The capture of the military equipment market largely depends on the advertising campaign for its promotion, while the task is to beautifully present its advantages, which may be far from the results achieved, and smooth out its shortcomings.
Advertising of Ukrainian tanks
The organization of such a campaign is clearly visible on the example of the promotion of Ukrainian tank "Oplot", which for twenty years never reached mass production.
In a recently released commercialMy webpage another attempt is made to present it as a promising new generation tank, as a continuation of the development of a promising Soviet tank, and as if in terms of its characteristics it surpasses the existing generation of tanks.
The material colorfully describes that it is equipped with the most modern control systems, powerful weapons, advanced protection, including the non-existent active protection "Zaslon", and how a robot tank can be created on the basis of this tank. The tank has a good export potential, almost all the equipment is made in Ukraine, and it could produce about 20-30 such tanks per year (in the 70s, the Malyshev plant produced up to 90 tanks per month), only neither a domestic nor a foreign customer for this tank is not.
I have already had to write about this tank more than once, it is worth reminding again about stories his appearance, about what he is, and about his possibilities.
Tank "Oplot" is a continuation of the line of Soviet tanks of the T-64, T-72 and T-80 families. In the late 70s, the development of a unified T-80 tank began to replace the existing family of almost identical tanks. It was a joint development of the Kharkov and Leningrad design bureaus: in Leningrad, a version of the T-80U gas turbine tank was developed, and in Kharkov, a diesel version of the T-80UD tank. The tank was distinguished by the most advanced fire control complex at that time, which switched to the T-90 tank in the early 90s. In 1984, both tanks were put into service, until 1991, about 600 T-80UD tanks were produced, all of them remained in Russia and, most likely, are in storage bases.
At the same time, in Kharkov, with the participation of dozens of Union enterprises, a promising new generation "Boxer / Hammer" tank was being developed with a fundamentally different layout and more powerful armament of 152 mm caliber. complex and costly development. A new generation tank with full redundancy of crew members and a digital tank and unit control system (TIUS) turned out to be too tough for Ukraine, and this work quietly died.
With the collapse of the Union, the production of the T-80UD tank also ceased, but in 1995, unexpectedly, Pakistan ordered a batch of 320 tanks, and within several years it was implemented. A significant part of the Russian equipment was replaced with a Ukrainian one, for example, the developers of the gun from Perm helped to establish its production at Ukrainian enterprises. Ukraine was also lucky that at the end of the 80s the documentation for the production of sighting systems of the tank was transferred, without which it would be impossible to produce tanks. It was possible to purchase the missing complete set through unofficial channels in Russia, in the 90s everything was bought and sold.
The T-80UD tank showed itself quite well in Pakistan, and there were basically no complaints about it, but when holding a tender for the purchase of tanks in 2017, Pakistan gave preference not to Oplot, but to the Chinese VT-4. In terms of their characteristics, they were about the same, the Chinese tank won by the presence of a digital battle control system (TIUS), although the first in the world, the development of such a system was started in Kharkov in the mid-80s as part of the "Boxer" tank project, but Ukraine has to conduct such a complex development was clearly beyond her powers.
The T-80UD tank in the early 2000s was renamed T-84 and put into service, 10 tanks were manufactured, which were paraded in Kiev in 2003, and their production stopped there, Ukraine did not have the means and capabilities to create such tanks ...
During the 2000s, the T-84 tank was modernized, a more powerful Knife reactive armor, a 1200-horsepower 6TD2 engine, a commander's panoramic sight and a satellite navigation system were installed. The tank has not fundamentally changed, but it was named "Oplot" and was put into service in 2009.
At the same time, the tank did not go into production, there was only one demonstration prototype.
In 2011, it was possible to conclude a contract with Thailand for the supply of 49 Oplot tanks. After repeated disruptions in the delivery time, it was finally completed in 2018, the serial production of the tank still did not start, they made only in 2019 another sample by the order of the United States, but it was never shipped.
At the jubilee parade this year, they decided to "shine" and show the "Oplot" tank as an achievement of the Ukrainian tank industry. It was somehow difficult to show the two existing tanks, they ordered another demonstration tank, there was no more strength for more. Three Oplot tanks marched in the parade, demonstrating the might of the armored forces and industry of Ukraine. An attempt to achieve complete replacement of Russian components for the T-84 and Oplot tanks was never implemented, it is planned to complete this by 2023.
