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Patriotic star tank or a misunderstanding?

Crossed swords admirers and detractors of “Armata”
Звездный танк или патриотическое недоразумение?

In the “Independent military review” published an article entitled “after the Novelty of a bright presentation. It is unacceptable to hide objective disadvantages of weapon systems under a layer of jingoism” (“IEE”

No. 3 of 29.01.16). The Author – Sergey Vasiliev. As he signed – Colonel, candidate of technical Sciences, Professor of the Academy of military Sciences.

The whole article is devoted to criticism of a new Russian tank T-14 “Armata”. The author hit backhand, his reproaches tough, impulsive and emotional. The arguments, however, is slightly paler. Their weakness is visible even to a person who is not passionate about the history of tank development, its products. However, the topic is so important for Russia’s defence capability, which requires additional reflection and analysis.

In this regard, to comment on the author’s arguments and to argue, if possible, we turned to the Colonel of a stock Sergey Victorovich Suvorov – one of the leading Russian experts in the field of armored vehicles. He graduated from the Kharkov guards tank command school with a gold medal, Academy of Armored troops, postgraduate Military Academy. M. V. Frunze. He served in the Soviet forces in Germany and the Transbaikal military district, occupying successively the positions of tank platoon commander, the Deputy commander of a tank company armament, the tank company commander, Deputy commander of a tank battalion – chief of staff, commander of a tank training battalion. Candidate of military Sciences (thesis: “Improvement of fire control of motorized infantry and tank units”). In the graduate school and afterwards worked on many practical studies and tests related to the study of combat capabilities of the various armoured vehicles. He taught at the Military Academy. M. V. Frunze at the Department of combat effectiveness.

After dismissal from the Armed forces he worked as chief editor in two journals of military subjects, in the “Military-industrial company”, now – chief specialist of Moscow representative office of the Ural plant. Was involved in testing of armoured vehicles and after retirement. With tank theme doesn’t leave my entire adult life, and since work involves participation in international military exhibitions, constantly improving your knowledge of modern foreign samples of armored vehicles, familiar with many of their creators.

As questions to our interlocutor, the browser “NVO” Nicholas POROSKOV quoted excerpts from the article Sergei Vasilyev, and at the end of the conversation and some other domestic and foreign detractors of the new Russian military-industrial complex, is already named the main tank of the XXI century, the leader of Russian modernization and even star tank.

– Sergey Viktorovich, author, writes: “After the presentation during the Victory Parade held in Nizhny Tagil arms exhibition RAE-2015 “Armata” modestly stood behind the fence”.

– I was under the impression that this person is far from the topic of tanks. Yes, the car was behind a fence because the “Classified” since it had not yet cleared. There was not one, was even IFV T-15 on the same platform, self-propelled howitzer “Coalition-SV”. The people near the fence were crowded so much that the word “modest” does the situation not suitable. People left this place only when it was necessary to take seats in the stands to watch the demonstration. To this exhibition to the “Armata” came a lot of foreigners. Was Christopher FOSS is the chief editor of “Janes” on the armored subject. I even took a picture with him, asked about his impressions. FOSS said that long dreamed to see this tank. Came my German friends, just for one day to see T-14. Had a friend of a specialist from Geneva.

– Let us continue quoting: “Deserted tower, operating in automatic mode, is not just a design feature, this new ideology in the Soviet tank building. But why does the world tank building bypassed this ideology?”

Is world history on this problem works. Something, something not. To say that they don’t have it, then we don’t need, wrong or not entirely correct: they have many are not from what we have. When we got diesel T-34 tanks they all went on petrol. The first autoloader they appeared 25 years after the appearance of his we in the 1966 T-64, approximately in 1990, the French “Leclerc”. This work on “the Leopard” did not go. The Jordanians did an autoloader on an experimental car – the modernized “Challenger”. By the way, in the space before us, no one was flying, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t have to fly.

– The “reserved amount foreign tanks is much more historically our, to place the entire crew in the hull is not God knows what difficult technical problem. There just is considered wrong to deprive the commander of the tank the possibility of direct circular review – electronics electronics, and more perfect eyes nothing. In the T-14 commander from the machine body has a direct visual overview in the sector of 140-160 degrees (and asymmetrically relative to the longitudinal axis of the machine), the rest it needs to “see” through various detectors and sensors. But these sensors are placed in a separate turret on the roof of the tower, which is protected not as a machine and also raises the overall height of the tank to nearly three meters. That is one lucky shot from small-caliber guns, and “Armata” was half blind. Besides effective means of destruction of electronic equipment (REO) in the world abound – from the generally applicable of jammers to the latest microwave generators – electromagnetic pulses”.

