T-14 (Armata) (Object 148)
Main Battle Tank (MBT)
The T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank marks a new era of Russian tank design.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The T-14 "Armata" was debuted during the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade as the Main Battle Tank (MBT) component of the proposed T-99 "Armata" family of armored vehicles (detailed elsewhere on this site) - marking a new generation of Russian-originated systems. Design work on the tank has been handled by the Ural Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building along with Uralvagonzavod with serial manufacture being managed by the latter party. Production began in 2015 with some twenty vehicles having been completed for evaluation and training (ten were featured in the aforementioned parade). The T-14 carries the industrial designation of "Object 148".
The 48-ton vehicle continues some Russian/Soviet tank traditions including use of a crew of three, an autoloader for the main gun, and primary armament being a smoothbore 125mm main gun. The T-14 has been developed with extensive modern and advanced systems to make it a featured product of any future Russian armored spearhead. One of the key internal characteristics is the tank's crew all being located in the forward hull - none residing in the turret - meaning that the driver is front-left with the commander at front-right and the gunner at center. The main gun is a remotely-controlled 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore and features 45 ready-to-fire rounds. In keeping with Soviet Cold War tank tradition, the main gun also features the useful capability of firing Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) - a feature sorely missing from Western counterparts. Secondary armament appears to be of some confusion - sources stating a 7.62mm medium machine gun with supporting 12.7mm Kord heavy machine gun (HMG) for local air defense (a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) is showcased atop the turret roof) or 30mm ranging autocannon with 12.7mm HMG for use against low-flying aerial targets. The finalized weapons set will undoubtedly be revealed over time.
Externally, the T-14's design makes extensive use of angled surfaces - particularly at the turret. The hull sports a very shallow, nearly horizontal glacis plate while the upper track sections are covered over in thick side skirt armor. With the crew held in an armored capsule at the front of the hull (separated from the ammunition in the event of a blast)), the central section is reserved for the turret and leaves the rear of the hull to house the diesel engine installation. Running gear includes seven double-tired road wheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at rear and the track idler at front. Drive power is from a ChTZ 12H360 (A-85-3A) diesel system developing between 1,200 and 1,500 horsepower promoting road speeds in the 50-55 mile per hour range. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic electronic transmission system. The hull is also fully suspended for cross-country travel while the main gun is given full stabilization for firing "on-the-move".
The T-14 is outfitted with an active-phased array antenna as well as a host of other sensor equipment for presumably excellent situational awareness and crew survivability - alerting members to potential dangers approaching the vehicle. Smoke grenade dischargers conceal the vehicle's movement during offensive and defensive maneuvers. An NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) suite and night-vision support are also part of the T-14's survivability scheme.
The Russian Army expects to procure some 2,300 of the T-14 tank, replacing a fleet of aging types. The T-15 is to become its accompanying Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicle (HICV) form also based on the Armata family chassis and automotive components (including engine).
The T-14 is expected to formally enter service in 2016. There are plans to feature a completely unmanned version of the tank as well, the crew capsule at front removed - though this development would still be some years away. The T-14 may also be made available for export to Russian allies, presumably with a lower-quality equipment set. Planned variants for the Armata family vehicle line also include a mine laying vehicle, bridge layer, armored transport, rocket projectors, and a flame vehicle.
If the presented capabilities of the T-14 come to pass, it will mark the pinnacle of modern MBT design, leaving the West to force development of a competing system for possible encounters against this new Russian battlefield solution. The last notable European MBT adoption came with the British Challenger 2 in the late 1990s. The vaunted American M1 Abrams itself is a product of 1970s work though modernized extensively after experience in Iraq. Similarly, the German Leopard 2 is a late 1970s product.