The jack-in-the-box effect destroying Russian tanks adds to Moscow's woes in Ukraine war

The jack-in-the-box effect destroying Russian tanks adds to Moscow's woes in Ukraine war

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has estimated that Russia has lost as many as 580 tanks since the beginning of its offensive against Ukraine.

The Ukraine war is not going as per Moscow's plan. A design flaw, which the West had known for a long time, is causing massive damage to Russian tanks.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said Russia has lost as many as 580 tanks since the beginning of its Ukraine invasion, CNN reported.

Experts have pointed at an issue much more serious than the number of tanks Russia has lost. The Russian tanks are suffering from a defect that the West had known for a long time and referred to as the "jack-in-the-box" effect.

The jack-in-the-box effect relates to how ammunition is stored in the tanks. Russian tanks, unlike modern Western tanks, carry multiple shells within their turrets. This makes them highly vulnerable as even an indirect hit is enough to start a chain reaction that explodes their entire ammunition store of up to 40 shells.

"The resulting shockwave can be enough to blast the tank's turret as high as a two-story building," the CNN report said.

Sam Bendett, an adviser with the Russian Studies Program at the Center for a New American Security said, "What we are witnessing with Russian tanks is a design flaw. Any successful hit ... quickly ignites the ammo causing a massive explosion, and the turrwestet is literally blown off."

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Nicholas Drummond, a defence industry analyst specializing in land warfare and a former British Army officer said the flaw "came to the attention of Western militaries during the Gulf wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003, when large numbers of the Iraqi army's Russian-made T-72 tanks suffered the same fate -- turrets being blown from their bodies in anti-tank missile strikes."

He said Russia did not learn lessons from Iraq and now many of its tanks used in the Ukraine war are facing problems because of the defect.

"(Western militaries) all learned from the Gulf War, and from seeing tanks killed during that time, that you have to compartmentalize the ammunition," Drummond said.

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