The 5 of June on the website of the Chinese edition appeared the article Tank maker to increase exports on land armaments (“The tank manufacturer aims to increase the export of ground weapons”). Under this heading, which did not attract much attention, there was a curious article about the latest actions and statements of the Chinese corporation Norinco, which produces various weapons and military equipment, including tanks. The publication China's Daily told about new projects of the corporation, as well as about the latest interesting statements of its press service.
Norinco Corporation intends to use the newest and most popular technologies to promote its products. Advertising of weapons and equipment produced by the corporation should now appear in the popular application for WeChat smartphones. This application is designed for instant messaging and has an audience of about 500 million people. Recently, many enterprises of the Chinese defense industry began to advertise in WeChat and thereby promote their products in the international market.
Tank T-14 "Armata". Photos Ru.wikipedia.org, Vitaly V. Kuzmin
In addition to the usual advertising in the application are placed various articles with full information on any topic. Usually in WeChat published materials that for various reasons can not be posted on the official website of the corporation. One of the recent publications of the corporation Norinco in the WeChat application was devoted to the latest Russian and Chinese developments. The only manufacturer of tanks in China decided to study the situation with the newest projects of the two countries.
The authors of the publication remind that the western countries turned down the production of tanks for a long time. Because of this, new armored vehicles of this class are built only in Russia and in China. Thus, if a third country wishes to purchase a new tank, then it will not have much choice. She will have to choose between the Russian and Chinese proposal.
At present, the Russian industry has only one export project of the tank - T-90С. China, in turn, offers three armored vehicles to foreign customers at once. The client can order relatively cheap VT-2 tanks, VT-1 “middle class” vehicles, or the most expensive and sophisticated VT-4 tanks. Thus, as noted by representatives of Norinco, the customer can get the equipment that best meets their requirements.
China is currently Russia's main competitor in the production of export tanks. The main competition is for orders from developing countries that wish to upgrade their armored forces. At the same time, the market for tanks is extremely limited in size, and the volume of new orders is constantly decreasing. Referring to Moscow World Trade Analysis Center weapons, the authors from Norinco claim that in the 2014-17 years there is a significant decrease in the demand for tanks in comparison with the previous four-year period. As a result, we should expect that the competitive struggle in the market will escalate.
According to Chinese experts, the main Russian export tank T-90С, belonging to the third post-war generation, is quite capable of competing with the Chinese VT-1. At the same time, according to representatives of Norinco, the latest Russian development of the T-90AM has no significant improvements that can give an advantage over Chinese tanks. As a result, as stated in the article of the Chinese corporation, seeing the advantages of the VT-4 tank, the Russian manufacturer will have to offer foreign customers the newest T-14 machine.
The debut of the new Russian tank T-14 "Armat" was held on May 9 at the Victory Parade. According to Russian media, Norinco reminds that this car is the first tank of the fourth generation. In addition, it surpasses all existing foreign developments in a number of characteristics. After the start of full operation, this tank will become the most powerful combat vehicle in the world.
Tank VT-4 (MBT-3000)
However, Norinco experts are not inclined to agree with Russian statements. Moreover, they have a diametrically opposite opinion. An article in a corporation published in WeChat states that T-14 is inferior to Chinese VT-4 in a number of parameters. Chinese tank builders saw a lag in automation, mobility, and fire control systems. In addition, the Chinese tank has an advantage in terms of cost.
Recalling the incident at the rehearsal of the parade on Red Square, Norinco experts claim that there are problems with the transmission of the new Russian tank. The Chinese machine VT-4, allegedly, never encountered such problems. In addition, the authors of the article claim that Chinese-made fire control systems have characteristics at the level of world leaders, and similar Russian equipment is inferior to them.
In addition, representatives of Norinco talked about the cost of combat vehicles. According to their data, the price of the Russian T-14 tank should not seriously differ from the American M1A2 Abrams. In this case, the Chinese armored vehicles have significant advantages, since they have high performance and low price.
It seems that the Norinco article in the WeChat application is an advertisement for Chinese armored vehicles and an attempt to belittle a potential competitor. The second half of the material fully confirms this. Further description of the VT-4 is similar to advertising and can hardly be considered a fair and unbiased assessment of the capabilities of this machine.
