- Apr 27, 2015
The Russian Ground Forces' new Armata main battle tank (MBT) seen during rehearsals for the Victory Day Parade in Moscow. (Russian Ministry of Defence)
The Russian Ground Forces' new suite of armoured vehicles have been officially revealed for the first time by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), ahead of their formal debut at the 9 May Moscow Victory Day Parade.
The new vehicles are principally clean-slate designs and represent the biggest change in Russia's armoured fighting vehicle families since the 1960s and 1970s.
The official MoD website published pictures of the vehicles - albeit with their weapon systems covered - following the unofficial leaking of images and footage of them rehearsing for the parade in recent days.
The flagship of the new armoured vehicles is the Armata main battle tank (MBT), also known as the T-14 and built by UralVagonZavod. The images show an MBT much more in keeping with recent western philosophies on tank design, appearing larger and taller than the T-72/90 it will replace.
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.
Armata, judging by the images released, features a notably different hull design to the T-72/90. One striking difference is the road wheels, which are of a different design to the T-72/90's, while the Armata features seven road wheels to the six of the previous MBT design. The MBT's sides are fitted with a new advanced armour package along three-quarters of the vehicle's length, with the rear three-quarters protected instead by bar armour.
The Armata chassis is also intended to provide the base for a whole family of heavy armoured vehicles. The MoD displayed one of these: a 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.
Other Armata chassis-based vehicles being planned are understood to include the MT-A armoured bridgelayer, MYM-A engineering vehicle, BMO-2 thermobaric multiple rocket launcher variant, and USM-1 minelayer.
In total 10 examples of the Armata MBT are expected to take part in the 9 May parade.
Also shown for the first time is the 2S35 Coalition-SV (Koalitsiya-CB) self-propelled artillery (SPA) system, which will replace the 2S19 MSTA-S SPA in Russian Ground Forces service.
This is understood to feature a new 152 mm ordnance utilising a modular charge system. Although the turret of the 2S35 is covered, the exposed barrel's muzzle break and recoil dampeners are notably different from that seen on the earlier 2S19. Russia had previously worked on another SPA design under the 2S35 Coalition-SV name that featured an unusual double-barrelled configuration, although work on this was understood to have been abandoned in 2010.
Although stated to be based on the Armata hull, Coalition-SV's hull is clearly different. While the frontal arc of the hull and crew positions appear similar to that of the Armata, the drivetrain appears to be that of a T-72/90, with the vehicle utilising six T-72/90 roadwheels. Coalition-SV is said to weigh 55 tonnes.
In total, eight examples of the Coalition-SV SPA are expected to take part in the parade.
Built by Kurganmashzavod, 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.
The MoD pictures show that 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 would fit with IHS Jane's understanding that there will be two principal Kurganets IFV configurations: one with a 30 mm cannon and 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.
Also shown for the first time is the Bumerang (Boomerang) 8x8 infantry fighting vehicle, developed as the successor to the BTR-series of wheeled IFVs/APCs.
The vehicle shown in the MoD images marks a start contrast to the BTR series and has strong similarities with western 8x8 designs.
The 8x8 shown features a V-shaped hull, with the driver on the left-side of the vehicle and the engine on the right side of the front of the vehicle, with a turret and passenger compartment at the rear. That Boomerang will have an amphibious capability is revealed by a shrouded propeller visible at the rear of the hull.
Similar to Kurganets, the turret of Boomerang is covered, with no obvious armament in the MoD image. It is also understood to be in line to be armed with the AU-220M turret, and thus it is possible that either the main gun has been removed for the rehearsals, or that the Boomerang 8x8 shown is in an APC or command configuration.
Also set to make its debut at the parade is a new anti-tank variant of the GAZ Tigr 4x4 multipurpose armoured vehicle equipped with the 9K129 Kornet ATGW. Although covered, the vehicle is clearly armed with a RCT equipped with eight Kornet missiles, in banks of four on either side of the RCT sighting system.
Other new vehicles for the Russian ground forces at the show include the Typhoon (Kamaz-63968) 6x6 APC and the Typhoon-U (Ural-63095) mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) 6x6 vehicle.
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