– To place in the tank crew and all necessary equipment is always a problem. By the way, even Western designers admitted to me that in matters of layout of the tank they are behind us. I agree that optical channel monitoring important. I have looked at several new developments without fibre channel and asked the developers the same question as the author of the article. They said they spent a lot of research and testing before choosing this option. Note that one channel optoelectronic observation to another discord. There were a lot of complaints from Americans addressed to a remotely controlled module “Kronberg” Norwegian production: a lot of their shot in Iraq. But we must remember that now many of the sighting optic-electronic devices the image complexities: color television high resolution camera and a thermal imaging camera which provides the image in black and white. In this case, it turns out the picture with details which the human eye is not able to determine. To all this, we (and Vasiliev) don’t know, what else is there on the “Armata”.

But to get one good shot, how much should be unsuccessful! On the turret that hosts sighting-observation complex, from small caliber guns to shoot you from a distance of less two kilometres, otherwise this tank you will make the pile of metal before you were shot. The tank is enough to make one “bad” shot a high-explosive projectile, even if it falls close to the APC or an APC with an automatic cannon were destroyed. To cite one example. On BMPT “Terminator” is about the same turret. During the tests it was subjected to fire different types of munitions, including small-caliber. Two shells hit the target, but after that it has worked, and the camera, and the camera. With some flaws, but worked. Not as easy as it seems at first glance. All this amateurish antics – Oh, I crack open the…

Now about noise. Impact on the quality of the signal when it is transferred to the screen that shielded the armor of the tank, braided cables? What Vasiliev had meant by interference? Except that the EMP – electromagnetic pulse. We have since the invention of nuclear weapons on all the tanks, starting with T-55A, all electrical equipment is shielded from the likely impact of the EMR.

About the booked volume and comfort of the crew is written by those who never was imported in the tanks. I, fortunately, had a chance to sit in “the Leopards”, the latter – “Leopard-2А7+”. Even in T-72 where is the justice I felt more comfortable. The placement of the crew in “the Leopard”, “Abrams”: three people sit on each other, free one only charging. But he had to rush back and forth with a shot length of one meter and weight of 30 kg for manual loading. Who never in life is not charging the main gun staffing artstream when moving the tank, he will never understand what it is charging.

– “Feature 125-mm cannon 2А82 is infamous for outdoor vertical automatic loader, structurally executed so that when a direct hit in the turret and armor piercing ammunition to undermine the inevitable. But here is the caveat – the safety of the crew during the blasting of ammunition “Leopard” and “Abrams” is provided by diversion of energy explosion up or to the side due to the lifting panel, for which ammunition is placed outside of the reserved volume in lightly armored “Zaman” tower. But in the T-14 such an explosion occurs inside the tank! So the role of the panel is prepared for lifting multi-ton tower with expensive equipment (unless, of course, the body will withstand)”.

– What’s with the autoloader? The gun by itself, it can either be with the autoloader or without him. What is the machine gun for this to hold, it is down to the designer. And gun, which is now in the “Armata” was calculated not under outdoor-carousel automatic loader, and the machine in the niche of the tower (Zaman) as those same French. For this gun features the new armor-piercing projectile of greater length, which in the carousel machine “climbs”.

The impression is that Vasiliev is not quite how the ammo is placed in “the Leopard” and “Abrams”. In Zaman of them is only part of ammunition is 50-60%. But to destroy the tank, only one shot will explode inside. The rupture panel they have, but it is not a panacea. There were cases on the “Abrams”: when they exploded the ammunition, kicked and partitions. On T-90MS also has a lifting panel. I think for “Armata” taken all the best features of the previous models. On the “Armata” crew protected from ammunition definitely. Even if you tear off the tower, the crew will be saved.

– “Reduced the already scanty, intended for the crew, free the booked amount. The crew is virtually impossible for an elementary move, and their position is ergonomically the same as sprat in the Bank. Thus, it is unclear what the crew will leave the car in a critical situation”.

