A new tank has entered the world.
Mother Russia has given birth to the formidable T-14 Armata. It’s a modern-looking tank, much beefier than the Russian army’s old T-72, T-80, T-90 series.
Like many other Russian tanks, the T-14 has a three-man crew with an automatic loader. Unlike all other tanks, that three-man crew can apparently all hunker down in the hull of the vehicle if needed. There are two hatches in the hull, one for the driver, the other presumably for the gunner.
From what I’ve read online, the turret can be controlled remotely from the hull, making the crew safer, especially if the vehicle is parked in a hull-down position on the battlefield.
There is still at least one hatch on the turret, so I assume the crew, or at least the tank commander can operate in the both the turret and hull.
While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, the main gun is said to be 125 mm. Also, there was clearly a remote weapon system on top of the turret carrying a large-caliber machine gun from the initial photos that were posted online Monday night.
The tank, fully uncovered, was seen by the public for the first time Monday when the vehicles drove down Moscow streets toward Red Square. It was a rehearsal for this Saturday’s massive parade, where the Russian army will show off the tanks, along with 200 other pieces of military equipment and more than 16,500 troops.
Military units from China, Serbia and India also will march in the parade, all part of Russia’s 70th anniversary of the defeat over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Pageantry aside, the T-14 is a serious contender when it comes to the world’s best tank. It’s got a bigger gun than the American M1A2, and with the T-14’s ability to operate with a “crewless” turret, the crew is better protected in the Armata.
Now, is a real-life loader in an M1 better and faster than an automatic loader? I would hope so.
Truth be told, though, there is still a lot about the T-14 we don’t know. What type of armor does it have? Is it made to be hard to detect by current night-vision technology? What is the range of its main gun?
The answers will eventually be known.
Perhaps most interesting about the T-14, however, is the remote-controlled turret feature. The obvious next step is a completely remote-controlled tank, with a crew operating the vehicle in the safety of a structure far from the front lines.
That’s the way many of our military aircraft fight battles now, so why not tanks?
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the Fort Hood Herald editor and military editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. He was stationed at Fort Hood and served with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1993 to 1996. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7468.