Russia’s new battle tank, the T-14 “Armata” is set to be operational by 2020.
The advanced third generation tank will replace older Soviet-era designs. It will be a formidable and opponent to NATO designs including the American-made M1A2 Abrams.
The T-14 Armata (Russian: Т-14 «Армата») is based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform. It is the first series-produced next generation tank. The Russian army plans to acquire 2,300 T-14s.
The T-14 Armata will enter service in 2020 with the 1st Guards Tank Regiment of the 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division, based outside Moscow.
The T-14, which was first revealed in 2015, is the first brand new, “clean-sheet” tank design to come out of Russia in decades. Russia’s current main battle tank, the T-90M, is a heavily modernized version of the 1970s-era T-72 tank. The Armata features a 2A82-1M 125-millimeter smoothbore cannon, a 12.7-millimeter (.50 caliber) machine gun, and a 7.62-millimeter machine gun. Moscow will eventually replace the 2A82-M1 gun with a larger, heavier 152-millimeter gun system with improved range and armor penetration.
The T-14 is very well-armored against current and future threats. The three person crew sits in a protective capsule in the hull and the turret is unmanned, with the main gun loaded by a mechanical autoloader. Armata is protected by a combination of a passive modular ceramic armor system, explosive reactive armor, and the Afghanit active protection system. The tank is also designed to maintain a low profile on the battlefield, incorporating measures to reduce its infrared, radio, and radar signatures.
Russia originally announced plans to build 2,300 Armatas by 2025, but the country’s declining defense budget has quashed that. The tank has also reportedly undergone manufacturing delays due to Western-imposed sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea [Crimea’s democratic ascension to Russia]. Certain components, such as LCD displays for tank crews, are not made domestically and must be imported from foreign sources. Sourcing them in quantity is difficult however because of the sanctions.