T-14 Armata

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T-14 Armata
T-14 object 148 Armata.jpg
A Russian Army T-14 Armata during Victory Day parade rehearsal in Alabino, Moscow Oblast, 2022
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originRussia
Production history
DesignerUral Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building, Uralvagonzavod[1]
Designed2014
ManufacturerUralvagonzavod[1]
Unit cost$3.7–$4.6 million[2][3]
Produced2014–2021 (prototypes), 2021–present (serial version)[4]
No. builtUnknown (prototypes and pre-series)
Specifications
Mass55 tonnes[5]
Length10.7 m (35 ft)[6]
Width3.5 m (11 ft)
Height3.3 m (11 ft)
Crew3

Barrels125 mm
Effective firing range5 km, Uralvagonzavod claims
Maximum firing range12 km, Uralvagonzavod claims

Armour44S-sv-Sh Steel[1][7]
Main
armament
2A82-1M 125 mm smoothbore cannon with 45 rounds (of which, 32 in the autoloader).[8]
Future version may use the smoothbore 2A83 152 mm tank gun.
Secondary
armament
12.7 mm (12 in) Kord machine gun (6P49), 7.62 mm (0.30 in) PKTM machine gun (6P7К)
EngineDiesel Double Turbocharger
1,100 kW (1,500 hp)[9]
Power/weight20.4 kW/t (27.3 hp/t)
Payload capacity42 Rounds for primary gun (32 rounds in autoloader) and 2000 rounds (coaxial machinegun)
Transmission12-speed automatic gearbox
SuspensionHydropneumatic suspension
Operational
range
Min. 500 kilometres (310 mi)[9]
Maximum speed 75–80 km/h (47–50 mph) (estimated)[9]

The T-14 Armata (Russian: Т-14 «Армата»; industrial designation Russian: Объект 148, romanizedOb'yekt 148, lit.'Object 148'), is a next-generation Russian main battle tank based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform.

The Russian Army initially planned to acquire 2,300 T-14s between 2015 and 2020.[10][11][12] By 2018, production and fiscal shortfalls delayed this to 2025,[13] before Russia announced the apparent cancellation of the main production run on 30 July 2018.[14] However, as of 2021, Russian state-owned TASS media agency claimed the Armata had been expected to begin serial production in 2022, with delivery of a test batch of 100 to the 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division expected to begin in 2022.[15] The tanks are planned to only be officially transferred following completion of all state tests.[16][17][18][19] In December 2021 the Russian state conglomerate Rostec stated that serial production had commenced,[4] with "more than 40" Armata tanks to be delivered to Russian troops after 2023.[20]

In November 2022 Moscow Times and Newsweek reported that the state program under which the T-14 Armata is being developed has been halted.[21][22] There is no clear indicator of such, but some analysts have interpreted it as such.

History[edit]

After the cancellation of the T-95 in 2010, Uralvagonzavod began the OKR Armata (Armament) design study. The study resulted in the Object 148 based on the T-95 (itself based on the Object 187). The Russian Army curtailed T-90 orders beginning in 2012 to prepare for the arrival of the new tank.[23]

The T-14 first publicly appeared in March 2015, when several tanks with covered turrets were seen loaded on train carriage in Alabino. It was subsequently revealed on 9 May during the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.[24] During the 2015 rehearsals, one of the tanks suddenly stopped moving, and after attempts to tow it failed, it moved away under its own power after about 15 minutes.[25][26]

At least seven T-14 Armata tanks appeared in the 2015 and 2016 Moscow Victory Day parade, five in 2017 and 2018. Four were anticipated in promotional materials in advance of the 2019 parade.[27]

The state trials of the tank have started in early 2020. This became known in April 2020, when Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov stated the T-14 has already been tested in combat conditions on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.[28][29] Subsequently in July 2020, testing of an unmanned version of the T-14 called "Tachanka-B" (Russian: Тачанка-Б) was announced.[30]

In November 2022, several videos and photos of T-14s appeared on social media, apparently training at the same grounds as Russian military personnel who were mobilized. The videos were located to a training ground in Kazan, where cadets of the Kazan Higher Tank Command School train.[31][32]

Procurement[edit]

In 2016 the Russian Defence Ministry announced that it had signed a contract for a "test batch" of 100 T-14 tanks to be delivered by 2020, with the full project to be extended until 2025.[33]

