Russia’s Armata tank is hailed as revolutionary in a leaked internal paper from British military intelligence, in which doubts are expressed about whether the UK has what it takes to counter the Kremlin’s newest armor.
The paper, which was put together after an Armata prototype was revealed to the world at the Victory Parade in Moscow on May 9, 2015, was obtained by the Sunday Telegraph.
“Without hyperbole, Armata represents the most revolutionary step change in tank design in the last half century,” a senior British Army intelligence officer wrote in the five-page intelligence report, according to the newspaper.
Armata is faster, lighter, and has a lower profile than modern Western tanks, while boasting a breakthrough turret design that gives its crew much better protection while under fire, the document stressed.
“For the first time, a fully automated, digitized, unmanned turret has been incorporated into a main battle tank. And for the first time, a tank crew is embedded within an armored capsule in the hull front,” it said.
UK intelligence suggested that the tank will be equipped with the same state-of-the-art radar system currently employed on Russian fighter jets, as well as new composite armor.Armada also has a “reported higher muzzle velocity” gun, with the possibility of an upgraded missile system, the paper added.
“As a complete package, Armata certainly deserves its billing as the most revolutionary tank in a generation,” the author of the internal report wrote, adding that, “unsurprisingly, the tank has caused a sensation.”
The document reported that Moscow is bringing “six additional armored vehicles to the stable,” including heavy infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled artillery systems.
It also expresses concern over the Russian military’s relatively large number of tanks, with the country planning to produce 120 Armatas annually from 2018.Russia already has 2,500 tanks in service, with a reserve of 12,500, which is “35 times the size of the fleet in the British Army,” the paper said.
“With such numbers, decisive effect is credibly achievable and losses are less important,” it explained.
With Britain having only 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks dating from 1998, the author of the report wondered: “Are we on the cusp of a new technological arms race? Has an understandable focus on defeating the single threat of IEDs distracted Western military vehicle designers?”
Russian Army units began receiving tanks from the pilot batch of 100 Armatas in September, with the military estimating it will require 2,300 in all.
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