Training sees 40 new Russian tanks rumble along the border to Norway

Tank T-80 BVM on display in Murmansk. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)

The potent Russian forces deployed in the Pechenga region have brought their full force of new Arctic T-80BVM tanks to the shooting ranges located along the border to Norway.

It was the official Tankman’s Day when the motorised brigade in Pechenga started the engines of its modernised tank force.

According to the Russian Armed Forces, more than 40 T-80BVM tanks on the 11th September took part in joint drills with paratroopers and infantry units.

The training included shooting on moving targets at up to 2,000 meter distance with 125 mm guns, as well as with Kord large-calibre machine-guns. Tank drivers were practicing driving through difficult terrain, and service personnel did practical training on getting the armoured vehicles ready for combat.

The motorised infantry brigade in Pechenga have over the past years undergone a major modernisation of its armament. Since 2018, the tank force has been fully upgraded, and the ageing T-72 replaced by the T-80BVM. There are now more than 40 new tanks in the local units.

Main “Arctic tank”

The Russian military considers the T-80BVM the tank best suited for operations in the high north and it is now branded as the country’s main “Arctic tank.” The vehicle has a 125 mm smoothbore gun with a range of up to 3,000 meters. Secondary armament consists of a coaxial 7,62 mm machine gun and roof-mounted 12,7 mm machine gun.

The T-80BVM is an upgraded version of the T-80BV main battle tank. It was first publicly revealed in 2017.

Russia today reportedly operates a total of 4,500 T-80 main battle tanks of all variants. Due to high operational costs these tanks are being kept in reserve. Currently Russian Army operates T-90MTBs and overhauled or upgraded versions of the T-72.

The Northern Fleet has its tanks deployed in Pechenga, the area located along the border to Norway and Finland. Among the local units are the 61st Naval infantry brigade and the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade. In addiction comes the 80th Independent Motorized Rifle Brigade in Alakurtti.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Potential Canadian Northern Corridor would present unique security challenges and opportunities, say researchers, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: The world could transition entirely to cheap, safe renewable energy before 2050: Finnish study, Yle News

Greenland: Greenlandic government suspends oil exploration over climate concerns, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Hungry for more oil, Norway aims for €36 billion investments in new fields, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia and India talk oil and Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s solar industry sees bright future despite shrinking subsidies, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s Northwest Arctic Borough gets $2 million tribal energy grant, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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