In an unexpected turn of events, a Russian tank captured in the ongoing Ukraine war has recently appeared at a truck stop in Louisiana, USA, leaving many people perplexed and questioning how it got there.
One of Russia’s most capable T-90 tanks was abandoned in a parking lot near Interstate 10 after being transported to the United States.
As per the manager of Peto’s Travel Center and Casino, the tank appeared outside the center on April 11 and was present there until the evening of April 13.
Last week, photographs of a Russian T-90 tank that were originally posted on the social media platform Reddit by a user named Mutantlight became viral on the internet.
Seeing a tank placed outside Peto’s Travel Center and Casino left the employees in disbelief. As per the shipping label affixed to the side of the main gun’s barrel, it appears the tank was transported from Gdynia, Poland.
While being transported across Louisiana, the cutting-edge tank’s hauler experienced a transmission failure, forcing the driver to travel to Houston for a replacement vehicle. As a result, the driver requested permission from Peto’s staff to leave the tank at the center until his return, according to The Drive.
The Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) experts later alleged that the tank in question was recovered by Ukrainian forces in the Kherson area in September of last year after it had been left behind by its Russian crew.
The open-source intelligence experts, namely Oryx and Warspotting.net, said the tank was previously operated by Russia’s 27th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade.
Ukraine’s 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade seized the tank, explaining why it bore yellow 9s while in Louisiana. The experts added that the 92nd typically uses this marking to identify their equipment.
Despite having damaged front and rear fenders, the T-90A is considered relatively modern by Russian military standards, as it was manufactured in 2004.
Ukrainian forces have been employing Russian weapons captured in the conflict since the onset of Russia’s invasion last year.
In September 2022, Ukrainian forces swiftly progressed around Kharkiv city by breaching Russian lines and capturing numerous abandoned tanks and other armored vehicles.
Russian troops had reportedly left hundreds of these vehicles behind as they retreated from the area.
Pentagon Response On T-90’s Appearance
The United States Department of Defense eventually commented on the Russian T-90A tank in response to widespread interest in the incident.
Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said that the tank’s explosive reactive armor was inactive and contained no hazardous materials or weaponry, posing no threat to public safety.
Sue Gough mentioned that the tank was going to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, located in Maryland. Unfortunately, the truck carrying the tank experienced mechanical issues, causing it to halt at Peto’s Travel Center and Casino. The issue has been resolved, and the tank is now secured.
The shipping label attached to the main gun’s barrel listed the “ultimate consignee” of the tank as Building 358, located at 6850 Lanyard Rd., Aberdeen Proving Ground. This location is the home of the US Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC).
The Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) is responsible for conducting land-combat, direct-fire, and live-fire vulnerability testing on behalf of the Department of Defense.
It is a versatile test center with a wide range of capabilities that enable it to perform various tasks, including testing, training, modeling, simulation, and experimentation. It has developed into a top-tier facility that provides American warfighters with cutting-edge technology and material.
Gough declined to comment on the future of the T-90A tank or verify the claims made by open-source information trackers that Ukrainian forces seized the tank.
The US military is reportedly interested in the tank for its foreign material exploitation (FME) program. It involves gaining knowledge about foreign equipment through hands-on analysis and reverse engineering to understand its capabilities and weaknesses.
Thus, the US military is expected to analyze the T-90A tank to understand the equipment used by Russia in battle. Furthermore, experts can evaluate its capabilities and identify any weaknesses.
However, it is suspected that Ukrainian forces may have already removed some critical components after seizing the T-90.