According to the manufacturer, the VT-4 tank has a modern fire control system, the latest active protection, and is also equipped with a new automatic transmission. In addition, the electronic equipment of the tank included equipment for communication with other machines and command. Such equipment allows the tank unit to exchange real-time information about the state of the battlefield and the location of targets.
The chief designer of the VT-4 tank, Feng Ibai, notes that the car is equipped with a diesel engine with an HP 1200 power. with electronic control system. This power plant provides the tank with a maximum speed of 68 km / h. The “main caliber” of the armored vehicle is the 125-mm smoothbore weapon. In ammunition includes both armor-piercing sabots and fired shells, and high-explosive fragmentation ammunition. It also provides for the possibility of firing guided missiles with a range of up to 5 km.
Fan Ibay separately notes the characteristics of the protection of the tank, developed under his leadership. Despite the high level of protection, the combat weight of the tank is equal to 52 tons. It is argued that foreign vehicles with similar protection characteristics weigh on the order of 60 t. This feature ultimately increases the mobility of the Chinese tank in comparison with foreign competitors.
Norinco senior research and development manager Liu Sun believes that VT-4 can compete with all modern foreign tanks, including the American M1A2 Abrams and the German Leopard 2A6. In August last year, a demonstration of the VT-4 tank took place in Inner Mongolia, which was attended by representatives of 44 from foreign countries. According to Liu Song, some foreign officials expressed interest in a new Chinese development and expressed willingness to begin negotiations on possible purchases. Details of these events and negotiations were not disclosed. Nevertheless, it became known from the chief designer of the project that the VT-4 tank would be tested by the Pakistani military.
Chinese experts tend to appreciate the export potential of VT-4 tanks. So, military expert Shi Yang, quoted in Norinco, believes that new Chinese tanks may be of interest to many countries in the Middle East. Chinese VT-1 machines are already in service with many Asian countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and China intends to increase the number of foreign customers.
In addition, China is developing a light tank of a new generation. This machine, according to available data, is intended for work in mountain conditions. In particular, the new light tank will receive a hydropneumatic suspension designed to operate in difficult conditions.
According to the UN Register of Conventional Weapons, from 1992 to 2013, China sold 461 a tank to foreign customers. 296 machines were purchased by Pakistan. Over the same period, Russian enterprises transferred 1297 tanks to customers. The United States and Germany sold 21 and 5511 tanks, respectively, for the 2680 year.
It is easy to see that the authors of the Chinese publication do not have much respect for the new Russian development. Moreover, in their desire to make advertising their own products, they seem to be ready for various not entirely honest statements. Naturally, such an approach to the promotion of its development could not fail to provoke a corresponding reaction from the Russian side.
9 June, the online publication Vestnik Mordovii, known for its interest in armored vehicles, published the article under the loud title "One Russian Armata" equivalent to 10 Chinese tanks MBT-3000. " The author of this article, Lev Romanov, tried to sort out Chinese statements and answer them. As can be seen from the title, the Russian journalist is more than disagree with the Chinese experts.
L. Romanov began his article with a reminder of foreign publications that appeared shortly after the "premiere" of the newest Russian tank. Earlier, the American press wrote about some borrowing from American projects, and later similar publications appeared in the German media. However, the Chinese article seriously stands out against the background of other foreign statements. China, which has extensive experience in copying foreign products without a permit, has reached the allegations that VT-4, which has a specific origin, is superior to T-14.
"Messenger of Mordovia" recalled some features of the VT-4 project, also known under the designation MBT-3000. This tank is a further development of the Al Khalid tank (MBT-2000) joint Chinese-Pakistani development. The development of the basic project began in 1988, and in 91 the first Al Khalid prototype was put to the test. In the future, several modifications of the armored vehicle appeared, differing from each other in the types of engines used. For various reasons, the deployment of mass production of tanks took about 10 years.
After Pakistan conducted tests of nuclear weapons, Western countries imposed sanctions against this state. Among other things, the sanctions led to the impossibility of using engines of American and European production. As a result, Al Khalid tanks received Ukrainian 6TD-2 type engines. Such motors are considered optimal in terms of cost and performance.
