The Russian Deputy Prime Minister thinks that “bespectacled nerds” and World of Tanks players are the future of his country’s military. Dmitry Rogozin made the comments after a local defense company announced plans for remotely-controlled real-world tank, which will be operated from up to five kilometres away.
The Uralvagonzavod company announcement predicts that in the “nearest future”, it will have converted its popular T-90 tank to need someone at the controls 3-5km away, rather than in the vehicle itself.
Rogozin responded via Twitter:
We need no tankers now, we need World of Tanks players
It’s in keeping with an observation the Deputy PM made last month, that the current trend on the battlefield will mean that the army of low-technology “handsome athletes” will soon be completely destroyed by “bespectacled nerds”.
The T-90 tank was developed in the late 1980s and adopted as Russia’s main battle tank in 1992. It was one of the world’s best-selling tank models between 2001 and 2010, before being replaced in its home country by the Armata tank. Internationally, the T-90 is still in use, which makes it an ideal candidate for remote operation.
While it’s unlikely the Russian armed forces will act on Rogozin’s suggestion and hire people based entirely on their World of Tanks prowess, they’d have a large pool of people to pick from. In 2014, it was estimated that 50 million people play the game worldwide, and that number is expected to have grown considerably since then.
It also wouldn’t be the first time a video game had been used to train a defence force – the United States has used the America’s Army simulator for years, while Australian forces use Virtual Battlespace 3, from the creators of ArmA and DayZ.