Russia reportedly loses most advanced tank during fighting in Ukraine

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Russia has suffered another military embarrassment after Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed its most advanced tank, the T-90M — just days after it was deployed.

Illia Ponomarenko, the Kyiv Independent’s defense reporter, posted an image Wednesday of the smoldering wreck after the tank was hit.

“I mean, who could guess that the first Russian T-90M would be hunted down within days after their much-advertised deployment to Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast,” he wrote.

A statement on Ukraine’s Defense Ministry website confirmed that the tank had been struck, according to Newsweek.

The much-ballyhooed main battle vehicle belongs to the T-90 series – the successor to the venerable T-72, according to The Drive.

rising smoke after a possible shelling of Azovstal complex, in Mariupol, UkraineRising smoke after a possible shelling of Azovstal complex, in Mariupol, Ukraine.Ministry of Internal Affairs Donetsk People’s Republic/Handout via REUTERS

A dog walks along a street in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 4, 2022. A dog walks along a street in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 4, 2022. REUTERS/Marko Djurica/File Photo

a possible shelling of Azovstal complex, in Mariupol, UkraineA possible shelling of Azovstal complex, in Mariupol, Ukraine.Ministry of Internal Affairs Donetsk People’s Republic/Handout via REUTERS

The tank, which features an advanced 125mm gun in a modernized turret, is encased with advanced armor-protection and countermeasures systems.

The explosive reactive armor is designed to protect against shaped charges and minimizes the impact of armor-piercing munitions, according to The Drive.

Only about 100 models are currently in service, according to estimates.

A T-90M Proryv tank is seen in Tverskaya Street as military hardware heads to Red Square for a rehearsal of the forthcoming May 9 Victory Day ParadeA T-90M Proryv tank is seen in Tverskaya Street as military hardware heads to Red Square for a rehearsal of the forthcoming May 9 Victory Day Parade.© Valery Sharifulin/TASS via ZUMA Press

T-90M Proryv tanks (front) and other military hardware head to Red Square for a rehearsal of the forthcoming May 9 Victory Day Parade. The parade marks the 77th anniversary of the Allied Victory over Nazi forces in WWII A statement on Ukraine’s Defense Ministry website confirmed that the tank had been struck.© Sergei Bobylev/TASS via ZUMA Press

T-90M tanks are seen on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge The tank is encased with advanced armor-protection and countermeasures systems.© Sergei Bobylev/TASS via ZUMA Press

Experts have previously noted that older Russian tanks are plagued with the so-called “jack-in-the-box” effect — a defect that Western militaries have been aware of for decades.

The invading country’s Soviet-era tanks — including the T-72 and T-80, which have been used in Ukraine – suffer from the defect, The Drive said.

The “jack-in-the-box” effect, the result of pressure shockwave caused by the explosion of stored ammunition, makes them susceptible to losing their tops in direct hits.

A woman walks past tanks of Donetsk People's Republic militia in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, May 4, 2022Many of the tanks fielded by the Russian army keep large stores of ammunition.AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov

A destroyed Russian tank's turret is seen stuck in the ground, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine in Zalissia, Kyiv region,  Ukraine May 3, 2022A destroyed Russian tank’s turret is seen stuck in the ground in Zalissia, Kyiv region, Ukraine, May 3, 2022REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Ulyana Pishchur, 72, sits on bench near a destroyed Russian tank outside the village council building, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine in Sloboda, Chernihiv region, Ukraine May 3, 2022. Experts have previously noted that older Russian tanks are plagued with the so-called “jack-in-the-box” effect.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

“What we are witnessing with Russian tanks is a design flaw,” Sam Bendett, an adviser with the defense research group Center for Naval Analyses, told CNN.

“Any successful hit … quickly ignites the ammo causing a massive explosion, and the turret is literally blown off,” he said.

Unlike modern Western battle tanks, many of the tanks fielded by the Russian army keep large stores of ammunition directly below their turrets in an auto-loading system meant to speed up the loading of the main gun.

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