The Russian edition notes that when creating the Al Khalid tank, the most widely used components and assemblies were borrowed from Soviet armored vehicles. Thus, the T-72M tank, inherited by China through connections with third countries, “shared” some elements of the undercarriage, the 125-mm smoothbore gun and automatic loader for it.
Also, the Herald of Mordovia recalled the comparative tests of Russian and Chinese tanks. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia decided to check the T-90C and Al Khalid tanks. The Russian armored vehicle successfully covered the entire distance at the tankodrome, while the MBT-2000 encountered numerous problems. For these reasons, the Chinese tank was removed from the tests, and the Russian T-90C was declared the winner.
It should be noted that in the future, "Al Khalid" was upgraded. In 2012, an updated version of this tank called the MBT-3000 was demonstrated. L. Romanov notes that in this car there was a noticeable influence of the Russian T-90CM tank. During the modernization of the Chinese tank received a new dynamic protection, as well as an updated power plant. Instead of the Ukrainian engine, it was decided to use a domestic HP 1200 motor. Nevertheless, such a replacement had some negative features: the resource of Chinese engines leaves much to be desired.
On the workplace of the driver appeared new equipment. Now all the necessary information was displayed on an electronic display, and it was proposed to drive the car using the steering wheel, which replaced the traditional levers. Nevertheless, as experts noted, the design of new governing bodies was not developed. In some situations, the steering wheel not only interfered with driving a tank, but also posed a danger to the driver.
On the published photos of the combat compartment of the MBT-3000 tank, specialists and the interested public were able to see some interesting features of this vehicle. At first attention was attracted by color displays to display various information. However, in the same photographs it was noticeable that at least some of the details of the newest Chinese tank were covered with rust. This problem noticeably hit the MBT-3000 reputation.
The infamous photo of a tank with rust.
As a result, it turns out that they are trying to compare the Chinese-made armored vehicle with a number of characteristic — and not the very best — features with the latest Russian T-14 tank. Meanwhile, unnamed experts who are referred to by the journalist of the Vestnik of Mordovia believe that a tank based on the Armat platform has great advantages over Chinese cars. According to their calculations, one T-14 on the battlefield will be able to destroy up to a company of MBT-3000 tanks. This is facilitated by the latest weapon with a record speed of sabot projectiles and a perfect fire control system based on domestic components.
In addition, L. Romanov notes the use of a new complex of active protection, which significantly increases the survivability of the tank. As a result, the Armata’s T-14 is protected from the weapons of the most modern enemy tanks, superior to the Chinese MBT-3000.
Who is right?
According to different sources, currently the T-14 tank based on the Armata platform is being tested. In addition, the development of various systems and preparation for the mass production of such equipment is underway. Over the next few years, the first production tanks of the new model will be transferred to the armed forces. In general, the current progress of the project may be cause for optimism. Nevertheless, there are not quite pleasant moments for the public.
At the moment, most of the information about the Armata project is still hidden under secrecy. It is unlikely that most of the information about the T-14 tank will become public in the next few years. For this reason, so far it is necessary to rely only on the available fragmentary information, various assessments, etc. All this does not yet allow to form a full-fledged opinion on the newest Russian tank, and also seriously complicates its comparison with other armored vehicles.
As a result, it can be assumed that Chinese specialists were quick to compare two tanks and, as a result, arrived at the wrong conclusion. However, this version does not fully correspond to reality. The fact is that the publication of the corporation Norinco is more like an advertisement than an attempt at an objective comparison. The various nuances of this article can serve as an excellent confirmation of this assumption.
As for the publication of the Vestnik of Mordovia, it can be considered a worthy response to the claims of Chinese experts, in fact, based on just one incident with an unplanned stop of the T-14 tank. In the article from Norinco there is only one fact capable of casting a shadow on Armata. L. Romanov, in his turn, cited several examples at once, speaking about the problems of the VT-4 / MBT-3000 tank. Such features of the two articles may look ambiguous, but they perfectly reveal the topic of praising their equipment and belittling foreign ones.
As you know, advertising is the engine of commerce. Nevertheless, the advertising material of the corporation Norinco, recently published in WeChat, can hardly be considered a worthy example of content intended for the promotion of its products. This fact, as well as the features of vehicles from different countries, suggest that in the future the situation in the international market of tanks will hardly change. The probability of increasing the share of China is still less than it would be desirable for Chinese enterprises.