NIZHNY TAGIL, September 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and a select group of senior officials got a sneak peek at a secret prototype of the country’s new-generation battle tank in a closed viewing at an arms show in the Urals region on Thursday.
The new tank, dubbed Armata, is expected to join the military in 2015 and become the core of Russia’s army. The Defense Ministry has said that the Russian army will get 2,300 Armatas by 2020.
Although the new tank remains top secret, its manufacturer Uralvagonzavod has said that its design incorporates elements seen in other projects, including Object 195 and Black Eagle.
It will also reportedly feature a remotely controlled gun and fully automated loading, as well as a separate crew compartment made from composite materials and protected by multilayered armor.
Russian experts believe that the appearance of the remotely controlled gun would eventually lead to the development of a fully robotic tank which could be deployed to spearhead an offensive.
The Armata is designed as a modular universal combat platform that could be used as the basis for a variety of combat vehicles, including fire support, mine clearing, heavy flame throwing, and bridge laying vehicles, local media reported citing defense ministry officials.
Igor Korotchenko, a Russian military expert associated with the Defense Ministry, said this week that over the period 2009-2012, Russia had 52.7 percent of the global market for new main battle tanks, calculated by the units exported (806) or 31 percent if calculated by value ($2.58 billion).
Korotchenko, who heads the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Global Arms Trade, forecasted that global tank exports could reach 1,552 units over the next three years, with an estimated value of $8.98 billion. However he also said that Russia’s expected share of this market could shrink, by comparison with the preceding 3-year period, to 48.8 percent in unit terms.
Updated with modified lead