Russia's New Super Tank Now Comes Equipped With a Toilet—It's Called a 'Life Support System'

Russia's latest battle tank has been upgraded in a way that will relieve its crew.

The designers behind the Armata system that supports heavy armored vehicles such as the new T-14 tank have now added a toilet, allowing troops to tend to their bodily needs without exposing themselves during battle. Ilya Baranov, the director for quality and information technologies at the Urals Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building, described the innovation Thursday as a major quality of life improvement for personnel.

"A major hassle for them is that they cannot relieve their natural functions. That is, water and field rations are available in the tank, but all the other conveniences are, unfortunately, absent," Baranov told the state-run Tass Russian News Agency. "Only the Armata vehicles solved this dilemma.

"From the very outset, this tank provides this possibility for a crew to perform lengthy combat missions, that is why the so-called life support system or, simply speaking, a lavatory, is available in it," he added.

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Russian T-14 Armata tanks parade through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 9, 2018. The T-14 was first introduced in 2015 and continues to undergo upgrades. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

The history of the tank may actually be intertwined with that of the toilet, and not just because modern toilets themselves rely on an entirely different kind of tank to work. The United Kingdom initially coined the term "water carrier" to refer to the first tanks in hopes of maintaining secrecy around the project, but it shared an abbreviation with "water closet," a popular British term for "bathroom," compelling the military to find a new term, according to Tanks, 1914-1918 by Albert Gerald Stern and Let's Talk in English by Manish Gupta.

Coincidentally, the U.K.'s Challenger 2 is one of the few active tanks to actually have a toilet in it. Many modern tanks, such as the iconic U.S.-built M1 Abrams lack this feature, forcing soldiers to improvise on the field.

The toilet was not the only feature that made the next-generation T-14 a formidable foe, however. In addition to the various guided, high-powered and air burst ammunition that can be fired by its 125 mm main cannon, the tank has been equipped with remote-controlled Kord-12.7 mm and PK 7.62 mm machine guns. While under enemy fire, the Afghanit active protection system would be activated, capable of intercepting rockets and other anti-tank munitions.

The T-14 was first introduced at Moscow's 2015 Victory Day parade, marking 70 years since the Soviet Union led the Allied victory against Nazi Germany in Berlin. Touted as an invincible warfighting machine, the tank malfunctioned and had to be towed away. Though the vehicle has seen use in limited numbers, it has reportedly come a long way since then, and has reportedly been described by British intelligence as "the most revolutionary step change in tank design in the last half-century."

Russia leads the world when it comes to tanks, with its unparalleled fleet causing particular concern for bordering nations aligned with the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance. While the Pentagon's overall military posture far outweighed that of Moscow, a sudden Russian attack would likely overwhelm the Baltic states.

Russia's New Super Tank Now Comes Equipped With a Toilet—It's Called a 'Life Support System' | World