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    T-15 infantry combat vehicle and T-14 tank with the Armata Universal Combat Platform

    Not by T-14 Alone: New Machine Due to Join Russia's Armata Family

    © Photo: Russian Defense Ministry
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    In addition to Russia's 21st century T-14 battle tank and heavy infantry fighting vehicle T-15, the so-called Terminator-3 is due to join the Armata family. Dave Majumdar of the National Interest discloses why NATO should "fear" the new mysterious fighting vehicle.

    The Russian Armata T-14 battle tank boasts the 21st century cutting-edge features that make it second to no one; however, the Armata designers intend to launch the production of a new fighting vehicle, dubbed "the Terminator" on the basis of the country's most advanced tank platform.

    Dave Majumdar, the Defense Editor of The National Interest, calls attention to the fact that the Terminator-3 is the next iteration of the Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov (BMPT) — "tank support fighting vehicle" — series based on the T-72 battle tank chassis.

    And still, the Terminator is one of a kind: there is no direct analogue to the BMPT in the US Army and NATO military forces.

    "Perhaps the nearest equivalent is the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) variant of the long-serving Bradley — but it's a poor comparison at best. A potentially closer comparison might be the Israeli Namer — which is based on a Merkava 4 tank chassis — but the Russian machines are not designed to carry troops. Perhaps the best historical equivalent in terms of roles and missions might be the World War Two-era German Brummbär or Sturmtiger assault guns," Majumdar elaborates.

    The heavily armed machine is designed to support tanks in combat operations launched against other armored vehicles or dismounted infantry in difficult terrain.

    "The idea was to build a vehicle with the protection of a main battle tank, but which had the ability to engage enemy armor, bunkers and infantry in hiding in elevated positions," the expert explains, stressing that the Terminator's armor protection is traditionally equivalent or even better than that of a main battle tank.

    The tank support fighting vehicle is supposed to fight alongside with main battle tanks in the same unit in combat. However, the ratio of battle tanks and BMPTs depends on combat conditions: on the open battlefield a pair of tanks would be accompanied by one Terminator; in constrained environments, such as a city or rocky terrain, two Terminators would support a main battle tank.

    Armata T-14 tanks on Red Square, Moscow during the final practice of the military parade marking the 71st anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, May 2016.
    © Sputnik / Grigoriy Sisoev
    Armata T-14 tanks on Red Square, Moscow during the final practice of the military parade marking the 71st anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, May 2016.

    While the characteristics of the new Terminator-3 are shrouded in secrecy it is known that its predecessor, the Terminator-2, was equipped with four laser-guided Ataka-T anti-tank missiles, two 30mm 2A42 automatic cannons and a PKTM coaxial 7.62mm machine gun.

    Majumdar suggests that the Terminator-3 will most likely "inherit" its chassis, sensors, passive armor, reactive armor and active protection system from the Armata T-14 main battle tank.

    Furthermore, it is expected that the new vehicles' Koalitsiya-SV artillery system will be significantly modernized.

    "However, there are few concrete details available thus far. Nonetheless, it's safe to assume it will be a formidable adversary," the expert stresses.

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    Tags:
    Terminator, tank, defense, Koalitsiya-SV, Armata Universal Combat Platform, T-15 heavy infantry combat vehicle, Armata T-14 tank, NATO, Russian Armed Forces, United States, Russia
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