T-14 Armata

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T-14 Armata[1]
VDayRehearsal05052016-28.jpg
A Russian Army T-14 Armata tank in rehearsal for Victory Day celebrations.
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin Russia
Service history
Used by Russian Ground Forces
Production history
Designer Ural Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building, Uralvagonzavod[2]
Manufacturer Uralvagonzavod[2]
Unit cost T-14: $3.7 million[3][4]
Produced 2015–present[5]
No. built 100+[6]
Specifications
Weight 48 tonnes[7]
Length 8.7 m (29 ft)[7]
Width 3.5 m (11 ft)
Height 3.3 m (11 ft)
Crew 3[2][5]

Armor

44S-sv-Sh[2][8]

Glacis: 900 mm vs APFSDS and 1400 vs HEAT.
Internal armored capsule with more than 900 mm RHA equivalent[9]
Malachit (4th generation ERA) can reduce penetration of APFSDS and HEAT rounds by at least 50%[10]
Main
armament
125 mm (4.92 in) smoothbore 2A82-1M tank cannon[5] with 45 rounds (32 of them in the autoloader)[11]
Future version may use the smoothbore 2A83 152 mm gun
Secondary
armament
12.7 mm (0.50 in) Kord machine gun (6P49), 7.62 mm (0.30 in) PKTM machine gun (6P7К)
Engine diesel
1,500 hp[12]–2,000 hp[12]
Power/weight 31hp/t
Transmission 12-speed automatic gearbox
Operational
range
min[12] 500 kilometres (310 mi)
Speed 80 km/h (50 mph)–90 km/h (56 mph) (estimated)[12]

The T-14 Armata (Russian: Т-14 «Армата»; industrial designation "Ob'yekt 148") is a Russian main battle tank based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform. It is the first series-produced next generation tank,[13] the Russian Army planned to acquire 2,300 T-14s in the period 2015–2020,[14][15] but production and fiscal shortfalls will restrict the number built to just 100 by 2020.[16] The first batch of T-14 Armata tanks will be deployed to the Taman division after 2020, tanks will be transferred only after the completion of all state tests.[17]

Design[edit]

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.[18]

Armament[edit]

The main armament of the T-14 is the 2A82-1M 125 mm (4.92 in) smoothbore cannon,[5][19] a replacement for the 2A46 125 mm gun of previous Russian and Soviet tanks. Its muzzle energy is greater than one of the world’s previously considered best cannons: the German Leopard 2 Rheinmetall 120 mm gun,[20] the 125 mm gun has 15–20% improved accuracy and its rolling fire angular dispersion has improved 1.7 times.[20] Features include an absence of a fume extractor (due to the unmanned turret), a firing rate of 10–12 rpm (rounds per minute), left side casing ejection port for the 125 mm gun[21] and a maximum effective-penetration range of 8 km with ATGMs. The detection range of the tank's optical sensors is more than 5 km[12] for tank-sized targets in daylight, and at least 3.5 km at night through the thermal imaging channel. The gunner sight's optical channel is equipped with 4× and 12× optical zoom,[2] the laser rangefinder has a theoretical maximum range of 7.5 km.[12] These systems are duplicated; in addition there is a weaker third system that can fire on the move. The crew uses a high-definition camera with a 360-degree field.[22]

The 2A82-1M 125 mm cannon can fire high-powered munitions, including armor-piercing discarding sabot projectiles, guided missiles, shaped-charges and other types of munitions.[23] The Vacuum-1 sabot round, developed for the 2A82-1M gun, has a penetrator that is 900 mm long,[2] and is capable of penetrating 1 m of RHA equivalent at a distance of 2 km.[24][25][26] The new controlled-detonation Telnik HE-Frag shell is also available and has entered service,[27][28] the gun is also capable of firing guided missiles like the 9M119M1 Invar-M which has an effective range of 100 m to 5 km and can also engage low-flying air targets such as helicopters.[29] a feature first implemented on 1960s Soviet tanks, with a new 3UBK21 Sprinter ATGM developed specifically for it. These missiles can be used for air defense.[12]

The secondary armament consists of a 12.7 mm Kord (GRAU index 6P49) machine gun with 300 rounds (not observed during the 2015 parade) and a 7.62 mm PKTM (6P7К) machine gun with 1,000 rounds.[2][29][30] All guns are remotely controlled;[29] in addition, another 1,000 rounds can be stored separately.[18] A 12.7 mm machine gun 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. The tank’s turret might also be fitted with a 30 mm sub-caliber ranging gun to deal with various targets, including low-flying aerial targets, such as attack planes and helicopters.[20][23]

In the future, the T-14 may use the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82 125 mm gun.[29][31][32][33] This gun, created around 2000 for the T-95 prototype,[2] has a high-speed APFSDS shell with a 1,980 m/s muzzle velocity, only dropping to 1,900 m/s at 2 km.[34][35][36][37] However, Russian engineers have so far 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.[38]

The T-14 can use anti-aircraft missiles.[2][39] A 30 mm anti-aircraft gun may be installed in the near future along with the 12.7 machine gun.[40]

Mobility[edit]

The T-14 is powered by a ChTZ 12Н360 (A-85-3A) diesel engine[2][41] delivering up to 1,500 hp.[2] The engine's theoretical maximum power, not normally used,[42] is 2,000 hp, at the cost of radically decreasing its service life, projected min[43] 2,000 hours at nominal 1,500 hp,[2] comparable to other modern tank engines, and up to 10,000 hours at moderated 1,200 hp.[41] The engine is electronically controlled.[15] Operational range is over 500 km.[22]

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).[2] At least one expert speculated that the transmission might be an electronically controlled mechanical gearbox with external reverse and demultiplier gears, giving the tank equal forward and reverse gear ranges.[44] Other sources suggest a partly or fully hydrostatic transmission.[45] 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(source?).

