День Танкисты: On 70th Anniversary of Tankists Day Russia Releases Video of First Production Batch Armata Combat Tests

On September 10, 2016, the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Red Army establishing a holiday in honor of the tankists who just a year and a half before had smashed into the heart of Hitler's Third Reich in Berlin, the Russian Defense Ministry released its first video of the first batch of T-14 Armata main battle tanks undergoing simulated combat trials. As the Nixon Center's magazine The National Interest reported back in March 2016, Russia's ability to put the highly advanced Armata into production despite economic problems and T-72B3 upgrades underway in lieu of fielding more T-90 MBTs has come as a surprise to NATO military analysts.

— Did you create a new ammunition for “Armata”?

We are working in this direction, we act as consultants. But while we use them for live-fire tests to confirm the technical specifications, we, by the way, it confirms the old shell. I hope that during the year our colleagues will create the new shell.

By the way, we have proactively created a 125-mm remotely-explosive ammunition. We did it. We got OCD, development, product testing and adopting it. And even today we already offer it for export.

— So it turns out that the new ammunition for “Armata” is still there?

It is there, but we need a new high-explosive shells and armor -piercing sabots for fight heave armored vehicles.

— It is known that the first contract for 100 “Armata” tanks has already been signed and delivery has already begun. Will there be a new contract soon?

Indeed, we confirm that deliveries have begun. We just have to deliver 2.3 thousand of these tanks in the Russian army. With regard to the new contract, everything is defined by the customer, we only prepare the production site.

— http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/09/russian-tank-production-ramps-up-as.html

According to an interview with the world's largest tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod translated by Ft. Russ this week, teething problems with the Armata's 125mm main gun are reportedly being ironed out. The Russia Analyst has previously speculated that China with its T99 based on a T72 chassis which also fields a 125 mm gun has been part of that process. Despite the major advancements in firepower, active protection systems, and crew survivability that the Armata represents, as well as its lighter weight and lower diesel fuel consumption that would make it more survivable and sustainable in an actual war in Eastern Europe than its heavier and gas guzzling NATO adversaries (the modernized M1A1 and the German Leopard 2), The National Interest also reports that Russian tank designers are already looking beyond the Armata itself:

Could the Russian Terminator series—also know as the Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov—be the harbinger of future armored vehicle design?

Based on its experience in Ukraine, Georgia, Chechnya and Afghanistan, the Russian military certain believes so according to Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST). As such, Russia is mulling over the possibility of ditching the traditional tank—as it is currently conceptualized—and considering adopting a machine that is much more capable of defending itself against missile-equipped infantry and engaging other vehicles at stand-off ranges with anti-tank missiles.

Particularly, Russian experiences in Ukraine—where both sides are using upgraded Soviet-built tanks and anti-tank weapons—have shown that despite the best active, reactive and passive armor available, a tank will eventually be penetrated. “We discovered that no matter how skillful the crew, the tank would get up to ten hits,” Pukhov said during a luncheon at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C.—which is the foreign policy think-tank that publishes The National Interest—on July 26. “Even if you have perfect armor—active, passive. In one case it will save you from one hit, in another case from two hits, but you’ll still get five hits and you’re done. That’s why now you’re supposed to have some kind of Tank 2.0.”

The Tank 2.0, as Pukhov describes it, is not the T-14 Armata—which despite its advanced unmanned turret and active protection systems—is still a more or less a conventional tank design. “I know Russians are thinking about this new tank and this tank is not Armata,” Pukhov said. “It’s what we call among us Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov [Tank Support Fighting Machine]—but in fact it’s not a Podderzhki Tankov, but which can protect itself. So there is a serious debate about it.”

— http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russia-about-make-tanks-we-know-them-obsolete-17158

Essentially, what the Armata represents is not only a revolution in tank design, but more critically an entire family of manned armored vehicles including the T-15 Kurganets APC which can launch fleets of armored drones. These small armored drones or robot tanks would act as scouts, and take out anti-tank missileer infantry and shoot down enemy drones in order to make way for the manned vehicles. As we mentioned in prior JWS/RM reports on the conflict in Syria, Russia has already combat tested small tracked hunter killer drones superficially similar to the T-1s envisioned in the movie Terminator 3. These machines have been combat tested in firing Kornet anti-tank missiles against CIA-supplied TOW gunners in the Latakia hills near the Turkish border. Here is a video where you can see a test model being put through its paces (video by the Russian Defense Ministry channel Zvezda TV):

As the Guerrilla has mentioned a time or two on his program, pound for pound the best anti-tank missile in the world for the money is the Russian Kornet (here's a video of Yemeni Houthi fighters incinerating a Saudi Abrams tank using one). The fact that U.S. tanks like the M1A1 lack the active protection systems of their Russian counterparts such as the less heavy T-90 was part of the reason why U.S. Army generals admitted to the House Armed Services Committee in April (after a RAND Corporation study essentially said the same thing in early spring) that NATO could not successfully repulse a Russian armored push into the Baltics, much less eastern Ukraine (even if it doubled or tripled the size of the present 'tripwire' force scheduled for deployment to the small nations Washington has turned into front line states).

The U.S. Army also spent considerable time, money and resources investigating the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in which the IDF's ultra-modern Merkava MBTs experienced significant losses at the hands of Hezbollah infantry equipped with Kornets (even less advanced ATGMs in the hands of the Kurds have taken out Turkey's Israeli made M-60 Sabra tanks). The fact that many of those same Hezbollah fighters who killed Israeli tankers in 2006 would have been ready to defend Damascus to the death was one of the hidden reasons why the Joint Chiefs of Staff revolted against President Barack Obama's 'red line' plans to launch an all out U.S. campaign against Assad after the East Ghouta chemical false flag of August 2013.

The Achilles heel of American tanks, and in particular that of their main M1 Abrams battle tank, is their active defense system, Business Insider writes the article “US tanks have fallen far behind Russia in a key area.”

According to a recently published report by the US Congress’ research services, at least 8 different anti-tank missiles are in use on the battlefield in Syria. The most dangerous of them are those of Russian origin. This observation by analysts’ is especially relevant for American military advisers and instructors in Syria. In effect, it means that the US Army needs is in need of a modernized tank defense system. As the newspaper notes, the Abrams tank, for example, lacks a dynamic protection system.

What’s more, it’s difficult enough to equip US infantry and Marines with active defense weapons, Business Insider adds. Even if the Americans decided to purchase and adopt battle-tested Israeli Trophy systems, this would not solve the problem.

Marine infantry require active defensive weaponry that can be mounted on ships. The difficult of accomplishing such, however, is that radars and sensors used by such systems for the instant detection and destruction of targets can conflict with each other or disrupt other equipment. Moreover, active defensive systems work in millisecond ranges at speeds unattainable by man, and therefore have to be automated. But this increases the risks of causing collateral damage to personnel, the article says.

— http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/09/results-are-in-us-troops-in-syria-are.html

Some members of Team RogueMoney may recall that the late Michael Rosecliff was a fan of the T-14 Armata design. We decided to post these videos here as a tribute to him and the Evolution Consulting platform he helped to create. As we used to jokingly tweet to Mike when he was on Twitter -- tanks you.