Ever since the British introduced tanks into warfare during WW1 , replacing the horse mounted cavalry ,they have become an integral part of virtually every army in the world. With their heavy , armored bodies and powerful cannon armament, Tanks form the spearhead of any major combat on land. Their designs have rapidly evolved from slow moving hulks armed with a cannon on each side to fast moving hulks with a massive main cannon.
All the tanks in the world follow a standard design with a chassis and turret and main gun along with a smaller caliber secondary gun on the turret. They usually have a crew of 3-4 men. The crew includes the gunner, commander, driver, and loader. In some cases , the loader is replaced by a machine called autoloader. But the turret which contains all the weapons is manned by the gunner and sometimes the commander. The turret is also the weakest part of any tank because if it’s relatively thin Armour on its top and the presence of crewmen in this turret exposes them to danger in case the tank is hit. Russia has taken a step forward in this direction and designed a tank which has a completely unmanned automatic turret. They have named it Armata which means weapon in Greek. The crew is enclosed in a heavily armored capsule which protects them better than current generation tanks. Other countries have developed various similar prototypes, but none will enter production like the Armata .
UNMANNED TANK TURRET
The unmanned turret of the Armata offers it several advantages over a manned turret.
● Faster and remote traversing of the turret from the safety of the heavily armored chassis
● More ready to fire ammunition can be placed in the turret and away from the crew , protecting them in the case of an explosion.
● Increases the crew survivability in case of an Anti-tank missile hitting the turret . I found the below images online which show the layout of tanks with unmanned turrets.
It’s armament is not entirely confirmed as different sources state different layouts. The one things that all sources have commonly stated is the 125 mm smoothbore cannon which will be the main armament of the tank and the 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on top of the turret. Secondary armament is speculated to be either a 57 mm grenade launcher or a 30 mm autocannon. Either of the two mentioned secondary armament will be excellent for anti-infantry purposes. The main gun can also fire Anti-Tank missiles with a range of 5 km which can engage tanks and low-flying helicopters.
Russia has managed to keep this project under wraps with not a single photo released to the public. All we have is a possible small-scale model of a tank and computer generated which show several next generation design features like, a low profile turret, advanced active protection and a sleek profile. But these images can’t be accepted as final designs but they give a slight idea of the final design which till now has been only revealed the Russian PM and a few other ministers. Armata is expected to be based on the hull of the T-90MS .
COMMON COMBAT PLATFORMS
The Armata is not just designed to be a tank . It’s designed to serve as a common platform for a Main battle tank , Infantry fighting vehicle ,Self-propelled howitzer , Anti-Aircraft vehicle , Combat recovery vehicle , Reconnaissance vehicle etc. The basic chassis will remain the same and the amount of Armour used will vary to suit the needs of the respective vehicles. This commonality will result in ease of maintenance of armored vehicles in a regiment due to the large similarities between the vehicle’s structures. It will also save a huge amount if money and time in designing and production as the chassis will be common for all the vehicles .
- Primary Function : Main Battle Tank
- Crew : 3
- Weight : ~ 50 tons
- Speed : ~ 60 km/hr
- Range : 500+ km
- Engine : ~ 1500 HP
- Armament :125 mm smooth bore gun with coaxial 57 mm grenade launcher / 30 mm auto cannon. And a 12.7 mm Heavy machine gun
- Inventory : 2300 tanks ( Expected )
- Cost : Unknown
- Country : Russia
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