Not so long ago, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced its plans for the further development of armored forces. The desire to maintain existing Tanks during the maximum possible time with the parallel construction and commissioning of new armored vehicles. Similar news quickly became the pretext for the harshest assumptions. Domestic and foreign experts considered that the new plans are directly connected with difficulties in creating promising designs.
4 in October, the international online edition of The Diplomat published an article by Franz Stefan Gadi on the current situation with Russian tanks and its possible development. The title of the “Russia's Russian Federation of the Future Armor Force Could Be in Trouble” immediately revealed the essence of the new material. The author reviewed the existing situation and came to not very positive conclusions.
In the subtitle, the author noted that recent statements by the Russian Ministry of Defense indicate serious problems. The newest and most ambitious program of Russia was in trouble and faced with serious risks.
The Russian Ministry of Defense is implementing the Armata program, whose goal is to create a universal tracked chassis. In the future, vehicles built on the basis of this platform should become the basis of the fleet of armored vehicles. One of the representatives of the new family is the main battle tank of the third generation T-14. F.-S. Gadi believes that after recent statements by the leadership of the military department a promising project is in a difficult position.
Not long ago, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced plans to modernize the main T-80 and T-90 tanks. In addition, it is planned to revise the current recycling program equipment. Previously, it was planned to dispose of the 2020 order of thousands of old armored vehicles before 10, but now this number will be noticeably reduced.
The author recalls that such declarations of the Ministry of Defense have already become the reason for the appearance of the boldest assumptions. So, in September, the publication of IHS Jane's Defense Weekly noted that the modernization of existing equipment, accompanied by a reduction in disposal plans, as well as a certain reduction in plans for the construction of T-14 tanks led to the most ambitious estimates. Some sources argued that all this indicates the closure of the Armata project.
The Diplomat recalls: a few weeks ago, the Russian military stated that only 10 thousands would go to the smelter from 4 thousands of tanks and other armored vehicles planned for disposal. Other equipment will go to the strategic reserve. In addition, a contract was signed for the modernization of serial tanks T-80 and T-90 for new projects. The cost of this work is equivalent to 417 million US dollars.
According to reports, during the modernization of the T-80 tanks will receive a means of enhancing protection, as well as a number of other components and assemblies, resulting in new features. In the project of modernization of the T-90 vehicles, the use of some systems borrowed from the newest T-14 Armata tank is envisaged. In particular, the T-90 will receive a modern fire control system and a remotely controlled combat module for self-defense.
In parallel with the recently ordered retrofit of the T-80 and T-90 tanks, the upgrade of the T-72 family of vehicles will continue. The continuation of such work, which started a few years ago, was announced in January of this year.
F.-S. Gadi quotes his article on Russian tanks, published at the beginning of the year. Then he wrote that by now the Russian armed forces had managed to get about three hundred modernized tanks of the T-72B3 version. These cars were rebuilt from T-72 relatively old modifications; their total strength in the army is on the order of 1900 units. In addition, the ground forces had approximately 350 T-90A and T-90CM tanks. The last modification, as the author noted, is the newest version of the base tank and is intended for export shipments. The army also continues to operate X-NUMX T-450 tanks.
Back in January, a foreign analyst, predicting the further development of the Russian armored vehicle fleet, suggested that new modernization projects could cause certain problems with the further implementation of the Armata program.
The recent decisions of the Russian Ministry of Defense can be interpreted in different ways. S.-F. Gadi suggests that they may have the following meaning. Despite previous statements, the T-14 in the near future will not be able to completely replace existing tanks, created in Soviet times, and will not become the basis of armored forces. Russia will continue to operate the older technology and will not abandon it, at least for the next decade.
Nevertheless, the tanks of the Armata project will be built and delivered to the troops. The Ministry of Defense has already signed a contract with the corporation "Uralvagonzavod." According to this document, the army will receive hundreds of promising armored vehicles. However, the contract was signed only in September 2016.
The Diplomat recalls that in August of this year, Deputy Minister of Defense Yury Borisov announced current plans in the context of the T-14 project. According to them, the first hundred tanks of the new type will be transferred to the troops before the 2020 year. At the same time, as S.-F. Gadi, earlier there were much bolder plans: before 2025, it was supposed to acquire 2300 tanks.
A foreign expert is inclined to regard the recent statements by the heads of the military department as an attempt to put pressure on industry using the interest of the general public. There are certain signs that the country's military and political leadership is not fully satisfied with the current progress and pace of work on the Armata theme and the T-14 tank. Attracting public attention to this will have to affect the contractor and speed up the work.
As one of the arguments in favor of this version of S.-F. Gadi cites recent visits by high-ranking officials to the Uralvagonzavod enterprise. In his opinion, such events traditionally show Kremlin discontent over the course of the rearmament program.
The Diplomat article “Russia's Future Armor Force Could Be in Trouble” doesn’t touch on the latest news about the development of the Russian armed forces, but is still devoted to issues that will remain relevant over the next few years. As the title suggests, Franz-Stefan Gadi is inclined to view the latest news and official statements in a negative way. In his opinion, the plans of the Russian Ministry of Defense in relation to the modernization of T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks with a simultaneous reduction in the rate of utilization of outdated equipment may hit the long-term Armat project.
It should be noted that in its publication a foreign analyst did not take into account one of the most important features of current plans. In the recent past, representatives of the Russian military department, commenting on the updated plans, pointed out the reasons for their revision. The announced prerequisites for reducing the order for the T-14 tanks and the appearance of modernization contracts can hardly be considered a cause for concern.
According to official data, the reason for the revision of the plans was the desire to get the most out of the available equipment. Tanks of relatively old models are in large quantities and are fully capable of continuing service. It was reported that the updated machines will retain the required potential, at least until 2023-25's. Thus, the urgent release of a large number of new tanks T-14 is simply not required. These machines can be built at an average pace, gradually saturating the combat units with them.
As for the reduction of the recycling program, in this case it is not about the return of equipment to the army. Proceeding from the desire to get rid of the decommissioned cars with the greatest benefit, the Ministry of Defense plans to repair and sell unnecessary tanks to third countries. In addition, the decommissioned armored vehicles will transfer to the regions for the construction of memorial objects, and some of the equipment will become targets at landfills.
It must be admitted that the project "Armata" can really face these or other problems. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of difficulties are connected with the widest application of new solutions and technologies, first introduced into the design of a modern tank. As follows from the latest news, most of the existing problems have already been resolved, which made it possible to sign the first contract for the mass production of T-14 machines. In accordance with this document, the first hundred tanks will be built by the end of the decade.
Actual plans for the modernization of existing tanks in the most noticeable way affect the further development of the fleet of ground forces vehicles, but also have no direct connection with the Armata project. However, the emergence of a large number of repaired and updated tanks will allow not to rush with the release of new T-14, and perform the desired rearmament without haste.
Indeed, the program of creating new armored vehicles with the subsequent re-equipment of tank units may encounter various problems of one kind or another. However, work continues and lead to the desired results. This suggests that the Armata project was not at all in trouble, as The Diplomat writes, but it is developing and is already bearing the first results.
Article "Russia's Future Armor Force Could Be in Trouble":
The Diplomat: the future of Russian armored forces may be in trouble
- Ryabov Kirill