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Tanks are immensely important to a land power like Russia. Tanks were what allowed the Red Army to counterattack in World War II, forcing back Germany and her allies all the way back to Berlin. Tanks guarded against the forces of reactionary imperialism during the Cold War, and in the post–Cold War era have formed the backbone of Russia’s conventional defenses.
Earlier this month Russian news announced the first deliveries of the T-14 Armata tank, straight from manufacturer Uralvagonzavo’s factory. Armata is exactly what Russia needs: a fresh, new design with room to grow over the next several decades. According to RT, more than one hundred T-14s have been ordered. That’s enough to fill out a tank regiment or brigade, plus spares. Another 2,200 are to follow, enough for seven tank divisions.
The West will be dealing with this tank for decades to come. One year after introduction, what do we know about it?
The basic statistics: Armata is thirty-five feet long, weighs fifty tons and has a maximum road speed of fifty miles an hour. It has a crew of three, with the turret completely unmanned. The tank has a 125-millimeter main gun, 12.7-millimeter heavy machine gun and 7.62-millimeter hull coaxial machine gun.
Weighing just fifty tons, the implication is that Armata deliberately has less armor than tanks such as the Abrams and Challenger II, both of which weigh around seventy tons. This is likely due to Russia’s confidence in its active and passive tank protection systems. Moscow’s new tank is equipped with the Afganit active protection system, which uses a combination of sensors and kinetic energy projectiles to knock down incoming rocket propelled grenades, antitank missiles, and subcaliber projectiles.
Like any tank, Armata is a combination of protection, firepower and mobility. The armor is a composite incorporating a new steel alloy known as 44C-SV-W, developed by the JSC Institute of Steel—also known as the NII Stali Institute for Protection—in Moscow. The new steel, made via electroslag melting, is apparently lighter than traditional steel, shaving “hundreds of kilograms” off the vehicle weight.
The tank also features an anti-detection aerosol disperser, a new explosive reactive armor nicknamed “Malachite,” slat armor covering the engine spaces and even an electronic countermine system to prevent antitank mines from detonating.
Another protective measure the crew will appreciate: like the Abrams, main gun ammunition is stored separately away from the crew. This means Armata crews will likely avoid the fate of many Syrian T-72 crews that have met their end after a HEAT warhead detonated their onboard ammunition supply.
SOURCE : http://nationalinterest.org/