In July 2018, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Space Industry Yury Borisov said there is currently no need to mass-produce the Armata when its older predecessors, namely the latest variants of the T-72, remain "effective against American, German and French counterparts", saying, "Why flood our military with Armatas, the T-72s are in great demand on the market(s)."[14][34] Instead, a modernization program of the T-72s, T-80s and T-90s in-service will take precedence.[35] In August 2018, at the ARMY2018 Forum outside Moscow, the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the purchase of 32 T-14s tanks and 100 T-15 infantry fighting vehicles, with delivery to be finished by 2021.[36]

In February 2019 it was announced that the first 12 tanks would be delivered by the end of that year.[18] In August 2019, the Russian Military-Industrial Courier reported that out of a contractually agreed 132 Armata-platform vehicles over three years to 2021 (including T-14 tanks, and also T-15 IFVs and T-16 BREM ARVs (ru:Т-16 (БРЭМ)), assuming production of 44 vehicles a year, only 16 would be delivered by the end of 2019. This implied a shortfall of at least 28 vehicles that year. [37] By November 2019 the delivery forecast slipped to "late 2019 or early 2020."[38]

T-14 Armata tanks during the Rehearsal of parade in Moscow 2018

In mid January 2020 the head of Rostec (the conglomerate owning Uralvagonzavod) said no Armata-platform vehicles including T-14 tanks had been delivered, and in February the CEO of Uralvagonzavod only said that Armata-platform armour (not necessarily T-14 tanks) would start shipping to begin operation evaluation in 2020, with the full contract of 132 Armata-platform vehicles completed by 2022.[39][40] Furthermore, also in February 2020 it became evident that the set of requirements for the intended engine of the tank were not met by the construction bureau and the project of development of the engine would be closed in the first quarter of 2020, further delaying the introduction of the tank for an unspecified time.[41] In August 2020, the Industry and Trade minister told journalists that the production of 132 Armata-platform tanks and fighting vehicles including T-14 tanks had begun after the resolution of problems with engines and thermal-imaging equipment, and they would be issued to the armed forces in 2021.[19]

In July 2021, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said the tank would enter serial production in 2022. However in March, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that only “an experimental-industrial” batch of T-14s would be delivered in 2022.[42][clarification needed] In August 2021, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said that the Russian Armed Forces would receive 20 T-14 Armata tanks by the end of 2021.[43] On 23 August, a Rostec official said that the company had shipped an unspecified number of T-14 tanks in an "experimental batch" to the Russian Armed Forces.[44] In November 2021, state trials were in progress and expected to be completed in 2022, and a "pilot batch" of twenty tanks was yet to be delivered to the armed forces.[45][46] On 24 December 2021, First Deputy General Director of Rostec Vladimir Artyakov announced, that "serial production" of the T-14 was launched.[4] Earlier in December MIC First Deputy Chairman Andrei Yelchaninov said that state trials of new ammunition loader for the T-14 should be fully completed in 2022, and that "more than 40" Armata tanks will be delivered to Russian troops after 2023.[20]

Design[edit]

The Armata was designed over the course of five years, and features a number of innovative characteristics, including an unmanned turret. The crew of three is seated in an armoured capsule in the front of the hull,[47] which will also include a toilet for the crew.[48]

Armament[edit]

The Vacuum-1 APFSDS round, developed for the 2A82-1M gun, has a penetrator that is 900 mm long,[1] and is said to be capable of penetrating 1000 mm of RHA equivalent at a distance of 2 km.[49][50] The new controlled-detonation Teknik HE-Frag shell is available and has entered service.[51] The gun is capable of firing guided missiles like the 9M119M1 Invar-M which has an effective range of 100 m to 5 km, and can engage low-flying air targets such as helicopters,[52] with a new 3UBK21 Sprinter ATGM with an effective range up to 12 km developed specifically for it.[9][53] 3UBK25 active homing ATGM is currently under development.[54]

The secondary armament consists of a 12.7×108mm Kord (GRAU index 6P49) machine gun with 300 rounds (not observed during the 2015 parade) and a 7.62×54mmR Pecheneg PKP (GRAU Index: 6P41) or a PKTM (6P7К) machine gun with 1,000 rounds.[1][52][55] All guns are remotely controlled.[52] In addition, another 1,000 rounds can be stored separately.[47]