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.[45] It has the ability to adjust the suspension of at least the two first roadwheels, and, probably, the last ones;[46] in the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade rehearsal video, a T-14 Armata is shown retracting one of its frontal first wheels during turns. This, and some recently published design blueprints,[46] suggest at least a partial hydraulic suspension system based on the adjustable lever arm shock absorbers that now double as suspension actuators,[46] this may have been done to improve the pivoting ability of the tank, as an active suspension system improves the target lock time by a factor of 2.2, and reduces the timeframe between target detection and reaction by 31 percent, all due to the resulting smoother ride.[2][46]

Much thought was given to the tank's strategic mobility, its moderate mass of ~48 tons 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 in areas with specially reinforced bridges and railways with sufficient clearance.[47] Two T-14s 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, the Il-76, is able to lift this mass only in its newest, PS-90-equipped variant.

Protection[edit]

The T-14 Armata tank in the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

The T-14's crew of three is protected by an internal armored capsule[2] with more than 900 mm RHA equivalent,[2] increasing their chance of survival in case of a catastrophic kill.[25][48] Both the chassis and the turret are equipped with the Malachit dual-explosive reactive armour (ERA) system on the front, sides and the top,[26][49] the turret's shape is designed to reduce its radio and thermal signature.[26] 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.[29] Serial production of the Armata Platform's ceramic armor components began in mid-2015.[50]

The tank features the Afghanit (Russian: Афганит) active protection system (APS),[51] which includes a millimeter-wavelength radar to detect, track, and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges.[2][52] 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).[18] According to news sources, it protects the tank from all sides,[26] however it is not geared towards shooting upwards to defend against top-attack munitions,[53][54] these systems put the Armata a generation ahead in terms of defensive technology. Such systems are "only in their infancy on British and American tanks".[55]

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).[56] 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 won't do much to stop it.[57] Practical tests confirmed the destruction of the uranium subcalibration projectile (goal speed up to 2 km / s).[58]

Afghanit hard-kill launchers are the long tubes mounted in groups of five between the turret's front sides and the chassis.[26] These send out an electronically activated charge that fires an Explosively Formed Penetrator towards the target (in all directions),[59] the tank is also equipped with the NII Stali Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex,[60] which consists of two steerable cartridges with 12 smaller charges each, and a turret-top VLS with two more similar cartridges,[61] corresponding to the vehicle's soft kill APS.[56] 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).[62]

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. 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.[63]

Sensors and communication[edit]

The T-14 is equipped with 26.5–40 GHz radar,[29] Active electronically scanned array radar,[29] which has a range of 100 km and is used mainly by the APS. Up to 40 airborne or 25 ground targets down to 0.3 m (12 in) in size[18] can be tracked simultaneously. The tracking system provides an automatic firing solution for the destruction of the target, which can then be transferred to either the APS or the main gun control computers,[2] the tank will be able to give target designation for artillery[18][64] and serve in air defence and reconnaissance roles.[15][18][52][65] 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.[2] The commander's sight is installed on the turret top and has a 360° field of view,[2][56][66] while the gunner's, situated in the turret's niche to the gun's left,[56][66] 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.[2] The detection distance of tank-sized objects for both sights is 7,500 m (8000)[43] 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.[2] In addition to traditional vision periscopes, the driver has a forward looking infrared camera[66] and a number of zooming closed-circuit television cameras.[2] 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.[38]

Although the T-14 is touted as an entirely Russian-made next-generation tank, some components may not be entirely domestically made. Cybersecurity analysts have stated that Russian industries have had difficulty producing critical components of night-vision systems which are standard on the tank, and have attempted to buy them from Western or Chinese suppliers in the past, 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.[67]

Victory Day Parade[edit]

The tank was first shown in public during rehearsals for the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade,[68] during the 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.[69][70]

NATO response[edit]

The T-14 Armata is a new and advanced main battle tank, and may be the first next generation tank to enter serial production.[13][71] British intelligence views the unmanned turret as providing many advantages,[72] it has been described as a major concern for Western armies.[73][72] However, western observers question the economics of Russia's modern tanks like the T-90 and T-14 to be available in significant numbers.[74][75]

Russia claims the tank's main armament is twenty years ahead of comparable Western tank guns and renders existing NATO anti-tank weaponry obsolete;[55] in response to the Armata, German Rheinmetall AG has developed a new 130mm L/51 tank gun, claiming it provides a 50% increased armor penetration over the 120mm L/55 in service with the Bundeswehr today. Additionally, Germany and France have joined efforts 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.[71][76]

Export[edit]

Egypt[edit]

Denis Manturov, the Russian minister of trade and industry, said that Russia was ready to sell the 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 in May 2015.[77]

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 [2015], to show what this machine is capable of," the company's director Oleg Sienko told TV Channel Russia-24.[78]

Asia-Pacific[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 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.[79] 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.[80]

See also[edit]

External video
T-14 during night time rehearsal of the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

Image gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]