It’s no secret that the epic Russian T-14 Armata tank was built on a highly modular platform, that could allow for the possibility of unmanned models. This is because the T-14 is not a stand-alone Tank, but rather, its built as part of the Armata Universal Combat Platform, which is an advanced series of armored vehicles that is to include an unmanned robotic tank.
Up until now, we have yet to hear what an unmanned Armata Tank may be called, however a Russian language report from RIA Novosti just answered this question. It was named after an old WW1 weapon system, which became an iconic feature of one of the most depressing moments in Russian history – the Civil War.
The unmanned Armata Tank has reportedly been given the name Tachanka. A Tachanka is a horse-drawn carriage which mounts a heavy machine gun. They were used in the First World War, and subsequently, in the Russian Civil War, and the brutal periods of rebellions, wars, and anarchistic and revolutionary terror seen throughout the second and third decades of the 20th century.
While those fielded for use by the Imperial Army against the German and Austro-Hungarian invaders were far more standardized, as you would expect, the same can not be said for those used by the Bolshevik forces, as well as the various anarchists and rebels that distinguished that time period, which tended to be more improvised.
They were typically pulled by two or three horses (like a militarized Troika), and mounted anything from the more standard Russian PM M1910 to the western Maxim, and other forms of machine guns.
In this regards, for their relative simplicity, and utilitarian theory of use, Tachanki were like an old version of the modern “Technical”, which are flatbed trucks, which are (at times crudely), but effectively modified for warfare.
The Tachanka, much like the technical, should not be underestimated though, at the time of their development, it must be understood that the former was far more advanced. There was nothing necessarily “low-tech” about a Tachanka during WW1, however, some groups did make more improvised versions of them. The Tachanka Tank, however, is anything but low-tech – it’s a robotic tank!
Tachanka B Tank
The tank described in the Russian report is anything but low tech, it may be the most advanced tank platform in the world. I have summarized and translated the Russian article, in order to better describe to you this amazing new tank.
It must be said, however, the article only revealed the name of the robotic version of the Armata Tank as being Tachanka:
“Tachanka B” constitutes the preliminary working design, of a heavy, robotic, unmanned combat platform, built on the T-14 base, as part of the family of new generation armored vehicles.” The article said in Russian.
The name Tachanka B, may therefore very well be a working name, to be changed upon final production, as often happens with these projects. The rest of the article which I translated below, describes the Aramata Tank, and the Armata Universal Combat Platform, which is particularly interesting.
This is because, the T-14 Armata Tank, and all its variants including the unmanned, ‘Tachanka B’ are built on that Armata Universal Combat Platform, which is a family of vehicles that will include, among many, “heavy IFVs (infantry fighting vehicles), engineering vehicles, heavy APCs (armored personnel carriers), tank support vehicles, recon, and command vehicles” and of course, the behemoth itself, the T-14 Armata MBT itself. My translation of the article begins below:
The Armata Tank
The T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT), is the first completely Russian-made tank in the world, of the third post-war generation. It is built on the basic platform of the new generation ‘Armata Universal Combat Platform‘ which will become the basis for a line of tanks, heavy IFVs, engineering vehicles, heavy APCs, tank support vehicles, recon, and command vehicles,
Earlier, the head of the Russian Ground Forces Oleg Salyukov wrote that there are “virtually unlimited opportunities” for the robotization of the Armata platform.
The Ministry of Defense named the main combat characteristics of the Armata platform as being a high amount of passive and active armor protection, making the tank superior to any other types of armored vehicles, high mobility, but also high firepower.
The Armata platform contains an innovative layout scheme, with the crew compartment being placed in a separate armored capsule from the ammunition and fuel compartments
[Translators note: This greatly improves the safety of the crew, as if God forbid, a round were to penetrate the fuel or ammunition storage, the crew would be shielded.]
This significantly improves the safety of the tank on the battlefield. The Tank armed with a 125 mm new generation main gun, with a digital fire control system, as well as remote-controlled automated weapons.
The crew is equipped with video devices with touch control, and the visibility of the vehicle’s thermal and radar footprint has been drastically reduced due to the use of stealth technology.
Armata was presented for the first time in 2015 at the Victory Day Parade on May 9th in Moscow, and in 2018, it will be open for public demonstration during the “Army 2018” forum.