– The expression “deprived of the opportunity simply to move” reminds me of the passage of one Western expert on Soviet armored vehicles, who wrote: “Inside the Soviet tanks very closely, there is no closed hatches to stand up”. And why is that? I wrote to him: “Mercedes-600” class “luxury” I could not stand up at the closed hatch, but nobody said that this machine comfortabely. Vasiliev would like to ask: you were in the car, to be able to write about “sprats in the Bank”. I haven’t been inside the “Armata”, but was in previous models.

Critic says with a lot of enthusiasm about Western tanks, but does not say that the “Leopard” one personal door off the loader, and after the second out of three people: the commander, gunner and mechanic, because the mechanic through the hatch can’t get out – only the head can stick out. And in “Armata”, as the developers say (and this is over time, you can check) the hatches are bigger, there are fewer protrusions, which can accidentally catch during the landing. To judge need to try to get out, preferably in overalls, preferably in winter.

– “Crew members are actually isolated from each other to avoid mutual assistance in case of trouble.”

– How they are isolated, if, according to the author, sitting in a capsule, “as sprats in the Bank”?

“There was a strong bronekapsuly, combat weight of “Armata” in 48 tons (the Leopard, Abrams, Merkava – 60 t) with respect to a 46.5 tonne T-90 can only mean the simultaneous reduction of combat armor and motor-transmissionok offices machines. Or stopped and disarmed in a battle tank, though, and with the rescued crew, lost the tank.”

– We have one “great” writer (not going to name him) writes about the tanks, although the tank never was, itself, the tank was only seen on TV. He believes that in the West everything is great, and we have… But we must not forget that our tank size is always less than the competition. And each additional cubic meter of tank volume is up to five tons of weight gain. I had the opportunity to communicate with the main constructors and the “Abrams” and “Leclerc”. And even they say, the Russian school of tank development is a remarkable fact that no one in the West still can’t build tank so tight, so well, as do the Russians. Indeed, since the T-64, was Packed so that with minimum volume of the tank was pushed. Competitors substantial size of the power pack compartment. And this increase in the mass of 10-15 tons. And say, once we 48 tons, and they have 60, we have the worse defense, is fundamentally wrong.

– “Significantly increased the size of the tank (about 3 m height above). Move the commander and gunner-operator in the hull behind the driver during the same chase tower (after all, gun with automatic loader is the same) inevitably leads to increasing the length of the hull; moreover, it is unknown how many “added” here engine-transmission compartment with the new 1500-horsepower engine. Yes-first and breadth-tank has obviously grown due to the continuous anticumulative screens. In the same combat weight of 48 tonnes the increased size of the tank, obviously, has further reduced the overall level of body armor”.

– And here he is, on the contrary, accuses developers of the T-14 that the size of the tank has grown! Height 3 meters, but a meter – the same turret, weighing not more than 200 to 250 kg. With the increased size of the tank uninhabited tower. On the outside she is some kind of “tin”. It’s as lightweight and durable case in a submarine. I will explain to the candidate of technical Sciences, from hanging anticumulative screens, increasing the machine dimensions, weight did not increase, the air that is between the tank and the screen usually gives no weight gain.

– “Increasing the size of the tank and, accordingly, the amount booked, and the developers didn’t lift a finger to increase the free volume for the convenience of the crew (even, on the contrary, reduced it to the size bronekapsuly, where crew members are generally deprived of mobility and occupy the position of “reclining”)”.

Let the author look very educational film for the TV program “Military acceptance”, where it is seen that in the “Mercedes” is closer than “Armata”. I was surprised that the creators of the tank allowed such a detailed survey of the machine inside.

Звездный танк или патриотическое недоразумение?
In matters of layout designers American “Abrams” has seriously lagged behind the Russian colleagues. Photo from the site www.army.mil

– The author quotes the words of the developer tank: “a Peculiar angular shape of the tower “Almaty was” “reduces the visibility of the machine in thermal spectra and radar observations”. And went further criticism: “The protection against thermal radiation – Patriotic nonsense. The heat source is the engine in the tank hull and not his turret. With radar radiation is also something wrong. The idea is that “broken” the surface has to “swing” it away from the axis of the device-radiator. But this surface should not have pockets – concave cavities, are essentially corner reflectors, which gives the opposite effect. But on T-14, judging by the photos, they are present in abundance. About protection from laser radiation, which is the basis of the guidance system of most anti-tank missiles (ATGM), we don’t say a word.”

