For countries like India and China, it is still economically rational and sensible to continue to turn to Russia for defence equipment and weapons rather than attempt to develop it on their own from scratch, it facilitates them to bypass the arduous tasks of designing and developing such complex platforms which in the long run saves them significant amount of time and effort, in addition there are also considerable difficulties in finding appropriate resources to develop such systems.
Another channel which is constantly explored is technology transfer or by outright reverse engineering. TOT can be beneficial to countries with sound industrial and technological base and overtime the advanced technologies can be eventually absorbed.
On the other hand, the Chinese have proven to be masters of cloning, and they have managed to reverse-engineer several weapons of Russian and other origins (Read a related and informative article here), including entire Jet fighters, however India has willfully refused to attempt such an exercise, and this has proven very costly for India.
What China has managed to achieve is remarkable in the past 2 decades, they have developed weapons systems of various diversity across the spectrum of its armed forces. India still depends on imports for all its major weapons.
A notable point is that the Indian Army has not been very keen to induct the Arjun MBT as they contend that it does not comply to their specifications. Taking this factor into consideration it would be prudent for India to contemplate and plan to procure the T-14 Armata super tank from Russia in the future.
Over the past several decades Russia has developed many world-class tanks, their design philosophy is to keep it simple and functional, the success stories of Soviet tanks destroying highly advanced Nazi & Western tanks during WW II is widely acknowledged. Their tanks did not have any high tech gimmickry but served the purpose in the destruction of its enemies.
India, should be the likely first foreign client for the Armata – which will supersede the T-90, of which it operates more than 900 – with China, rest of Asia and North Africa some of the other potential destinations. Uralvagonzavod is expected to supply over 2,300 of the new tanks to the Russian military by 2020. The Armata tanks will replace the older T-72 and T-90 tanks. While Russia has reportedly stopped buying the T-90 to develop the T-14, this next-generation tank is believed to still be in testing and not yet operational.
Here are 10 good reasons why India should opt for the formidable T-14 Armata:
1. Armata is not the name of a tank, but an armored platform, onto which modules will be fitted to create more than a dozen vehicles. Besides the T-14 battle tank, it will be the chassis for a personnel carrier, self-propelled artillery and an air defense system.
2. The T-14 is the first Russian tank designed entirely in the post-Soviet era, and within a short spon of only six years. The design and production of certain crucial elements – such as the armor, and the turrets – had to be done “from scratch.”
3. Armata T-14 features a fully automated and unmanned turret – perhaps the most revolutionary technological decision taken by its designers. In theory, this should allow better protection for the crew, now located in the hull, though the innovation could come at the expense of situational awareness.
4. In fact, due to its new-generation turret, and a field of vision which is created by HD cameras and sensors mounted all around, Armata is well on the way to becoming the first unmanned battle tank, according to sources in the Russian defense ministry, with only limited modifications necessary to turn it into a ground-drone.
5. One of the future modifications of the Armata tank is to be fitted with the long-awaited massive 152 mm gun, which will be able to “burn through a meter of steel,” according to Russia’s top defense experts.
6. The ambitious Afganit Active Protection System uses a radar to detect incoming projectiles, and automatically intercept them. In addition to knocking out ATGMs, the T-14's Afghanit APS is rumored to have successfully stopped high-speed depleted uranium-cored kinetic-energy penetration tank rounds, a capability of concern to western Army leaders. The Russians are also rumored to be developing protective elements for the APS against missiles that attack from above, such as U.S. Javelin or Hellfire anti-tank missiles
7. Lighter than most Western tanks, the T-14 retains one of the trademark qualities of Russian armored vehicles – a higher top speed. The tank is able to move at up to 90 km/h, more than 20 km/h faster than the US mainstay Abrams M1A2.
8. Though it is not yet in mass production, the Armata T-14’s price was previously estimated at about 400 million rubles – $8 million at current exchange rates. While this puts it in the upper price range for battle tanks, it remains cheaper than the French AMX Leclerc and US main battle tank M1A2 Abrams, and below the price of other new-generation vehicles, such as S.Korea’s K2 Black Panther and Japan’s Type 10. Chinese tanks are relatively cheaper but they anyway rip-offs of old Russian designs.
9. The Russian military is currently operating 20 prototype models of the tank, but will soon start receiving more than a 500 a year, with the eventual order expected to top out at 2,300 – more than two-thirds of its armor capability.
10. The Armata tank's main armament includes a 7.62 mm remote-control machine gun and a 125 mm smooth bore cannon. The tank is operated by a crew of three, housed in an armored capsule at the front.
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