The Kremlin is talking about reviving Russia's laser tank-building programme

The Russian government should consider building some laser tanks, that’s according to the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The news outlet, owned and directed by the country’s government, wrote at the end of May about the potential for a “laser tank,” citing the US military’s development of a ship-mounted rail gun.

More recently the International Business Times has followed the story up.

But, believe it or not, Russia has actually had a programme for the construction of laser tanks before. A series of different models were built in the later years of the Soviet Union, though little remains of them today.

Take a look at all the tank-mounted laser-firing military power that Russia once had to offer.

The most iconic Soviet attempt at a tank-mounted laser is the 1K17 'Compression' -- one is now on display at Russia's Army Technology Museum.

At first glance, it looks like one of the many vehicle-mounted missile launchers used by military forces around the world, like this TOS-1 Russian model.

The laser was based on a large ruby, and wouldn't have been able to actually destroy targets -- the aim was to scramble navigation and electronic systems.

From the side or rear, it's much harder to tell if there's anything interesting about the space-age effort, but it's a bizarre relic. However, there's clearly some interest in bringing back.

The original efforts could be expanded, according to the article -- since optical and electronic systems are now more connected, a modern laser could take out an 'armada' of enemy vehicles.

The chassis of the vehicle comes from a Msta-S, a Soviet-era artillery piece capable of carrying the heavy gun.

The 'Sanguine' model was a later and more advanced variant, which could reportedly disable a helicopter's optical systems at a distance of six miles.

Importantly, the more manoeuvrable laser meant it could be more easily pointed upwards towards targets in the air.

The Rossiyskaya Gazeta article mentions the US development of a rail gun weapon, shown off to the media in February, as a reason to develop the laser tanks.

Russia's new 'Armata' tank was unveiled in May 2015. It's touted by the government as the most advanced tank in the world

The tank broke down and had to be towed at an event in May. So it may not be ready as the basis from which a new sort of laser-armed tank could be made.

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