– Sources of heat in the tank but the motor, undercarriage parts (rollers are heated), the dampers, the tower in which many electronics, shoot guns, finally, cooling system, air conditioner heat exchanger. If you watch heat signature, you can see – heats up the entire body, in different places in different ways. Corner reflectors have always been a means of jamming enemy radar. Now about the laser radiation. Still on the T-90 were supplied by the detection sensors of laser irradiation. Further, in the automatic mode shoots grenades aerosol, the aerosol cloud is created within 1-2 seconds (the Western tanks – only after 5-6 seconds).

– “World history has 100 years of experience that shows that a modern tank cannon is enough and two or three guns, and many, armed to the teeth monster disappeared even before the Second world war, not so much because of its size, but because of the impossibility of effective management of firepower. For any upcoming combat “Armata” might need as many auxiliary weapons, managed a maximum of two people, frankly don’t understand.”

– Let them list the “extra” armament for the T-14. Or he wants to do it?

– “SAZ “Afghanite”. This, in essence, munition, fired in the direction of flying to the tank ATGM or RPG grenades and destroys the latter by undermining. Imagine the result of applying the SAZ, if the tank operates in battle surrounded by your infantry. No wonder Western tank builders, if not God knows what difficult technical device SAZ, avoid a wide application. Anti tank grenades and RPG – flying relatively slowly, that is, from its armor-piercing projectile (BPS) and ammunition, operating on the principle of “shock core”, the SAZ will not save. The location of mortars “Lapis” horizontally under the tower shows that in the upper hemisphere of the tank completely covered with SAZ and exposed to helicopter anti-tank guided missile “Hellfire” and top attacking ATGM “Dzhavellin”. To apply SAZ own radars, which include, tank finds himself helpful on the battlefield”.

– If our critic is really a Colonel, he was to take up a “field manual” describing how the infantry in conjunction with tanks. What do you mean tanks surrounded by infantry? During the Great Patriotic war used the infantry as troops sit on tanks. Now it is not. After the first shot from a tank gun infantry with the tank will blow. In my own experience: during zeroing, we put the tanks close to each other so that you can step from one to the other. I leaned out of the hatch to the gunner when a tank fired nearby. The feeling is like a boxer caught me right in the forehead! In the eyes of sparks. I flew down and started frantically to figure out what happened. In accordance with the “military code”, infantry running behind the tanks at a distance of 50-100 meters.

About the overhand. We still have tanks earlier dynamic protection structures, even the first generations very well-proven in protection against blows from above.

About the tank detection when the radar SAZ. As a rule, shoot at a tank, when he was found. Accordingly, if the tanks are in disguise and don’t fire, they are not detected by the enemy radars and the active protection system to include, no one will. When the battle begins, tanks, shooting from their guns, one way or another will find ourselves better than any included radar. Well, military man with a degree should such things be understood!

– “On “innovativeness” of “Armata” as a unified tracked platform I don’t even want to comment. Ancient as world – recall, only domestic self-propelled artillery installations (SAU) of the war years, the SU-76 and SU-100 on the basis of tanks T-60 and T-34 respectively, of the post 122-mm SPG 2S1 “Carnation” on the basis of the armoured personnel carrier MT-LB, or even modern “innovations” – BMPT “Terminator” and the flamethrower TOS-1A “the Sun” on the basis of tank T-72″.

– No one says that this is the first in the world platform. Innovation in its modular implementation, it has a different chassis layout. Provides a critic of the system, as a failure, built on T-72. Where this platform is not used! And experience (40 years plus) very good. I think that this platform will serve for a long time.

– Now about the “arguments” of other critics. In the media, they write, flashed the information that “Armata” made Western developments of thirty years ago. One German newspaper wrote about the “Armata”: this variant of the tank was developed in Germany in the 90 years to replace the tank “Leopard”-2, and the Russians copied it.

– First, Western designs of thirty years ago no one shared. Secondly, at the same time, in the late 70s, not knowing about these Western developments, we Solnechnogorsk on the landfill were tested tanks with no crews. A whole tank platoon “fought” without crews! Shot, hit various targets. However, for various reasons, then in final form to implement this development did not happen. So it is not clear who copied whom.