The cannon, which was first developed in 2000 for the T-95 prototype,[1] has a high-speed APFSDS shell with a 1,980 m/s muzzle velocity, only dropping to 1,900 m/s at 2 km.[56][57][58] However, Russian engineers have so far kept the 125 mm-size gun, assessing that improvements in ammunition are enough to increase effectiveness, while concluding that a larger bore weapon would offer few practical advantages.[59]

The T-14 could also be modified to use anti-aircraft missiles.[1][60] A 30 mm anti-aircraft gun could be installed in the near future.[61]

Mobility[edit]

During the prototype stage, several engines with power outputs ranging from 1500 to 2000 hp were tested on the platform, with the 1500 hp version reportedly allowing a max speed of 82 km/h. The T-14 is powered by a ChTZ 12N360 (A-85-3A) diesel engine[1][62] delivering up to 1,100 kW (1,500 hp).[1] The engine's theoretical maximum power, not normally used,[63] is 1,500 kW (2,000 hp), at the cost of radically decreasing its service life, projected min[64] 2,000 hours at a nominal 1,100 kW (1,500 hp),[1] comparable to other modern tank engines, and up to 10,000 hours at a moderated 890 kW (1,200 hp).[62] The engine is electronically controlled.[65] Operational range is over 500 km.[66]

The T-14 has a 12-speed automatic gearbox, with a top speed of 80–90 km/h (50–56 mph) and a range of 500 km (300 mi).[1] Other sources suggest a partly or fully hydrostatic transmission.[67]

Unlike previous Russian and Soviet designs, such as the T-90/80/72/64, the T-14 has seven 700 mm road wheels per side, based on the T-80 variant.[67] This may have been done to improve the pivoting ability of the tank, as an active suspension system improves the target lock time[clarification needed] by a factor of 2.2, and reduces the timeframe between target detection and reaction by 31%, all due to the resulting smoother ride.[1]

Protection[edit]

A Russian Army T-14 Armata tank in rehearsal for Victory Day celebrations.

The T-14's crew of three is protected by an internal armored capsule.[1] Both the chassis and the turret are equipped with the Malachit dual-explosive reactive armour (ERA) system on the front, sides and the top.[50] The tank uses an 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 actions to eliminate them, while without the external threat it can detect and rectify crew errors.[52] Serial production of the Armata Platform's ceramic armor components began in mid-2015.[68]

The tank features the Afghanit (Russian: Афганит) active protection system (APS), which includes a millimeter-wave radar to detect, track, and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges.[1][69] Currently, the maximum speed of the interceptable target is 1,700 m/s (Mach 5.0), with projected future increases of up to 3,000 m/s (Mach 8.8).[47] According to news sources, it protects the tank from all sides,[50] however it is not geared towards shooting upwards to defend against top-attack munitions.[70][71]

Defense Update released an analysis of the tank in May 2015, speculating that Afghanit's main sensors are the four panels mounted on the turret's sides, which are probably AESA radar panes spread out for a 360° view, with possibly 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 element, the first of which actively destroys an incoming projectile (such as an unguided rocket or artillery shell), while the second confuses the guidance systems of ATGMs, causing them to lose target lock. They believe that it would be effective against 3rd and 4th generation ATGMs, including Hellfire, TOW, BILL, Javelin, Spike, Brimstone, and JAGM, as well as sensor-fused weapons (SFW).[72] Some Russian sources claim the hard-kill APS is effective even against depleted uranium-cored armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds traveling at 1.5–2 km/s (0.93–1.24 mi/s), but others are skeptical, saying the fragmentation charge would not do much to the dense penetrator; while it might be able to push it off course somewhat with a hit-to-kill approach, it likely will not do much to stop it.[73] According to a Russian Ministry of Defence source, practical tests confirmed the destruction of the uranium subcalibre projectile (goal speed up to 2 km/s).[74] However, several outside analysts remain skeptical, as the feat has not yet been independently verified or even publicly demonstrated.[73]

