Russian Army T-14 Armata tank in the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade
|Type||Main battle tank and Medium tank|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|Used by||Russian Ground Forces|
|Designer||Ural Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building, Uralvagonzavod|
|Unit cost||7.6 million USD- 9 million USD (inflation) |
49 t (with Urban Warfare Package)
|Length||10.8 m (35 ft)|
|Width||3.5 m (11 ft)|
|Height||3.3 m (10 ft)|
|125 mm (4.92 in) smoothbore 2A82-1M tank cannon with 45 rounds (32 of them in the autoloader)|
|12.7 mm (0.50 in) Kord machine gun (6P49), 7.62 mm (0.30 in) PKTM machine gun (6P7К)|
|Engine||ChTZ 12Н360 (A-85-3A) diesel engine|
1,500 hp (1,100 kW), moderated to 1,200 hp (890 kW) in normal operation
|Transmission||12-speed automatic gearbox|
|500 kilometres (310 mi)|
|Speed||80–90 kilometres per hour (50–56 mph)|
The T-14 Armata (Russian language: Т-14 «Армата»; industrial designation "Object 148") is a Russian 5th generation main battle tank based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform. It was first seen in public (initially with its turret and cannon shrouded) during rehearsals for the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade. From 2015 to 2020 the Russian army plans to acquire 2,300 T-14s, although unit costs are a concern.
Design[edit | edit source]
Featuring a number of innovative characteristics, the T-14 represents a new generation of Russian main battle tanks. The most significant new feature is the use of an unmanned turret, with the crew of three seated in an armored capsule in the front of the hull.
The development of the tank took five years and was initiated after the earlier, incrementally innovative, T-95 (object 195) project was cancelled, after protracted development, with authorities citing excessive weight, complexity, and cost.
Armament[edit | edit source]
The main armament of the T-14 is the 2A82-1M 125 mm (4.92 in) smoothbore cannon, a new replacement for the 2A46 of previous Russian and Soviet tanks. Noteworthy features include an absence of a fume extractor (due to the unmanned turret), a firing rate of 10–12 rounds per minute, and a maximum effective-penetration range of 8 km. The detection range of the tank's optical sensors is ~5 km for tank-sized targets at day, and 3.5 km at night through the thermal imaging channel. The gunner sight's optical channel is equipped with 4x and 12x optical zoom. The laser rangefinder has a theoretical maximum range of 7.5 km.
The Vacuum-1 sabot round which is currently being developed for the 2A82-1M cannon has a penetrator which is 900 mm long, and is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm of RHA equivalent at a distance of 2,000 meters. The new controlled-detonation Telnik HE-Frag shell is also available. The cannon also has ability to fire guided missiles, a feature first implemented on Soviet tanks, with a new 3UBK21 Sprinter ATGM developed specifically for it.
The secondary armament consists of a 12.7 mm Kord (GRAU index 6P49) machine gun with 300 rounds (not observed during the parade) and a 7.62 mm PKTM (6P7К) machine gun with 1,000 rounds. All guns are remotely controlled. In addition, another 1,000 rounds can be stored separately. A 12.7 mm machinegun is installed above the turret roof-mounted commander's sight, which avoids visual obstructions, while the turret front has a peculiar slit that is speculated to be intended for the coaxial 7.62 mm machinegun.
In the future, the T-14 may use the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82 125 mm gun. This gun, created around 2000 for the T-95 prototype, has a high-speed APFSDS shell with a 1,980 m/s muzzle velocity, only dropping to 1,900 m/s at 2 km. However, Russian engineers have been making such up-gunning claims for some 30 years and have kept the 125 mm-size gun, assessing that improvements in ammunition could be enough to increase effectiveness, while concluding that a larger bore weapon would offer few practical advantages.
Mobility[edit | edit source]
The T-14 is powered by a ChTZ 12Н360 (A-85-3A) diesel engine delivering up to 1,500 hp. The engine's theoretical, not normally used, maximum power is 2,000 hp, at the cost of radically decreasing its service life, projected around 2,000 hours at nominal 1,500 hp, comparable to other modern tank engines, and up to the unprecedented 10,000 hours at moderated 1,200 hp. The engine is electronically controlled. Operational range is over 500 km.
The T-14 has a 12-speed automatic gearbox, with a top speed of 80–90 kilometres per hour (50–56 mph) and a range of 500 kilometres (310 mi). At least one expert speculated that the transmission might be an electronically controlled mechanical gearbox with the external reverse and demultiplier gears, giving the tank equal forward and reverse gear ranges. Other sources suggest a partly or fully hydrostatic transmission. Uniquely for a Soviet/Russian design, the transmission is joined with the engine into a single unit that can be swapped out in the field in just under 30 minutes.
