Recent Russian ground forces combat experience had showcased a need for a Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle (HIFV) with a good degree of survivability, particularly when accessing highly contested areas in an urban setting. The Israeli Army developed the "Namer" (detailed elsewhere on this site) for this very purpose and Russian engineers have followed suit with the "T-15 HIFV". The vehicle was debuted during the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade which also unveiled the much talked-about T-14 Main Battle Tank (MBT) with its all-new crew-less turret. Both vehicles belong to the new Armata "Universal Combat Platform" (UCP) family of armored systems developed to take advantage of a single standard chassis fulfilling a variety of prominent battlefield roles. Within these major designs lies subvariants to further evolve the Armata vehicle line. The T-15 is given the industrial designation of "Object 149" and ten examples were showcased in the aforementioned parade.
The T-15 retains the same running gear as the T-14 MBT though, due to the engine's placement further forward in the hull, the drive sprocket has been relocated to the front with the track idler now shifted to the rear. Seven double-tired road wheels are fitted to each hull side. The upper track spans are very well protected in armor plate and the heavy classification of this vehicle means that the system can also see armor blocks added to its base protection scheme. The front of the vehicle has been given particular attention in terms of protecting against incoming projectiles or armor-defeating missiles.
The placement of the engine and operating crew positions allows the rear of the vehicle to house a protected passenger compartment. The driver sits front-left behind a well-sloped glacis plate with additional crewmembers to his right and rear. The remotely-operated crewless turret is seated over the rear and features a 30mm autocannon with 7.62mm medium machine gun and automatic grenade launcher as well as 4 x Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers. Smoke grenade dischargers help to shroud the vehicle's movements from enemy eyes while a full sensor suite aids the crew in situational awareness and incoming dangers. Other key features include night-vision equipment support and an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) suite.
The T-15 joins the T-14, Coalition-SV 152mm Self-Propelled Gun, and Kurganets-25 Infantry Fighting Vehicle as part of the "new-look" Russian Army. No doubt its true capabilities will be finalized over time but it appears that the Russians have seen a good return on their heavy investment in modernizing their ground force elements. The Armata family is expected to succeed a plethora of ages vehicle types, many with roots in the Cold War decades. Some of the line may also see export.