After a special Tank Bureau was formed on May 6, 1924, a specification for a light tank was given. It was to weigh 3,000 kg, have a speed of 7.5 mph, 16 mm of armor, 37 mm gun, and with a crew of two. During early 1925 the Red Army staff reviewed the specification and increased it to 5,000 kg.
It used rubber tired bogies. The engine was mounted crosswise to save length and thus weight.
Communication was by flag.
During tests in 1929 it was found that the T-18 had difficulties crossing trenches. The commander of the Leningrad Region Armored Force had another tail added to the front of the T-18 which resulted in it receiving the nickname Nosorog (Rhinoceros).