China North Industries Corp., the country’s largest arms maker, has taken to social media to take potshots at its Russian rival’s most advanced tank.
Better known as Norinco, the Beijing-based company cited a widely reported and embarrassing incident involving the T-14 Armata, the latest product of Russia’s military machine, Bloomberg News reported.
One of the high-tech tanks ground to an abrupt halt on Red Square during rehearsals for the 70th anniversary celebrations of World War II victory.
“The T-14’s transmission is not well-developed, as we saw through a malfunction taking place during a rehearsal before the May 9 parade,” Norinco said in a Chinese-language post on its official WeChat account.
“The VT-4 has never encountered such problems so far. Our tanks also have world-class fire-control systems, which the Russians are still trying to catch up with.”
The jibe was particularly galling given Russia and China were allies who suffered the worst casualties in that global conflict.
As global demand declines, Norinco is looking to expand sales in emerging economies in Asia and Africa, where the state-owned conglomerate is bumping up against established Russian, European and American arms dealers, the news agency said.
The Russians are charging as much as an Abrams battle tank made by General Dynamics Land Systems, Norinco said.
The US company makes some of the world’s most advanced battle tanks, with an Abrams going for about US$6 million according to a 2012 army report to Congress.
“If an international client wants to buy a new tank, it can only choose between China and Russia,” Norinco said in its WeChat post.
“Why don’t buyers consider Chinese tanks that have well-developed technologies and equipment as well as much-lower prices?”
The T-14 is made by industrial manufacturer OAO NPK Uralvagonzavod, whose representatives did not respond to calls for comment.
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