Most critics were Chinese. The company “China North industries Corporation” is convinced that her 52-ton main battle tank VT-4 (MBT-3000) car is superior in maneuverability and firepower, automation, fire control systems. And it is cheaper. Moreover, according to the Chinese design Bureau, that VT-4 has pushed Russia to the development of the “Armata”.

– All this we have seen and heard: how the Italian armoured car “Iveco” better armored “Tiger”, “centaur” is superior to the BTR-80’s until it was time to practice. Chinese products we saw during the competition “Tank biathlon”. How many engines did they change? Let’s do a comparative test, and all will become clear.

– The Chinese (and not only), I remember an annoying stop T-14 during a rehearsal of the Victory Parade. Chinese experts believe that the tank has a broken transmission because the truck couldn’t move with a few attempts.

A tractor weighing less than a tank myself, could not shift it, not because the gearbox broke – tank stood on the brake. Apparently, so did one of the locks, and stopped the tank. The fact is that on-Board information and control system reacts to any action of the crew, in terms of the rules of operation, and blocks this is the wrong action. For example, a wrong gear change. In discussing our case, it just killed the engine. If there was a broken gearbox, the tank would not be able after that to start and go further. In fact, wound up and went. The error occurred because of neobychainoi crew simply did not have time to prepare in a short time.

– The case of domestic critics: the creators of “Armata” make the same mistake as the designers of the Wehrmacht, focusing on heavy and expensive tanks (“Tiger” and “Panther”). It was impossible to produce in large quantities. As the “Armata” in contrast to the T-90. The potential enemy in the end tanks would be more, and in combat the ruggedness of equipment is often more valuable than its capacity.

– Today it released a lot of T-14. And this is at the experimental facility, when not rebuilt until the end of the conveyor. The country has not abandoned T-90 different versions and even older models. Last modification of T-90MS on the program “Breakthrough-2” I was personally amazed by its comfort, no Western tank can not compare with it. In T-90MS changed all the electronics, the place became much, car seats, steering wheel, automatic gear shifting, air conditioning… surpassed even the French “Leclerc”. So these fears are unfounded.

– No frills will not protect the beautiful game from the RPG-30 “Hook” NPO “Basalt”, I assure domestic Cassandra. The main advantage of the “Hook” – bicaliber design using simulator the goal to overcome the active protection. “Hook” from a distance of 200-300 meters breaks through 600-mm armor.

– Show me a tank in the world, which would be protected against the RPG-7, not to mention the “Hook”. If the commander and crew are not trained, do not know how to fight, they will burn anything – without the “Hook”. Some “experts” were sometimes cited such an example: say, in Afghanistan, the Mujahideen from the rifle pierced the armored personnel carrier and BMP with one hundred meters. And the shooter was aboard a hundred meters? What did the intelligence and military security? The arrows had to be shot a kilometer before an armored personnel carrier. Same thing with tanks. They say “experts”: tanks in the city doing nothing, it is impossible to send them there to die. What infantry do in the city without tanks? It just slain. Open “field manual” and read the Chapter about the organization of combat and interaction. This is the art of combat. A “Hook” – one of his episodes. And the task of the commander of the crew of “Armata” is to use your weapons and not allow to use effectively the enemy of his weapons, same grenade launcher.

– Major in the artillery today are 152-mm shells. It is necessary to establish their production. But this is impossible without the restoration of machine tool plant TNITI – Tula scientific research technological Institute. He is today in a sad state. To make a new BPS for “Armata”, will require re-adjustment of the production line. But the efforts of our defence industry is aimed in a different direction, crushes opponents. In 2014, Russia signed a contract on supply to India of 66 thousand tank rounds “Mango”. To do this, supply the equipment, technology and to organize the production of shells on the plant… in India. And in Russia let the plants wither? And who needs a cool tank “Armata” without new shells?

One of the reasons why not go to a series of “object 195” (aka T-95) is a machine ahead of its time. As the su-100 and M-50 as a tank the is-7 and so on. T-95 “killed” Serdyukov, Makarov and company. There were other reasons.

Gun 125-mm today solves all the problems and all happy. The time will come and put a 152 mm gun. It worked out, tested.

And the fact that Russia supplies India’s tank ammunition, so it’s probably for the best. The industry earns the funds which you can improve your own production.

Author Nikolai Poroskov

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