How much does it cost to run a tank?

Armored combat vehicles take part in the dress rehearsal of the November 7, 1941 military parade re-enactment in Red Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic parade, 2011.

Armored combat vehicles take part in the dress rehearsal of the November 7, 1941 military parade re-enactment in Red Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the historic parade, 2011.

Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Do you ever feel like exclaiming: "It's cheaper to fix a tank than this clunker!" when you get the check for your car’s latest service? Modern tanks such as the Abrams, Leclerc or T-90 are notorious for their cosmic maintenance costs, but RBTH found a tank that costs little more to run than a conventional car – the T-34.

Victory Day on May 9 is one of the most important national holidays in Russia, and a major opportunity for the national military department to show its equipment in all its splendor to the country and foreigners.

The Russian military are preparing for this show thoroughly and well in advance. The year 2016 has hardly begun, but the Russian Defense Ministry has already placed information on the procurement of services for the repair of the T-34.

More expensive than a Mercedes?

According to the notice, the military plans to spend 2.5 million rubles ($33,000) on the preparation of T-34 tanks for the parade. This money will be sufficient to prepare 12 tanks. One standard hour of maintenance costs 8,106 rubles (just over $100).

For comparison, one standard hour at an authorized dealer of relatively inexpensive cars such as Nissan or Opel in Russia costs close to 2,000 rubles, while the maintenance of a Mercedes is only two times cheaper than of a T-34.

Cheaper spare parts

But the Mercedes car hopelessly loses out to the T-34 when it comes to spare parts. The consumables cost for the maintenance of a T-34 is only 2,926 rubles.

The parts in question are almost the same as those of a conventional car: fuses, light bulbs and exhaust valve seals. Only two stand out – Konstalin grease and galvanized wire.

The latter, however, is well familiar to owners of Soviet and Russian cars, who use it, along with duct tape, to support and adjust everything that was poorly fastened at the plant, without affecting the ability to move.

Old-timer needs a lot of attention

The one area in which the T-34 cannot compete with modern cars is its tendency to breakage. The tank is not new and requires a lot of specialist attention. Before the victory parade, each T-34 will receive two maintenance sessions with a total duration of 26 hours.

Judging by the fact that the contract period expires on May 12, the tanks will undergo maintenance both before and during, and possibly after the parade.

The T-34, the first prototype of which was designed as early as in 1939, was in service in the Soviet Union and then in Russia for an extremely long time – until 1993.

Many of the 25,914 T-34 tanks produced later became steel monuments to the Great Patriotic War (the Russian term for World War II), taking their place on pedestals throughout the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

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