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The Russian Armata MBT Has Been Revealed

April 27, 2015

Russian T-14 Armata 03 (via Gur Khan)

After years of speculation, the Armata MBT is here.

The Armata by Uralvagonzavod is the newest Russian battle tank and the first to enter service with the ground forces since the Soviet Union collapsed. (Because the T-90S is a derivative f the T-72.)

As the fruit of a long-term modernization and rearmament program, the Armata appears to be a groundbreaking model–and it is. The Armata was first mentioned in Russian media five years ago, when generous funding was poured into state-owned manufacturers. But images and photos of it were never published.

At the time the Armata’s features included:

  • An unmanned turret
  • A remote controlled main gun and secondary armament
  • A unique fire control system
  • A three-man crew
  • A universal chassis that would serve as the basis for other vehicles
  • New engine

These requirements were unprecedented for Russian tanks and created a mythical amount of speculation online. One of the Armata’s biggest marketing tools was the defunct RIA Novosti, now re-branded as Sputnik International.

Sputnik International does its part reporting small details about the Armata on a scheduled basis without straying into controversy.

Russian concept tank

A concept illustration of the Armata with an interesting combination of secondary armaments attached to the turret’s sides–a 30mm auto cannon and a 12.7mm minigun.

Since March, however, a leaked video from Sputnik International finally proved the Armata’s existence. The same video went viral across social media and various discussion boards for military enthusiasts. It was unlike any Russian tank in service, having:

  • Seven road wheels
  • A large chassis
  • An angular turret
  • An unidentified 125mm main gun
  • A general appearance far removed from the original Soviet T-series MBTs
  • Two frontal hatches for crew members

Earlier this week, the Russian Ministry of Defense published better quality images that revealed more details about the Armata and other upcoming vehicles, including the Kurganets IFV, the 2S35 Koalitsiya self-propelled artillery system, the Bumerang 8×8 APC, the Gaz Tigr 4×4, and the Taifun-series MRAPs.

These vehicles are scheduled to drive by Lenin’s mausoleum during the annual Victory Parade in Red Square on May 9.

Russian T-14 Armata

Screen shot from leaked footage in late March, 2015. The Armata appeared in an amateur video clip recorded from the dashboard of a nearby vehicle.

What sets the Armata apart from its peers is its automated turret, arguably the largest in the world, with embedded digital cameras providing visuals instead of optical sights.

There isn’t a detailed official specifications sheet for the Armata yet. Judging by available images, the Armata was designed with crew protection and performance in mind instead of the usual speed and firepower. Armoring is extensive on every side of the chassis, with reactive panels covering the front where the crew are.

The turret itself, although limited in size compared to the Leopard 2A7 and the M1A2, is a protective shell for the main armaments.

Via Sputnik International

Via Sputnik International.

This is also why the Armata’s crew are located in the hull and separated from the magazine feeding the main gun. The “parade” version of the Armata has extensive side skirts and slat armor around its exhaust vent and engine compartment, further proof of its emphasis on protection. The dimensions of its chassis suggest a larger engine, perhaps a 1,500 horsepower model. Military-Today claims it uses a 1,200hp diesel engine.

Its size and probable engine type suggests a gross weight in the 50 ton range and a top speed between 60 to 65 kilometers per hour.

The specific type of fire control, active protection, and battlefield management systems are a question mark. Although an autoloader, night vision and thermal imaging, satellite navigation, a laser rangefinder, and air purifiers to filter toxins are given.

A reported 2,300 Armata’s are scheduled for production within the next five years. Once the Armata is in service with Russia’s armored brigades, it’s unclear what happens to the vast numbers of T-64’s, T-72’s, and T-80’s that require storage once the Armata replaces them.

Russian T-95 Chiorny Oriol

The T-95 Chiorny Oriol, a.k.a. “Black Eagle, an experimental tank from the 1990s.