarus, Cyprus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. The chief designer of the T-80 was the Russian engineer Nikolay Popov.

T-90 Russian third-generation main battle tank

The T-90 is a third-generation Russian battle tank that entered service in 1993. The tank is a modern variation of the T-72B and incorporates many features found on the T-80U. Originally called the T-72BU, but later renamed to T-90, it is an advanced tank in service with Russian Ground Forces and the Naval Infantry. The T-90 uses a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore main gun, the 1A45T fire-control system, an upgraded engine, and gunner's thermal sight. Standard protective measures include a blend of steel and composite armour, smoke grenade dischargers, Kontakt-5 explosive-reactive armour and the Shtora infrared ATGM jamming system. It was designed and built by Uralvagonzavod, in Nizhny Tagil, Russia. Since 2011, the Russian armed forces have ceased any further orders for the T-90, and are instead increasing their numbers of the T-14 Armata that began production in 2016.

Ricco Groß German biathlete

Ricco Groß is a former German biathlete whose exploits made him one of the most successful biathletes of all time at the Winter Olympics and the World Championships.

Klaus Siebert East German biathlete

Klaus Siebert was a German biathlete and biathlon coach who raced for East Germany.

BMPT Terminator armored fighting vehicle

The BMPT "Terminator" is a post-Cold war armored fighting vehicle (AFV), designed and manufactured by the Russian company Uralvagonzavod. This vehicle was designed for supporting tanks and other AFVs in urban areas. The BMPT is unofficially named the "Terminator" by the manufacturers. It is heavily armed and armored to survive in urban combat. This AFV is armed with Ataka-T Guided Weapon System armed with four 9M120 Ataka missile launchers, two 30 mm 2A42 autocannons, two AG-17D grenade launchers, and one coaxial 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun.

Alexandr Vladimirovich Popov is a Russian biathlete who competed for the USSR, the Unified Team and Belarus. Since 1999 he has been the head coach of the Belarus National Biathlon Team.

Olga Zaitseva Russian biathlete

Olga Alekseyevna Zaitseva is a former Russian biathlete. She began her career in 1994. After not competing in the 2014–15 season, Zaitseva announced her retirement on 24 January 2015. Shortly afterwards she announced that she had been appointed as caretaker head coach of the Russian biathlon team.

9K115-2 Metis-M man-portable anti-tank missile system

The 9K115-2Metis-M is a Russian anti-tank missile system. "9K115-2" is the GRAU designation of the missile system. Its NATO reporting name is AT-13Saxhorn-2. The system is designed to augment the combat power of company-level motorized units.

T-72 operators and variants T-72 operators and variants

The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1971. It replaced the T-54/55 series as the workhorse of Soviet tank forces. In front-line Russian service, T-72s are being upgraded or augmented by the T-90. The T-72 has been exported and produced in many countries.

The 43rd Biathlon World Championships were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea from February 13 to February 22, 2009. It was the first time that the Biathlon World Championships were held in Asia.

Björn Ferry Swedish biathlete

Björn Ferry is a former Swedish biathlete and medal winning Olympian. He began competing internationally in World Cup competitions in 2001, but did not win his first international race until the 2007–2008 season. In 2007, he won gold in the mixed relay event at the Biathlon World Championships. The next year, at his third Winter Olympics appearance, he won the gold medal in the pursuit event. He started the event in 8th place as determined by the previous sprint event, but managed to overtake the race leader on the final lap.

Darya Domracheva Belarusian biathlete

Dárya Vladímirovna Dómracheva is a retired Belarusian biathlete who competed in the Biathlon World Cup from 2006 to 2018. She won a gold medal in the 4×6 km relay and a silver medal in the mass start competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics, three gold medals in the pursuit, individual, and mass start competitions at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and a bronze medal in the individual competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was a Biathlon World Cup overall winner for the 2014–15 season.

Evgeny Ustyugov Russian biathlete

Evgeny Romanovich Ustyugov is a Russian former biathlete. Born to cross-country skiers, Ustyugov was introduced to biathlon at the age of three. He started his career in junior tournaments in 2005, before going professional three years later in the European Championships. He is an Olympic champion in the men's 15km mass start event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to the 2010 Olympic Games, his best World Championship finish in an individual event was 20th place.

T-14 Armata Russian main battle tank

The T-14Armata is a next-generation Russian main battle tank based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform—the first series-produced next-generation tank. The Russian Army initially planned to acquire 2,300 T-14s between 2015 and 2020. Production and fiscal shortfalls have delayed this to 2025. The first batch of 100 is to be delivered and deployed to the Taman division, with delivery expected to be completed by 2020; tanks will be transferred only after the completion of all state tests.

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International Army Games

The International Army Games is a Russian military sports event organized by the Ministry of Defense of Russia (MoD). The annual International Army Games, which have taken place since August 2015, involve close to 30 countries battling it out in dozens of competitions over two weeks to prove which nation has the most military might. The games have been referred to as the War Olympics.


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  3. Kramnik, Ilya (May 19, 2016). "Гонка танковых чемпионатов". Defence.Ru (in Russian). Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  4. Ptichkin, Sergey (August 13, 2016). "Международные армейские игры завершились победой России". Rossiyskaya Gazeta (in Russian). Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  5. "After Both Tanks Break Down, India Knocked Out Of International Drill". NDTV.
  6. "India knocked out of tank contest in Russia after T-90s develop snags". Hindustan Times.
  7. 1 2 "Result of contests 2017" (PDF). International Army Games.
  8. "Russian team wins final Tank Biathlon race". Russia News Agency.