Russia’s new T-14 Armata tank represents “the most revolutionary step change in tank design in the last half century,” says a leaked report of the British military intelligence obtained by The Sunday Telegraph newspaper in London.
“Without hyperbole, Armata represents the most revolutionary step change in tank design in the last half century,” writes the author of the document, whom the newspaper identifies as a senior Army intelligence officer.
A sample of T-14 Armata had the first public presentation at the May 9 military parade in Moscow in 2015 and its rollout there prompted the intelligence service to provide the report.
The document profiles the T-14’s as ‘pioneering’ thanks to a revolutionary unmanned turret that makes the crew less vulnerable to enemy fire.
In addition, the Armata has a gun with a higher muzzle velocity than that of the closest Wester analogues and is likely to be fitted out with an upgraded missile system, as well as a radar system installed at present on the overhauled Russian fighter jets.
“For the first time, a fully automated, digitised, unmanned turret has been incorporated into a main battle tank,” The Sunday Telegraph quotes the report. “And for the first time a tank crew is embedded within an armoured capsule in the hull front.”
“As a complete package, Armata certainly deserves its billing as the most revolutionary tank in a generation,” the report says.
The newspaper also quotes Brigadier Ben Barry, an expert on land warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “who said two features of the Armata would threaten NATO forces.”
“Firstly, it is the first tank designed with an unmanned turret,” he said. “This will potentially improve crew survivability.”
“The turret also looks to have the stretch potential to accommodate a larger-calibre gun of up to 150mm,” Barry said. “If fielded, this would overmatch the guns and armour on existing Nato tanks.”
“Secondly, it appears to be the first tank designed from the outset with an active protection system, to intercept incoming anti-tank guided missiles and shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons,” he said.
“This has the potential to greatly reduce the firepower of Nato infantry,” Barry said. “Of course, there are few Armata yet, and it is not clear how rapidly they will enter service. But as they do, they will increase the effectiveness of Russian armoured forces.”.