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Russia wants to create an unmanned tank with an electrothermal chemical gun

MOSCOW, (BM) – According to unconfirmed reports, Russia in the future wants to get an unmanned tank armed with a cannon based on “new physical principles.” The T-14 tank on the basis of the Armata tracked platform has not yet entered service, but in Russia they are increasingly talking about the vehicle that should replace it.

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According to confidential sources in the military-industrial complex, the tank of the future is seen as unmanned: AI will control the machine (operators may also be involved), learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Naked Science. Another key feature could be an electrothermochemical weapon. We are talking about firing using a pre-heated propellant, which will enter the barrel of the gun under high pressure, and then turn into plasma. Due to this, the initial velocity of the projectile should reach approximately 4500 meters per second.

As a reminder, in August there was information about the development of the concept of a promising Russian tank, which may consist of two links. As now, it was about the possibility of using weapons on “new physical principles.” However, there is an important conceptual difference: the previously proposed concept involved a crew-driven vehicle. All three crew members must be in front of the tank.

Russia has already tested the unmanned mode of T-14 Armata

As we reported in July this year the forth-generation Russian T-14 Armata tank during preliminary tests worked out the operating mode without a crew, a source in the military-industrial complex said then. Back in 2016, the former head of the main armored directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Alexander Shevchenko, said in an interview with RIA Novosti that an unmanned robotic version of the latest T-14 Armata tank will be created in 2018.

According to him, the uniqueness of the new vehicles lies in the presence of an open digital architecture, which created the “reinforced concrete basis for the robotics of armored vehicles.” At the Army-2018 forum, the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the purchase of 132 combat vehicles T-14 and T-15 from the Uralvagonzavod on the Armata platform. As previously reported by Deputy Minister of Defense Alexei Krivoruchko, the entire contract will be completed before the end of 2021.

What T-14 Armata tank really is?

T-14 Armata is a unique tank of the third post-war generation. It was designed to conduct combat in a direct collision with the enemy, to support the offensive of motorized rifle units, fortifications, manpower of the opponent, located in shelters and in open areas. At the beginning of the year, a new “gun-ammunition” was developed for “Armata”, which provides the T-14 with firepower that significantly exceeds the performance of modern Russian and foreign tanks.

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Earlier, the Ministry of Defense signed a contract for the purchase of 132 T-14 and T-15 combat vehicles on the Armata platform. The agreements are planned to be implemented by the end of next year. Now the state tests of the tank pass the final stage.

T-14 Armata vs. M1A Abrams

The American tank, created back in the 1980 year, is not equipped with an automatic loader, respectively, 6 shells of the first stage are in the cockpit near the loader. The rest of the ammunition was located in the rear of the tower, behind a special armored curtain. It seems to be nice if it does not reach the detonation of the first six, and practice has shown that the protective curtain is also kept open to optimize the charging process from the rear compartment.

The T-14 implements a completely different principle of protecting the crew from detonation. The “Armata” cannon is reloaded automatically, the entire ammunition load of the vehicle is moved outside the inhabited compartments and is located in the automatic loader, while the tankers are in a separate armored capsule isolated from the rest of the tank’s space.

Abrams is perfectly protected in front and on the sides: in the front part there is “uranium” armor [by the way, claims for environmental friendliness to it], TUSK complexes and dynamic ARAT protection on the sides.However, the thickness of the armor in the upper part of the body does not exceed 80 mm, which is clearly not enough. Another weak point of the American tank is the space between the hull and the tower.

“Armata” is reliably protected from all sides, including the top of the case. Her armor of the special brand 44С-SV-Ш is 15% thinner, but at the same time as strong. In addition, the T-14 has anti-cumulative grilles at the rear, and the shape of the bottom has an anti-mine design. It turns out that the security of the crew and the T-14 tank itself is less vulnerable than M1A.

M1A Abrams is equipped with an 120 mm M256 gun firing new powerful ammunition (hereinafter BPS) M8293 and M829E4. However, the drawback of the “American” firepower is the charging process itself – the absence of that automatic reloading and a rapidly tired person, especially when the tank moves on uneven rough terrain and intense shooting.

The Russian armored car does not have such problems, since the T-14, as already noted, is initially equipped with an automatic charging device. And the gun at “Armata” is also more powerful – 125 mm 2A82, and there is the possibility to install an even more powerful gun – 152 mm 2A83, but this, apparently, is a distant prospect.

Moreover, in both variations there is no restriction on the length of the projectile: for example, “Vacuum-1” is 900 mm, but longer, therefore, more powerful BPSs can also be used. In the version with the 152 mm gun, the Armata would be much superior to the Abrams in terms of firepower and striking ability. After each upgrade, Abrams is heavy and ultimately its weight has reached 63 tons excluding the TUSK complex. The gas turbine engine in 1500 horsepower gives the thrust-weight ratio of 24 hp / t at the output, making the tank quite mobile with a maximum speed of 67 km / h in a straight line.

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True, overweight affects maneuverability, and the pressure on the soil exceeds one (more precisely 1,07 kg / cm2), which affects the permeability. At the same time, the range without refueling is about 450 km. The mass of the T-14 in the modern version is about 55 tons with a specific pressure on the movement surface of about 0,73 kg / cm2. Diesel powerplant of a Russian car in 1200 hp power, which is more than enough to give out 25 hp / t. thrust-to-weight ratio and develop 80 km / h at maximum. The range is also slightly higher than the American – 500 km.

And according to these tactical and technical parameters of the T-14 “Armata” bypasses Abrams. According to the general results, the Russian tank wins with an 3:0 score. Which is generally logical and expected when comparing the US model of the previous generation and the latest Russian. It remains to wait for the mass deliveries of T-14 to the troops, if real mass is still ensured.

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