For years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian army was only upgrading the existing tanks in its fleet. It was simply impossible to put any of the new concepts into serial production due to lack of funds and that turned out to be quite a positive thing. Namely, the Black Eagle concept based on the T-80 was cancelled and abandoned once the T-80 incredibly underperformed in Chechnya. Project called T-95 was too ambitious and thus too expensive so it was abandoned as well. Still, the Russian army does have a need for a new main battle tanks and finally the Armata concept was born in the Uralvagonzavod.
Development and Characteristics of Armata
It was announced that the new Armata tank concept will cover much more than just a new MBT. Namely, it is predicted that the same chassis will be used for constructing the heavy APC, an IFV, engineer tank and armored recovery vehicle. It will have some of the solutions from the failed T-95 concept implemented but it will be less ambitious so fewer problems are to be expected with it.
The testing phase was announced for the late 2013, as the prototypes were ready, but the entire project is pretty much covered with a veil of secrets. Like in the Soviet era, the Russian army started showing the prototypes once they are already in production so the images of the Armata battle tanks are quite rare, except for the scaled models.
It is certain that it will have a new 125 mm gun as a primary weapon and that 2A42 30 mm auto cannons will be the secondary option in IFV variant. Also, the armor seen on the model resembles on the new generation ERA Kaktus that should be immune to all shells from any modern Main Battle Tanks. Finally it will have a new autoloader as well as the ammunition compartment separated from the crew. The entire turret is remotely controlled as the Russian constructors decided to finally solve the problem of high casualties due to hits in the ammo. Some experts think that it will lead to a fully robotized tank in the near future but that is yet to be seen.
The electronics and targeting systems will be the available as many of the components have their origin in T-50 5th generation fighter plane. The exact configuration is, of course, still confidential but in the 2015 the first batch should be delivered to the army so by then most details will be revealed. Some 2300 units of Armata MBT should reach the army by the 2020, but as the Russian military budget is increasing, it would be no wonder if even greater numbers are built.