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Everything You Wanted To Know About The T-14 Armata

February 18, 2019

A recent “Special Project” from Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass uncovers almost every relevant detail about the much hyped T-14 Armata tank. Tass’ Special Projects are interactive webpages dedicated to a single topic, although most entries are thinly veiled promotional media for Russia’s new generation of weapons. With the T-14 that was unveiled just four years ago, Tass offers  a complete rundown on the tank. Its frontal armor, for example, is “approximately” 1,400 millimeters thick–impervious to all direct fire high explosive projectiles.It’s fast too, with a 1,200 horsepower “X-shaped” engine giving it a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

This and more is found in Tass’ T-14 Armata profile.

The “Special Project” on the T-14 Armata has seven parts, beginning with a timeline for explaining its origins as an offshoot of the Object 148 and 195 tank programs. When the latter had bogged down in red tape, Tass mentions the resulting T-95 was “not authorized for service,” it was revived in 2009 and combined with the “Black Eagle” experimental tank by 2011. To give it a publicity boost, the Turkic name “Armata” was applied to mean “ancestor’s strength” and plans were drawn for building a vehicular family out of it.

The next parts are a comparison with the T-72B3 and a guide to its layout; a discussion about its engine type; a brief summary of its “electronics”; important specifications for its weapons; detailed analysis of its armor and countermeasures; and a suitable ending titled “Future” that claims the T-14 starts “experimental field operation” by 2020, which is contradicted by reports indicating its state trials begin this year and only 100 are scheduled to enter service by 2021.

Readers shouldn’t be surprised by the hyperbole used on the T-14 Armata since the “Special Project” comes from Russian state media. For example, the CEO of the manufacturer responsible for the T-14’s fire control system describes how fighting inside the tank is like “a computer game.” Other experts are mentioned praising the T-14’s protective qualities: it sprays aerosol at incoming laser-guided missiles and has reactive armor on its turret strong enough to resist top attack warheads. Towards the end, a Lieutenant General insists the T-14 must undergo tests in all environments, from the Arctic Circle to blistering deserts. “We are aware of the negative experience the Americans had with the M1 Abrams in Desert Storm,” he said. “Practically all their engines died so we’ve got to test everything.”

Readers can view Tass’ profile of the T-14 Armata here. The webpage’s design is tailored for sharing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and VK and is friendly to handheld devices. There’s an abundance of useful media as well that helps emphasize the tank’s different aspects. The constant hype surrounding the T-14 may inspire skepticism but there’s little doubt the possibility of large-scale production gives Russia a decisive advantage over NATO armies.

Below is a chart listing the T-14 Armata’s capabilities based on details shared by Tass plus other inputs. A comparison with new main battle tanks in Asia, rather than older NATO MBTs, is provided to see how they match up. These “rivals” are the Chinese Type 99A and the Turkish Altay that both emerged since 2010. Both tanks possess qualities that are either more appealing or superior to existing third-generation MBTs and have decent prospects as exports, albeit in separate variants. The PLA’s Type 99A, which is used in China’s northeast, is converted to the MBT 3000 with altered parts when marketed abroad.

UVZ T-14 Armata Norinco Type 99A BMC Altay
Weight
Tonnage 48 t 58 t 65-68 t
Personnel
Crew 3 3 4
Weapons
Primary 125mm 2A82-1M 125mm 2A46-variant MKEK 120mm / 52 caliber
Autoloader Below remote turret Carousel type None
Range HEAT/ATGM 3 km / 12 km 3 km / 5km 4 km
Secondary 7.62x54mm PTKM RWS 12.7mm Type 88 HMG 7.62mm / M2 .50 RWS (optional)
Coaxial MG None 7.62x54mm MG 7.62x51mm MG
Fire Control System Multiple target tracking / Phased Array Radar Not Available Hunter/killer target engagement
Magazine 40 rounds 43 40
Battlefield Network Automated Monitoring System Not available Aselsan Battle Management Suite
Protection
Armor-Glacis Malachit ERA + 1,200-1,400mm thickness Composite steel + ERA Rolled Homogeneous Armor
Armor-Sides Malachit ERA + rubber skirts + slats over engine exhaust rubber skirts Optional
Armor-Turret Malachit ERA + jamming system ERA ERA + add-on panels
Active Protection System Afganit Unspecified “laser dazzler” Under development
Projectile Detection “Optoelectronic jamming” Not Available Aselsan Laser Warning System
External Fuel Storage Armored compartment in the rear Behind engine compartment None
Stealth “Special coating” vs. thermal optics None None
Thermal Imaging Y/N? Y Y Y
CBRN Protected Y/N? Y Y Y
Mobility
Engine Type 1,200 – 1,500 hp “12-cylinder X-shaped” 1,500 hp diesel 1,500 hp under devlopment
Top Speed 75-80 km/h 80 km/h 65 km/h
Range 500 km 600 km 450 km
Maintenance 1 hour engine replacement Not available Not available
Suspension System “Active suspension” Torsion bar Hydro-pneumatic
Transmission System Automatic Automatic Automatic
Wheels 7 6 7
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