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T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank
Russia

T-14 Armata Tank

T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank Image #2
Unveiled / Entered Service
2014
T-14 Armata Tank Display
Status
Prototype
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Introduction

The T-14 Armata is a Russian 4th Generation Main Battle Tank unveiled to the general public at the 2015 (May) Moscow Victory Day Parade. Speculated to enter Russian Army service between 2015 to 2020, as of 2024 it still remains at the prototype stage. Initially intended to replace older T-80 and T-90 series main battle tanks, the Russian Army has since opted to refurbish and upgrade these tanks instead of pursuing the T-14.

Background

The 152mm Gun Tank Concept

By the late 1970’s/early 80’s both Russia and the West faced the same issue. Armour technology was still evolving, but large calibre ammunition to defeat it had peeked. Both sides started on programs to develop larger main guns (bore and calibre length). For the Americans it was the jump from 105mm rifled to a 120mm L44 smoothbore, the British experimented with a 130mm main gun as did West Germany.

For Russia, it was the 125mm 2A46 smoothbore series that they seeked to replace with a larger 152mm main gun. Development at a number of design bureau’s and production plants delivered a number of 152mm guns, with some mounted on spare T-80 and T-72 tanks for firing trials.

Both these vehicles and the T-90 were not practical platforms to be retrofitted with a 152mm smoothbore, as the new guns required ammunition that was not only wider, but longer and could not (i) be manually loaded and (ii) the manned turrets were too small to carry a full bomb load of at least 30+ rounds.

The British had also discovered this issue when trialing their 130mm main gun. The new ammunition was to big to be manually loaded and would require the Challenger 1 to be retrofitted with an auto loader and there would only be space for a total of x16 130mm rounds.

Project Predecessors

After development had proved the 152mm concept worked, development of a tank capable of operating this monster sized main gun started.

Utilising all available space in the turret with a new auto loader capable of holding a full bomb load resulted in an unmanned turret design, with the commander and gunner moved to the hull. This type of layout is what characterises a tank as “4th Generation”.

The first prototype tank with a 152mm main gun and an unmanned turret was Object 477, which is believed to have been completed in 1984. Development of the project ceased due to funding following the end of the Cold War and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The second working prototype was the T-95, which is also known as Object 195 or 195 Object. Development was picked up by the UralVagonZavod design bureau at some point in the late 1980’s. The project wasn’t acknowledged publicly until 2008. With spiraling development costs and the projected price per tank, the project was cancelled in 2010, with images of the prototype partially covered up with a tarpaulin being leaked on to the internet thereafter.

Development Problems

T-14 Dimmensions
T-14 Dimensions compared to T-90

The exact date development of the T-14 started with UralVagonZavod is not known, but was seen publicly for the first time at the 2015 (May) Moscow Victory Day Parade, where one of the pre production vehicles broken down whilst driving in the display.

What was also noticeably missing was the much anticipated 152mm smoothbore, with the tank instead using a modern 125mm smoothbore.

The T-14 was one of a number of new radical designs for Russia and did not resemble the normal design characteristics associated with former Soviet era vehicles.

Russia had relied heavily on Western supplied technology, namely thermal observation sights, but when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea (part of Ukraine) in 2014, Europe and other Western countries responded with trade sanctions, denying Russia of this much needed technology. This has had a negative impact on T-14 development and the production of other Russia tanks, such as the T-80BVM.

Innovative Design and Layout

The T-14 is built on a new “Universal Chassis” which is also used in the development of other new vehicles. All three crew members are located in a single fighting compartment in the front section of the hull with the unmanned turret located behind them and the engine compartment in the hulls rear.

Its worth noting that a number of countries have attempted to develop unmanned turret tanks that have not made it past the prototype stage.

Additional Systems:

The T-14 features an Auxiliary Power Unit which is used to power vehicle systems whilst the vehicle is not in motion to save on fuel and wear and tear of the main engine. Russian media also states that the vehicle now has a dedicated drone from reconnaissance.

Firepower

Since the original development of its 152mm main guns, Russia has developed new ammunition and gun technology for an improved 125mm smoothbore main gun for the T-14 Armata, the 2A82-1M. Manufactured in refined steel, it is able to handle an increased level of pressure whilst firing a new range of ammunition such as the Vacuum-1 APFSDS. It is also capable of firing both the 9K119M Refleks and the 3UBK21 Sprinter Anti-Tank Guided missile, giving the T-14 an effective range of 12+ kilometers.

The new autoloader can carry a bomb load of 32 rounds and has a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute.

The T-14 features a modern fire control system with thermal sighting technology and the capability to track moving targets. It also features in independent sight for the commander, giving it a “hunter killer” capability (3rd generation) which is integrated with the secondary Remote Weapon Station.

Secondary weapons include a coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun and a Remote Weapon Station with a 12.7mm MG on top of the turret.

