Russia's new tank, the Armata, is expected to form the backbone of the nation's armed forces for years to come. Its designers say the new machine may evolve into a fully robotic vehicle that could operate autonomously on the battlefield. Here's a look at some of the key features of the new tank:
- Remote-controlled turret: The Armata is groundbreaking in having this weapon mount, as well as an internal capsule for the crew that's isolated from ammunition and fuel, a layout that could significantly increase the chances for crew survival if the tank is hit.
- More room: While previous Russian tanks featured a low silhouette and compact size at the expense of crew comfort, the Armata is significantly bigger and heavier. Designers say they put special emphasis on ergonomics: One says the new tank is as pleasant and easy to drive as a modern SUV.
- Computerized controls: The Armata features a digital control system that directs its movement, tracks targets, and activates the tank's defense systems, freeing the crew from performing routine tasks to allow it to focus on key combat functions. "It's like playing a video game," one of the designers says.
- Superior protection: The Armata uses a new type of armor designers say is significantly more resistant to enemy fire. It's also protected by an improved version of reactive armor and is equipped with a so-called active protection system that, when it spots an enemy projectile, fires a round to destroy it or knock it off its path.
- Super cannon: The current Armata is equipped with a standard-caliber 125mm cannon that can fire both regular shells and rockets. But designers say a much more powerful 152mm cannon could be easily fitted to the Armata in the future.
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