So, the tank "Oplot" was developed more than 20 years ago as a modernization of the T-80UD tank, a small batch was made for Thailand, in Ukraine there are only three such demonstration models, and one of them should be transferred to the United States. There is no well-established serial production, the Ukrainian army does not have this tank either, and it has not been tested in hostilities in the Donbass, while they have been unsuccessfully trying to advertise it for many years in order to sell it to a foreign buyer.
This is a tank of the last Soviet generation with quite decent characteristics, close to the latest modification of the T-90M. In terms of firepower and control system, protection and power plant, they are approximately equal and are competitors in the international arms market, at the same level and the Chinese VT-4.
If the Russian and Chinese tanks have long been mass-produced and tested in the army, then the Ukrainian exists only in a few copies and has not reached the army.
Advertising of Russian tanks
The advertising of Russian tanks also contains a lot of "original" things, for example, the Chinese tank is distinguished by the presence of a digital control system, which makes it possible to significantly increase the efficiency of its use, and on Russian tanks there are only advertising statements that the Kalina FCS is integrated with the TIUS on the T-90M and a full-scale TIUS has been implemented on the Armata tank, there is no real confirmation of this in the public domain yet.
The situation is the same with active protection ads. In Russia, information is regularly thrown in about the installation on tanks of various variants of the KAZ "Arena", "Dozhd" or "Drozd", which were tested in the Soviet Union more than thirty years ago and did not come to use due to unproven efficiency, nevertheless, it is declared on in short, the promise of these systems.
The advertisement of the Russian T-90M tank is also quite original; recently there have been reports of the installation of an optoelectronic system on this tank on a retractable folding rod for "over-the-horizon" view, which is equipped with one tank, and it must be tested at military exercises. An article appeared in the American edition of the National InterestMy webpage, which discusses this "achievement" and its possible impact on the American program for the development of long-range artillery at a range of up to 70 km, it is true, it is not clear how this is connected, but nevertheless.
Of course, the tank needs good "eyes", but not implemented in the same primitive way?
A similar idea was discussed in the mid-80s as part of the Boxer tank project, but then they came to the conclusion that such a solution would not eliminate the problem, since the range of vision is still limited due to the terrain and shielding structures and forest plantations, besides, reliability the operation of such a bar in real combat conditions is highly questionable, and it was considered expedient to place the "eyes" of the tank on the aircraft. Acceptable UAVs did not exist at that time, in connection with which studies began on the use of the K-50 fire support helicopter under construction for these purposes, but the collapse of the Union did not allow the development of this topic.
At the initial stage, the idea was advertised for the Armata tank to launch the Pterodactyl UAV on a rope, but gradually it stalled, apparently for the same reason: due to the impossibility of using it in real operating conditions.
Nowadays, UAVs for various purposes are widely used, and they can be used much more effectively for the outboard "eyes" of the tank. A cheap and disposable UAV can be supplied with a tank and fired through a cannon or smoke grenade launchers, and it is also possible to equip a tank platoon (company) with reusable UAVs with operators on a special control machine in the structure of a tank unit.
The director of Uralvagonzavod advertised the Armata tank in an even more original way, saying that a batch of tanks with artificial intelligence was being prepared, hardly understanding what was behind such a concept. On today's military equipment, the maximum that is used is automatic control systems that work according to a rigidly set human algorithm, and artificial intelligence involves making an independent creative decision on the incoming information, and before that, oh, how far away. Now it is only possible to create a robotic tank with external control on the basis of "Armata", and for this a lot needs to be done.
Regarding the creation of robotic tanks based on serial chassis, we can say in the affirmative that it is possible, such models of tanks were created in the Soviet Union. There are no special technical problems here, you just have to equip these tanks with new systems and close the problem of the presence of a noise-immune and crypto-resistant communication channel with the tank, and this issue is still under resolution.
Advertising, as they say, is the engine of progress, but when conducting such campaigns, it is hardly worth breaking away from the real state of affairs and existing technical capabilities and wishful thinking.