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Russian Armored Forces To Get New Teeth

April 1, 2012

Mark those calendars. Come next year, the Russian defense establishment outs its new battle tank. This isn’t the T-95 T-90S Tagil, which got the benefit of some Putin love several months ago. Rather, it’s the fabled Armata, a super secret fourth generation MBT whose specs are keeping both enthusiasts and ‘analysts’ wondering.

Though no photos or certified illustrations of the Armata exist, there is a solid consensus that it incorporates features from previous models such as the Chiorny-Oriol Black Eagle and another experimental design. The Black Eagle was once hailed as Russia’s latter day MBT, but it turned out to be a mere project that never got off the ground. Defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Omsk-based tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavad’s CEO Oleg Sienko have assured Vladimir Putin that the new tank will be ready by 2013. It enters service in Russian units on 2015, though how many is uncertain.

Based on rife speculation across various internet fora, the Armata project marks a new plateau for Russian tank design. It might even be a permanent departure from the longstanding engineering philosophy that brought the world such classics as the ubiquitous T-55, the T-72, and the T-80.

Certain aspects of its features are already much agreed on, such as a chassis that supports seven road wheels. An improved engine is expected as well as a complete overhaul of the turret, one that accommodates heftier protection, remote controlled counter measures, and extra storage space for munitions. A comprehensive electronics package and an advanced fire control system for precision targeting by the gunner are just as indispensable. Some believe that the Armata’s main gun might be chambered to fire 155mm rounds. (Note 10-4-2013: Russian main guns for MBTs will likely remain chambered for 125mm rounds.)

What is certain though is the vast Russian ground forces are streamlining their armored might. According to RIA Novosti, a defense official stated that older models like T-80 and its predecessors are to be scrapped.

The same applies to small arms, namely the AK-74. Last month, the Russian Army finally halted orders of the assault rifle, citing that supplies were more than adequate—17 million AK-74s re believed to be kept in warehouses.

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