Some data on Russia’s armor programs appearing in the media prior to Tank Troops’ Day (11 September) didn’t get too much notice.
RIA Novosti interviewed the chief of the MOD’s Main Automotive and Armor Directorate (GABTU), General-Lieutenant Aleksandr Shevchenko on 9 September.
General-Lieutenant Shevchenko noted that the MOD plans to “modernize” new Tigr armored vehicles, and not just by mounting a 30-mm gun. They will, not surprisingly, go by the name Tigr-2. But no other details.
Shevchenko confirmed Uralvagonzavod’s announcement that it has delivered more than 1,000 T-72B3 tanks. He also indicated that the MOD will receive 300 improved T-72B3. The improved T-72B3, he says, will have a better engine and better defensive and targeting systems.
Some number of Russian T-90 tanks nearing the end of their service lives will be modernized under the “Proryv-3” program, according to the GABTU chief. The resulting tank is supposed to be superior to the original T-90.
Regarding the Armata armored vehicle family, Shevchenko reported that the “experimental” lot of T-14 tanks will conclude initial field trials in 2016 and move into state testing. This will be completed in 2017 and followed by formal state acceptance of the T-14.
Shevchenko added that the Armata BMP (T-15) and BREM, or armored recovery vehicle (T-16) also remain in preliminary testing and will finish state testing next year.
Similarly, the Kurganets family — BMP, BTR, and BREM — from Kurganmashzavod as well as the wheeled Bumerang BTR from Arzamasmashzavod are on the same schedule.
Asked about the impact of Russia’s difficult economic situation and “corrections” in the GOZ on these programs, the GABTU chief said:
“Testing of ‘Armata,’ ‘Kurganets’ and ‘Bumerang’ is fully financed, and we will give it priority because they are the base for the future.”
Of course, paying for testing is one thing. Ordering a production run is another. The Russian Army will eventually have to make some choices between these new armored vehicles. It won’t be able to afford all of them.
Shevchenko added that these vehicles are being tested in arctic, mountain, and desert conditions. Other army systems (artillery, air defense, etc.) will be mounted on the same chassis. Robotic armored vehicles are in the works. He said the MOD doesn’t have a requirement for a wheeled tank.