What happens to the Armata tank

Photo: Vitaliy Kuzmin

Recently, something unintelligible has been happening to the promising Russian Armata tank, there are no promised deliveries to the troops, references to the lack of funds to finance this program look unconvincing. Since 2015, enough time has passed, and the tank never appeared in the troops.

There is no engine for the tank

Everyone understood that there were serious problems with the tank, but they tried not to advertise them. And so "Lenta.ru" referring to the agency "Mil.Press Military" on February 6 reported:

“The promising Russian tank T-14 Armata has lost the ability to install a diesel engine on it, created as part of the R&D Chaika, since the latter will be closed.”

The agency received a response to the agency’s appeal to the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (engine developer):

“As a result, it became obvious that the serial production of the developed engine due to its flaws and technically unattainable parameters is impractical.”

At the same time, the scientific and technical backlog that appeared when creating a promising engine will be used in the future.

It so happens that recently we learn about problems with “Armata” from publications of foreign publications. So, the American publication "The Diplomat" on January 17 reported (data on the site "Lenta.ru") that the supply of the Armata tank to the troops is delayed not only because of the need to prepare production facilities:

"Military analysts point to problems with the power plant, transmission and sighting system T-14, along with others as the cause of the next delays."

In its publication, The Diplomat refers to a comment by the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, who in January of this year said that deliveries to the Russian army of armored vehicles based on the Armata platform had not yet begun, although in November 2019 he assured that the first T-14 pilot batch will enter the troops at the end of 2019 - the beginning of 2020.

How euphoria inflated with the creation of the Armata tank

To understand what is happening, remember the recent history the appearance of this tank. The start of work on the concept of the Armata tank was announced in 2011, and already in 2014, the then Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, far from the problems of creating military equipment, announced the creation of the Armata tank and its possible display on May 9, 2015 at the parade on Red Square. The tank was demonstrated at the parade, and since then it has only been regularly shown in parades and cannot be put into mass production.

In July 2018, Yuri Borisov, who replaced Rogozin as vice-premier, said that the Russian Armed Forces did not seek to massively purchase T-14 tanks because of their high cost, preferring to increase the combat potential of existing military equipment due to its modernization.

In August 2019, the Military Industrial Courier wrote that by the end of last year, Uralvagonzavod would supply the Ministry of Defense with only 16 vehicles based on the Armata universal tracked platform, due to the need to continue testing the promising weapons and caution of the Russian military department in assessing its capabilities.

The publication recalled that, according to the contract, Uralvagonzavod was supposed to deliver 2021 cars based on the Armata platform by the end of 132 and expressed doubt that this could be done. And so it happened.

There are serious technical problems in the tank

All this suggests that the tank has both technical and organizational problems, the ostentatious rush with the announcement of the creation of this tank did him more harm than good. The creation of such complex equipment as a tank requires the efforts of dozens of specialized enterprises and organizations involved in the development, testing and production of components and systems of a tank. This requires the most complex cooperation of all project participants under the guidance of a tank design bureau and strict adherence to certain stages of development and testing. Enough failure of work on some important node or system, and there will be no tank.

All components of the tank must go through these stages at the development enterprises and, according to the test results, be recommended for installation on the tank. The tank must also pass first factory (preliminary) tests, then military tests conducted by the military in various climatic zones, experimental military operation and, according to the test results, it is recommended for adoption and serial production.

Was all this done? Surely not, this cycle takes years with a clear sequence of work. What tests could be discussed if R&D for the mentioned Chaika tank engine was announced only in 2014, and the creation of the tank was announced in 2015?

Representatives of industry and the military, instead of intelligible explanations of the stage of development and testing of the tank, all the time they kept saying that it would soon enter the army. Of course, the tank’s tests are not completed, at what stage they are located, this is a terrible secret, but only without the engine and (I suspect) other tank systems will not even speak of mass production.

If the development of an X-engine has been officially announced, then what will be put in its place? Over the years, information periodically appeared about problems with this engine and difficulties with its production, but this was presented as minor problems to be solved. But it turned out that these problems are of a fundamental nature. One can only hope for the installation of modifications of the "eternally alive" B2 engine. And how much will it be acceptable for this layout of the tank and what characteristics will it provide?

I suppose that other components and systems of the tank did not pass the necessary stages of development and testing and did not confirm the declared characteristics, they can also have the same serious problems. The tank is full of sophisticated systems, it has a new gun, an aiming system and active defense of a new generation, radar systems, a tank information and control system, and a tactical link control system. There was nothing of the kind before and requires serious testing and development by development companies. In such complex systems, problems always arise that take time to solve.

I can give a negative example of the work of allies on these systems. In the 80s, for the Boxer tank, the computer system for controlling the tank’s movement was developed by the Chelyabinsk SKB Rotor, which is now developing the TIUS for the Armata tank, and the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant was developing an aiming system, according to available information, it is developing it for "Armata". These two companies failed to work on the Boxer tank, which was one of the reasons for the serious delays in its development. Now they can’t give anything intelligible on these systems for the Armata tank. Have they not learned how to work in thirty years?

What to do?

Last year, some crazy idea was thrown about the possibility of installing a tower from the T-90M tank on the Armata tank. Is this an indentation option being prepared due to failures in Armata? And now it turns out that there is no engine for the tank either.

You have to pay for everything, the euphoria in 2014 with the creation of a new tank turned out to be in many ways a bluff, launched, in my opinion, by Dmitry Rogozin. Yuri Borisov smoothed out this effect, citing a lack of financial resources, but technical problems with the tank remained. With all the shortcomings of this concept of the tank, this is indeed a new generation tank, it contains many breakthrough ideas on the components and systems of the tank, and it will be a shame if they are not implemented in connection with the possible closure of the tank project, as it was with the project “ Boxer".

Instead of ceremonial hype, it is necessary to calmly acknowledge the failures and begin the systematic refinement of the concept of the tank and its components in accordance with the generally accepted methodology and stages of the development of armored vehicles. Over the years, tremendous experience has been accumulated, this is recognized abroad, such a reserve should not disappear without a trace, it should be used in the further development of the Soviet and Russian schools of tank building.
Photos used:
Vitaly V. Kuzmin, vitalykuzmin.net, commons.wikimedia.org
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