Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Russia unveils latest Main Battle Tank family

(Moscow) The Russian military today decided to unveil its latest Armata Main Battle Tank (MBT) and the family of vehicles based on its chassis. First off, is the Armata itself:

The Armata main battle tank (MBT) also known as the T-14 and built by UralVagonZavod. The key feature of the Armata is its unmanned turret, with all three crew members (commander, gunner, driver) seated in a crew capsule at the front of the vehicle's hull. Although the turret is covered in the MoD image, Armata is understood to be armed with a 2A82A 125-mm smoothbore main gun fed by a bustle-mounted automatic loader equipped with 32 rounds. Armata is also reported to feature a 30 mm coaxial secondary armament and a 12.7 mm machine gun. Despite being covered, the turret's bustle-mounted automatic loader and commander's independent sighting system are clearly visible under the shrouding material.

The Kurganets-25 is the replacement for the Russian army's BMP family of vehicles. Understood to weigh in at 25 tonnes, Kurganets marks a sharp increase in the weight of Russia's tracked IFVs, with even the latest BMP-3 variant weighing in at under 20 tonnes, and earlier BMP-1/2 vehicles being under 15 tonnes. Two different configurations of Kurganets will be present at the parade. Both feature extensive additional armour packages to the sides of the hull, but have different turret configurations.

Although the turrets are shrouded, one of the variants appears to be armed with a 30 mm turret - understood to be the same RCT turret that arms the Armata-based heavy IFV. The other turret appears to lack an obvious main gun. This could either represent an APC or command variant equipped with an RCT armed with a machine gun or automatic grenade launcher (AGL), or could be because the main gun has been removed for the parade rehearsals.

The latter one with a 57 mm cannon. Although covered, the apparent profile of the second Kurganets turret appears similar to that of the UralVagonZavod AU-220M turret displayed recently at IDEX in Abu Dhabi - minus its 57 mm cannon.

The new heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV)/armoured personnel carrier (APC) variant also known as the T-15. Although the T-15 turret is covered, this IFV variant is understood to be armed with a KBP Instrument Design Bureau Epoch Almaty remote control turret (RCT) armed with a 30 mm 2A42 cannon, 7.62 mm coaxial MG, and a bank of two Kornet-EM anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs) on either side. In the MoD image, the heavy IFV is also fitted with an advanced armour package on the side of the vehicle, although it has only been partially applied to the latter part of the vehicle's flanks.

Well, the covers will be off next month and we will finally see the Russians' latest vehicle family.