Unlike previous Russian and Soviet designs, such as the T-90/80/72/64, the T-14 has seven 700 mm road wheels, based on the T-80 variant. It has the ability to adjust the suspension of at least the two first roadwheels, and, probably, the last one. On the parade rehearsal video, a T-14 Armata is shown to retract one of the frontal first wheels during turns. This, and some recently published design blueprints suggest at least a partial hydraulic suspension system based on the adjustable lever arm shock absorbers that now double as suspension actuators and may have been done to improve the pivoting ability of the tank. An active suspension system improves the target lock time by a factor of 2.2, and the timeframe between target detection and reaction is reduced by 31 percent, all due to the resulting smoother ride.
A lot of thought was given to the tank's strategic mobility. Its moderate mass of ~48 tonne allows it to be easily rail- and trailer-transported, conserving its engine and transmission's service life, and it can navigate most of the solidly built bridges in the country, unlike, for example, the Japanese Type 90 Kyū-maru MBT, whose 50+ ton mass and large size forces it to operate only on Hokkaido and in selected areas of Honshu, where the bridges are specially reinforced and railways have sufficient clearance to allow its passage. Moreover, two tanks with their crews and all attending equipment can be easily airlifted by the heavy An-124 transport plane. However, the most numerous Russian strategic airlifter, Il-76, is able to lift this mass only in its newest, PS-90-equipped variant, the still-unknown dimensions of the tank notwithstanding.
Protection[edit | edit source]
In addition to dual-reactive armour Malachit the T-14 features an active protection system Afghanit (Russian language: Афганит). This system includes a millimeter-wavelength radar to detect, track and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges. Currently, the maximum speed of the interceptable target is 1,700 m/s, with projected future increases of up to 3,000 m/s. According to the news sources it protects the tank from all sides.
Defense Update released their analysis of the tank, where they speculate that Afghanit main sensors are the four panels mounted on a turret's sides, which are probably the AESA radar panes spread out for the 360° view, and possible one more on top of the turret. In their opinion, the active part of the system consists of both a hard kill and soft kill elements, first of which actively destroys the incoming projectile (such as a dumb rocket or artillery shell), while the second confuses the guidance systems of ATGMs and such, causing it to lose the infrared or laser guided target lock. They believe that it would be effective against most modern ATGMs, including Hellfire, TOW, Javelin, Spike, Brimstone, JAGM, etc.
Afghanit hard-kill launchers are the long tubes mounted in groups of five between the turret's front sides and the chassis. These send out an electronically activated charge that shoots an Explosively Formed Penetrator towards the target (in all directions). Aside from that, the tank is also equipped by the NII Stali's Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex, which consists of two steerable cartridges with 12 smaller charges each, and a turret-top VLS with two more similar cartridges. It probably corresponds to the Defense Update soft-kill system. Additionally, using AESA radar and anti-aircraft machine gun it is possible to destroy incoming missiles and slow-flying shells (except hypersonic kinetic energy penetrators).
The tank's crew of three is protected by an internal armored capsule with more than 900 mm RHA equivalent, increasing their chance of survival in case of a catastrophic kill. Both the chassis and the turret are equipped with the latest Russian ERA system from the front, sides and the top. Turret shape utilizes stealth technology, decreasing its radio and thermal signatures. The T-14 uses the integrated computerized control system which monitors the state and functions of all tank modules. In battle, the software can analyze threats and then either suggest or automatically take the actions to eliminate them, while without the external threat it can detect and rectify the crew errors. Serial production of the Armata Platform's ceramic armor components began in mid-2015.
In July 2015, the deputy director of the Uralvagonzavod tank manufacturing company claimed the T-14 would be invisible to radar and infrared detection through radar-absorbing paint and burying components with heat signatures deep in the hull. American and Russian armor experts have doubts about these unproven claims. A retired U.S. senior military officer said that sensitive modern thermal technology could pick up things such as vehicle movement, a weapon firing, an exposed crewman, or the exhaust of an engine capable of moving a 50-ton tank regardless of heat-generating component placement. Russian analysts also pointed out that most stealth applications in Russia have been geared towards aircraft to reduce their radar cross section from airborne or ground-based detection, while in a ground vehicle the approach would be to make it indistinguishable from ground clutter to optimize shielding from air-to-ground detection, and the two techniques do not necessarily overlap.
