Friday, May 8, 2015

Don't laugh yet, but "Did the ‘World’s Deadliest Tank’ Just Break Down?"

Like I said, don't laugh yet. This one may have broken down, but that's not uncommon for new weapon systems. More significant is this: The Russian military intends to replace 70 percent of its tank corps with the new tracked vehicle and plans to produce 2,300 T-14 Armata models by 2020


Anonymous said...

I don't claim to be an expert on AFV construction and survivability. However, my limited knowledge includes the desire to avoid creating a "shell trap" between the turret and the hull. Essentially one of the most recognizable features of Soviet post-war tanks was the "soap bubble" turret that effectively made the widest part situated right at the turret/deck join. Any shell striking the turret would tend to be deflected up and over. The new tank abandons this concept. Any shell striking below the belt line of the turret will be deflected down and into the hull/deck join and be well on its way to blowing the turret off the hull. Not a good thing. Perhaps the Rooskies have figured out a way to finesse the problem, or maybe they have stepped on their privates in a very public way.

Only time and experience in combat will tell.

Phelps said...

I know that when I think drive by wire, advanced electronics and precision remote sensing, I think, "must be Russia."

It is relying heavily on reactive armor and active defense systems. The reactive armor is a proven system, but it's only good for one hit. The active systems (shooting down rockets with rockets) I would have absolutely no faith in.

The crew is buried in the hull, so it's all about the autoloader and the sensors. I just don't think that the Russians are going to make sensors (even just TV cameras) that are good enough to make this tank dangerous. Autoloaders, even well developed Russian ones, tend to torque out of alignment and stop working pretty quickly, especially when someone is flinging DU at you at a few thousand feet per second.

It's built for export, and the Russians are just doing the "eat your own dog food" thing. They have to use it so they can sell it. The flat angles, the autoloader, etc, is all geared towards rich arab countries that can buy tons of tanks but not the people to fight them. Even the weapon system relying heavily on missiles is geared to export -- take half educated politician's sons, and give them a targetting system even those morons can use as a standoff weapons, which by the way happens to be hideously expensive per shot and only available from Putin-Mart.

(For the record, the M1 sucks too. If I was buying tanks, I would be buying Leos or Merkavas.)

Anonymous said...

The tank died under ideal conditions, supposedly due to operator error (according to what was reported). How, then, would it function under less-than-ideal conditions, in the field, getting shot at, with tankers also under stress?

Anonymous said...

Considering what happened to the most famous of them, I wouldn't be naming it the Armada.....

sykes.1 said...

Think M16.

They will make it work.

On our side, the USS Ford can't reliably launch or recover aircraft. How long do you think that will last.

2300 Armadas will be a match for Britain's 56 tanks, France's 200 tanks and Germany's 300. The US has none in Europe.

Jonathan H said...

I'll believe it is the 'World's Deadliest Tank' when it proves itself in battle - which no Russian/ Soviet tank has done since the T-34, and you can easily argue that was due to sheer numbers.
If you think truth in advertising in the US is bad, you should compare actual capabilities with Russian advertising literature sometime! ( I have and it is full of outright lies).
Two of the reasons the US stayed with a manual loader were speed: a person can load faster than machine in this case, as little as 3 seconds versus an inflexible 8+, and it allowed a more lethal shell - an autoloader requires a separate projectile and charge, which limits kinetic energy penetrator length.
The reactive armor is of only minimal utility against penetrators; its main use is against low speed shaped charges, such as antitank missiles.

Toastrider said...

Er, didn't WE go through this with the XM1, trying to develop a gun and missile system? And didn't we decide 'screw this, we'll just put a huge honking gun on it and give it IR and laser targeting'?

Anonymous said...

"70 percent of their tank corps?"

For reals?

Don't the Russians have something like fifty thousand "modern" (for some values of the word) tanks in mothballs right now? The country whose sole exports are natural gas and thick-accented "computer security experts," and which has a smaller GDP than Italy, is going to pull thirty-five thousand of these things out of... where, exactly?

The USSR had 200+ armored and mechanized infantry divisions ready to mount up and go, if you count all their reserve units as of around 1990, with a total of something like 35,000 tanks--just in the TO&E of active duty and reserve units, not counting tens of thousands in storage to be used as replacements in the event of a large-scale conventional war with NATO or China, and which they spent decades handing out like candy on Halloween to every Third World cannibal king and bandit chief they thought might possibly be on their side.

Only, see--of these thirty-five thousand tanks that were, on paper, fueled up and armed and ready to point at the Rhine when the word came down, as of 1990 or so, when the USSR still existed and theoretically was still running as a balls-to-the-wall, all-out, 24/7 war economy... thirty thousand of these 35,000 "modern" tanks were T54s, T55s, and T62s--ancient designs even by the standards of the time. Building enough T64s just for all the tank divisions in GSFG is a big part of what broke them. They spent the 80s running their economy over a cliff trying to build five thousand T80s, just enough that GSFG and most of the Russian units in the Western TVD could have a few of their nicest, shiniest, most expensive new tank, as of 25 years ago.

It turned out that maintaining an arsenal of fifty thousand nuclear weapons AND propping up an assortment of Third World dictators AND trying to build a blue-water navy AND trying to replace at least the Eastern European front-line air units with jet fighters more modern than MiG21s and 23s was more than the USSR's economy could really support, even with a hundred thousand Cuban and East German Janissaries deployed all over Africa to do most of the dying at the sharp end.

How many T80s have they built in thirty years? Two thousand? Fewer? Including export sales?

How many T90s have they built in twenty years? Are there even a hundred in existence?

How many thousand of these expensive new tanks is the economic Chernobyl that used to be the USSR going to make, again?

Do these tanks even exist, or were the vehicles in the parade cardboard mockups with olive drab paint on them and a jeep underneath putt-putting along, and a spec-sheet some salesman from now-privatized, former People's Glorious Tractor Factory #47 made up on the spot when he saw a Western news crew?

Anonymous said...

I remember back in my youth doing a report on the Soviet economy. You surely remember them being called a "third world country with first world ICBM's. It sees like I remember finding numbers on how much of their "current" tank production was kept up by pirating parts from mothballed "previous" production to keep their numbers up. Hulls they had. Guns they had. Tracks they had. But radios, wiring harnesses, fuel pumps, periscopes, not so much.

"But Comrade Commissar, those tanks were fully operational last month. Perhaps reactionary forces committed an act of sabotage!"

Anonymous said...

Looks like Putin intends to make the same mistake the USSR did, run the whole operation into the ground trying to pretend they're a superpower....