Russia’s new high-tech tank has broken down during a parade rehearsal on Moscow's Red Square on Thursday ahead of its public debut.
The Armata T-14, designed to replace the 1970s T-72 and 1990s T-90 combat vehicles, has been hailed by Russian authorities as a ‘masterpiece’.
Featuring advanced technologies, including automated loading, newly developed armour and a remote-controlled gun turret, the tank was described by Russian media as more than fit to compete with its American and German-made counterparts.
However, Armata T-14’s first public outing ended in a less glamorous display after it ground to a halt amidst a military parade rehearsal ahead of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
A witness told Reuters that the tank's driver raised a small red flag to show he had problems, but managed to drive on about 30 minutes later after an attempt to tow it away was abandoned.
The parade announcer later dismissed the concerns saying the stoppage was part of a scenario designed to demonstrate how military equipment could be evacuated from the battlefield, prompting laughter from the rehearsal audience.
Armata T-14, which is set to roll in front of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and a group of foreign leaders during the Saturday parade, is the first entirely new main battle field tank to be deployed in Russia in 40 years.
2,300 new tanks are expected to be produced in the next five years, with the first batch entering service in 2020.
The vehicle, operated by a crew of three from a compartment at the front of the vehicle, is still in development and only a few are set to join the celebrations on Saturday.
"If we take the word of the Armata's designers and producers, this is a tremendous, unbelievable breakthrough in tank equipment," said Alexander Golts, defence columnist and deputy editor of online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal.
However, some analysts say the expectations may be overblown.
Russia plans to spend more than 20 trillion roubles ($400 bn) by 2020 on modernising its armed forces.
At 400 million roubles per tank, Armata T-14 comes at a higher price tag than a normal fighter jet.
"It looks as if this tank is made of gold," said Golts.
The manufacturing expenses of the equipment may be a major setback for Russia, currently struggling in an economic crisis in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Armata T-14 infographic