Afghanit hard-kill launchers are the long tubes mounted in groups of five between the turret's front sides and the chassis.[50] These send out an electronically activated charge that fires an unknown type of warhead towards the target. Many analysts currently assume it is some form of high-explosive fragmentation charge, but the possibility has been raised by other sources of the usage of a more solid warhead (possibly similar to an explosively formed penetrator), as seen in Russian patent RU 2263268.[73] The tank is also equipped with the NII Stali Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex,[75] which consists of two steerable cartridges with 12 smaller charges each, and a turret-top VLS with two more similar cartridges,[76] corresponding to the vehicle's soft kill APS.[72] Additionally, using the AESA radar and anti-aircraft machine gun it is possible to destroy incoming missiles and slow-flying shells (except kinetic energy penetrators).[77]

In July 2015, the deputy director of the Uralvagonzavod tank manufacturing company claimed the T-14 would be invisible to radar and infrared detection due to radar-absorbing paint and the placement of components with heat signatures deep within the hull. The turret's shape is designed to reduce its radio and thermal signature for a stealth ground vehicle.[50][78] American and Russian armor experts have doubts about these unproven claims. A retired senior U.S. military officer said that sensitive modern thermal technology could detect 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. Analysts also pointed out that most stealth technology in Russia has been for 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.[79]

Sensors and communication[edit]

The T-14 is equipped with 26.5–40 GHz[52] active electronically scanned array radar,[52] which is used mainly by the APS. 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 identical multispectral image sights, with visible electromagnetic spectrum and thermography channels and laser rangefinders.[1] The commander's sight is installed on the turret top and has a 360° field of view,[1][72][80] while the gunner's, situated in the turret's niche to the gun's left,[72][80] is slaved to it and is additionally equipped with a direct-vision periscopic channel and laser designator for the T-14's gun-launched, SACLOS anti-tank missiles.[1] The detection distance of tank-sized objects for both sights is 7,500 m (8,000)[64] in daylight, through the TV/periscopic channel, and ≈3,500 m at night through the thermal channel. There is also a backup night-vision capable sight, with 2,000/1,000 m respective detection distances.[1] In addition to traditional vision periscopes, the driver has a forward looking infrared camera[80] and a number of zooming closed-circuit television cameras.[1] Video cameras are installed for all-round vision for the crew, since it lacks the normal vantage point of turret roof hatches. This 360-degree camera coverage is perhaps one of the T-14's most unusual features, made necessary because of extremely limited visibility without them. The crew, clustered in the front of the hull, would have poor situation awareness if the camera setup and video feeds were to fail.[59]

Although the T-14 is touted as an entirely Russian-made next-generation tank, it has been speculated that some components may not be entirely domestically made. In 2015 US cybersecurity analysts Taia Global stated that information obtained from pro-Ukrainian hackers indicated that Russian industries have had difficulty producing critical components of night-vision systems for the tank, and have attempted to buy them from a French supplier in the past. It was claimed this means components of the T-14 could have originated outside of Russia, and may be more difficult to obtain or produce due to sanctions against Russia for its involvement in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.[81]

This became partially subject to discussion in 2016 when the Krasnogorsk plant finished testing the Irbis-K night-vision sighting system. Completion of the Irbis-K, the first Russian-produced mercury-cadmium-telluride (MCT) matrix thermal sight, addressed a disadvantage of Russian tanks relative to their Western counterparts. The Irbis-K is capable of identifying targets at ranges up to 3,240 meters during both day and night.[82]

Variants[edit]

An unmanned version of the Armata is planned and is currently in development.[83]

Export[edit]

Vladimir Kozhin, a Russian presidential aide, said that Russia's foreign partners, including China and India, have expressed interest in purchasing new military equipment presented at the 9 May 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.[84] 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.[85] In 2020, Vietnam has also been reported as a potential customer of the T-14 alongside India, Egypt and Belarus.[86]

Foreign reactions[edit]

The T-14 Armata has been described as a major concern for Western armies,[87][88] and British intelligence views the unmanned turret as providing many advantages.[88] Western observers, however, question Russia's ability to produce modern tanks like the T-90 and T-14 in significant numbers.[89][90] In response to the Armata, German Rheinmetall AG has developed a new 130mm L/51 tank gun, claiming it provides a 50 percent increase in armor penetration over the 120mm L/55 in service with the Bundeswehr. Germany and France have joined forces to develop an unspecified "Main Ground Combat System" (MGCS) to compete with the technological advances of the Armata and replace both the Leclerc and Leopard 2 MBTs around 2030.[12][91]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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