The vehicles developers have stated that the unmanned turret is modular allowing them to switch the 125mm main gun to the 152mm with ease. However, if the current autoloader only has enough space to carry a maximum of x32 125mm rounds, it theoretically will not be able to carry the same number of the much larger 152mm rounds, which would not meet the needs of any modern army.

Protection

The T-14 features four layers of protection. The first is its Active Protection Systems to defeat incoming Anti-Tank Missiles, second is its Explosive Reactive Armour, third is a composite layer of armour and finally forth is an armored steel used to construct the vehicle.

Active Protection Systems:

The soft kill system is the NII Stali Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex. Using laser detection sensors, the system responds by launching multi-spectral aerosol canisters in the direction of the lasers origin to interrupt it and mask the T-14 from the enemies sighting technology. The system features a traversable launcher on either side of the turret and a third bank embedded in the turrets roof.

The Afghanit hard kill system uses a number of radars on the turret to detect incoming guided and non-guided Anti-Tank Missiles. it then fires a counter measure at the path of the incoming missile to intercept and destroy it. There are a number of fixed launching tubes along the front, bottom section of the turret.

The system does have a number of drawbacks. The first is their inability to engage top attack missiles, it can only engage line of sight incoming missiles and can not engage missiles launched at the vehicles side, unless the turret is facing sideways, which is problematic in urban built up areas.

Explosive Reactive Armour:

The T-14 uses a 4th generation ERA called “Malachite”. Not a lot is known about it other than it was developed after 2006, with some speculation that each brick has two charges to defeat tandem charged ATGM.

This is placed across the front and top of the hull round the crews fighting compartment or rather “capsule”, along the hull sides in large modules and the roof of the unmanned turret.

Ceramic Armour:

An unknown ceramic armour is fitted across the frontal arc of the hull under the ERA. Its composition is classified.

Armoured Steel:

The T-14 is constructed of a new armoured steel called 44C-SV-W.

Other Protection Systems:

The crew capsule is reportedly armoured and features an NBC filtration system. Moving the crew into the hull also reduces the risk of injury or death as they are below the turret ring. The vehicle is covered in a special coating that reduces the risk of detection via Infa-Red and radar.

Mobility

The T-14 features a turbo charged, 1500hp diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission with eight gears forward and reverse, allowing the vehicle to withdraw at the same speeds as driving forward. In post 2014 interviews, the manufacturer stated the engine had been modified and able to reach an output of 1800hp.

Though the vehicle is large than current Russian main battle tanks, the use of 44C-SV-W keeps the weight of the vehicle down to an estimated 48 – 50 tonnes. A pair of external fuel drums can be mounted on the hull rear to extended the vehicles operational range beyond the standard 500km.

The vehicle comes complete with a wading kit on the rear of the turret for deep water crossings where it drives along the bottom and relies on the wading kit for air and exhaust.

Variants and Marks

T-15 Armata:

T-15 Armata Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle
T-15 Armata Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle

The T-15 is a Heavily armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle utilising the same universal chassis as the T-14. CLICK FOR VEHICLE PAGE

T-16 ARV:

T-16 Armoured Recovery Vehicle
T-16 Armoured Recovery Vehicle

The T-16 is an armoured recovery vehicle designed to recover and repair both the T-14 and T-15 on the battlefield. It utilises the same universal chassis and features a large powered crane, winching devices and tools.

Operators

Russia:

In recent years, the vehicles public appearance has been limited to Russian defense expo’s. It’s been mentioned in state media that 20 pre production vehicles have been produced and that final testing was completed in 2022.

Production of the vehicle as of 2024 is yet to begin. UralVagonZavod have been working to produce tanks to replace the heavy losses the Russian Army have suffered during the Russo-Ukrainian War and addressing the issue of sourcing indigenously manufactured thermal sighting technology.

Potential Export:

It was reported in 2015 that a number of countries have expressed an interest in the T-14, including India and Egypt. However, both countries have since opted to purchase updated models of the T-90 main battle tank.

Combat History

With regards to deployment of the tank during the Russo-Ukrainian War, the TASS news agency reported that industry specialists had confirmed that a number of T-14 had been deployed in an operation during May 2023 for evaluation purposes and promptly withdrawn. They also quoted an American media source confirming that the vehicle had been spotted.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
2A82-1M 125mm smoothbore
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Remote Weapons Station with MG
Ammunition Storage
x32 125mm
Engine
12N360 Turbocharged 1500hp Diesel
Transmission
x8 Automatic
Top Road Speed
80km/h
Road Range
500km
Fuel Capacity
?
Vertical Obstacle
?
Water Capability
Snorkel Kit
Trench Crossing
?
Gradient
?
Side Slope
?
Length Gun Forward
10.8m
Length Hull
8.87m
Width
4m
Height
3.32m
Ground Clearance
?
Weight
49 Tonnes
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Bar, Modular, Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
hard_kill
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Driver