Sensors and communication[edit | edit source]
The tank is equipped with the 26,5–40 GHzActive electronically scanned array radar  that has a range of 100 km, which is mainly used by the Active protection system. Up to 40 airborne or 25 ground targets up to 0.3 m in size can be tracked simultaneously. The tracking system provides an automatic firing solution to the destruction of the target, which can be then transferred to either the APS or the main gun control computers. The tank will be able to give target designation for the artillery, serve in air defence and reconnaissance functions. The T-14 uses highly protected communication channels that connect a group of T-14s and the command post.
The commander and gunner have largely indentical multispectral image sights, with the visible electromagnetic spectrum and thermography channels and laser rangefinders. The commander's sight is installed on the turret top and has 360° field of view, while the gunner's one, situated in the turret's niche to the gun's left, is slaved to it and is additionally equipped with the direct-vision periscopic channel and laser designator for the gun-launched, Semi-automatic command to line of sight anti-tank missiles. The detection distance of tank-sized object for both of the sights is 7,500 m at day through the TV/periscopic channel, and ~3,500 m at night through the thermal channel. Additionally, a backup night-vision capable sight is installed, with 2,000/1,000 m respective detection distances. The driver in addition to the traditional vision periscopes has a Forward looking infrared camera and a number of zooming Closed-circuit television cameras for an all-round field of view. Video cameras are installed for all-round vision for the crew, since it lacks the normal vantage point of turret roof hatches. 360-degree camera coverage is perhaps one of the T-14's most unique features, although made necessary because of the extremely limited visibility without them. With the crew clustered in the front of the hull, they would have poor situation awareness if the camera setup and video feeds were to fail. Although the T-14 is touted as a Russian-made next-generation tank, some components may not be entirely domestically made. Cybersecurity analysts have revealed Russian industries have had difficulty producing critical components of night-vision systems (standard on the tank) and have attempted to buy them from Western suppliers in the past through various operations. This means components of the T-14 could have originated outside of Russia, which may be more difficult to obtain or produce due to sanctions against Russia for its Ukraine activities.
Unit cost[edit | edit source]
As of May 2015, the unit cost hasn't been officially announced yet, though the matter is being discussed in the press, with different possible figures being proposed by different analysts:
- ₽200 mil. (~US$4.0 million by the mid-May 2015 exchange rate) This is about twice as much as the current production T-90A, around the proposed T-90AM cost, and slightly less than half of the M1A2.
- ₽400 mil. (~US$7.4 million by the same rate), comparable to the cost of a light fighter aircraft. This is still less than the cost of some other MBTs.
- The current agreed price is an undisclosed fixed sum, but is applicable to the current lot only; also the present embargo on Russia make it difficult for mass production and it will be significantly reduced in production.
Export[edit | edit source]
Egypt[edit | edit source]
Denis Manturov, the Russian minister of trade and industry, said that Russia was ready to sell the highly-sophisticated Armata tank to Egypt. "Russia is ready to discuss with Egypt the delivery of the T-14 Armata tank after executing its plans for this new generation tank under the state armaments program" he told RIA Novosti on a visit to Cairo.
The manufacturer of the Russian Armata tank invited a delegation from Egypt to a military equipment and arms expo in Russia, where the capability of the new tank will be demonstrated. "We invited the Egyptian delegation to the exhibition of weapons, which will be held in September this year, to show what this machine is capable of," the company's director Oleg Sienko told TV Channel Russia-24.
China and India[edit | edit source]
Vladimir Kozhin, Russian Presidential Aide, said that Russia’s foreign partners, including China and India, have expressed interest in purchasing new military equipment presented at the May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow, including the Armata tank. "To a larger extent it is our traditional partners: India, China and South-East Asia" he told the Izvestia newspaper. Even though China has shown interest in the T-14, Chinese company Norinco claims their domestic VT-4 tank is superior to the Armata design in terms of mechanical reliability, fire control, and unit cost.
See also[edit | edit source]
|T-14 during night time rehearsal of the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to T-14 Armata.|
Image gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
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- "Russia’s new Armata tank on Army 2015 shopping list". RT. 2015-02-21. http://rt.com/news/234363-armata-tracked-armored-platform/. Retrieved 2015-02-21.
- Литовкин, Дмитрий (9 May 2015). "Цена танка "Армата" вызвала споры" (in ru). http://www.vestifinance.ru/articles/57080?page=6. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
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-  - RIA Novosti.com, 26 May 2015
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-  - Sputniknews.com, 4 June 2015
- Can This Chinese Tank Beat Russia’s T-14 Armata? - Thediplomat.com, 9 June 2015
[edit | edit source]
- New Russian Armor – First analysis: Armata: Defense Update analysis.
- Russia's armour revolution: Jane's analysis.
- Full details: Armata official government source
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