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Newly released video of Russia’s T-14 Armata Tank is incredible

Russian Defence Ministry publishes video showing new T-14 Armata tank in action alongside older T-72 tanks.

Alexander Mercouris

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On 10th September 2016, the 70th anniversary of Tankers’ Day – the day upon which the Russian military commemorates its tank forces – the Russian Defence Ministry released a video showing various Russian tanks and armoured fighting vehicles on exercise.

Most of the tanks shown in the video are variants of the T-72, which is the mainstay of the Russian tank force.  However at 0.48 the futuristic new T-14 Armata tank puts in an appearance and is shown in action in more detail than it has ever been shown before.

The Russian army took delivery of 20 T-14 Armata tanks this year.  These tanks are not in front line service.  They are being used in trials to test out the tank and to sort out any problems.

Supposedly the trials have gone well and there are reports that the Russian military has now ordered a first batch of 100 T-14 Armata tanks for next year.  The T-14 Armata is however unlikely to appear in large numbers before 2019 at the earliest.

The major technical advance the Russians have achieved with the T-14 Armata is that it carries its gun in a fully automated unmanned turret.

The Russians have been considering developing tanks with automated unmanned turrets since the 1970s.  What prevented realisation of the concept before was the lack of robust and reliable visual aids to make up for the loss of observation for the tank crew provided by placing the tank commander and gunner in the turret.  The rapid developments in electronics since the 1970s have however finally made the concept possible, enabling the Russians to develop a tank around the concept.

The chief advantage of automating the turret is that it has been possible to move equipment from inside the tank body into the turret, freeing up internal spaces within the tank body, making it easier to organise and rationalise.

The result is that two completely separate internal spaces have been created inside the tank’s body, one in the forward section and one in the rear section, which can be rearranged to suit different vehicles using the same basic tank body.

This has made it possible to create a whole family of vehicles on the basis of the same tank body.  Thus in the T-14 tank version the space in the forward section is used to house an armoured capsule carrying the tank’s 3 man crew, whilst the space in the rear section is used to house the tank’s engine.  In other vehicles the order is reversed, with the engine moved forward from the rear section to the forward section, freeing the rear section for other uses.

Apart from the T-14 Armata tank the Russians are known to be using the same basic tank body to create an infantry fighting vehicle (designated the T-15), an armoured personnel carrier, various engineering vehicles, and various self-propelled artillery vehicles.

The picture below, whilst not coming from an official Russian source, may give some idea of the appearance of some these vehicles.

armata-family-line1

Alongside the T-14 Armata tank and the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle, the picture shows speculative images of a rocket launcher vehicle, a 152 mm self propelled artillery vehicle which is known to exist under the designation ‘Koalitsiya’, and a possible tank destroyer vehicle using an outsized 152 mm tank gun, which is known to have been developed (the standard gun carried by the T-14 Armata tank has a calibre of 125 mm).

Here is a photograph of the T-14 Armata tank with the armoured crew compartment in the forward section of the vehicle and the engine in the rear section.

t14-armata

Here by comparison is a photograph of the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle, which is armed with a 30 mm cannon and Kornet anti tank missiles in the turret, and which has the engine moved forward to the forward section, freeing the vehicle centre body and rear section to carry an infantry squad, which can exit the vehicle through doors in the vehicle’s rear.

t15

The fact the Russians are able to use a single tank body to develop a whole family of vehicles should simplify manufacturing, ease the logistics chain by providing different vehicles with interchangeable parts, and reduce cost.

In addition automating the turret in the tank version comes with other benefits.  The ability to bring the entire tank crew together in one place inside a heavily armoured capsule in the forward section has made it possible to improve greatly the level of protection afforded to the tank crew as compared with other tanks.  It also makes it easier for the crew to communicate with each other and to work together as a team.

The T-14 Armata tank also comes with a host of other modern features, not all of which have been disclosed and many of which have never been seen in tanks before.  For example it is the first tank designed from the outset to carry its own radar as part of its standard equipment.

This is a modern Active Electronically Scanned (“AESA”) radar of the sort now used by advanced fighter aircraft. Many of the features of the T-14 Armata tank in fact seem to derive ultimately from the military aircraft industry, with the T-14 Armata tank representing a convergence of modern tank and military aircraft technologies.

As with modern military aircraft remotely controlled or drone versions of the T-14 Armata are now being considered, and the already highly automated nature of the design makes that in theory possible.  However the very heavy maintenance requirements of tracked land vehicles means that any drone version of the T-14 Armata will have only limited endurance by comparison with aircraft drones.

The Russians have always been at the forefront of tank and armoured vehicle design.  Right at the start of the video there is an overhead shot which briefly shows T-34s, the iconic Russian tank of the Second World War, which with its sloping armour, diesel engine, wide tracks and powerful gun, represented in its day as much of a technical breakthrough as the T-14 Armata does today.

The Russians followed up the T-34 by introducing in the 1960s smooth bore guns, automatic loaders, composite armour (in the T64) and the first truly effective infantry fighting vehicle (the BMP1), created to enable the infantry to keep up with the tanks and go with them into battle.

In the 1970s the Russians introduced reactive armour and gas turbine engines, the latter in the T80 apparently before the Americans, though it proved an innovation that was not entirely successful.

A long period of stagnation in tank development followed, caused by the crisis which overwhelmed the country in the late 1980s and in the 1990s.

With the T14 Armata tank the Russians are however once more back at the forefront of modern tank design.

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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