The Archive Awareness blog has translated a Russian language article on the T-14 Armata tank that originally appeared on the World of Tanks History page. While numerous articles have appeared on the T-14 recently, this one seems to have a good bit more detail than most we have seen.
30 years ago, engineers from Nizhniy Tagil created a foundation for a new tank with Object 187 and Object 187A. The innovative but unfortunate Object 195 was then built in metal. What was the fruit of the labours of Ural engineers?
On the way to a breakthrough
Successful decisions in the 1960s allowed Soviet engineers to achieve a tank with a very tight layout. The tanks were compact, not very heavy, and had excellent protection. On the other hand, if the enemy shell did punch through the armour, it was nearly guaranteed that it would destroy components or kill the crew. The ammunition rack in the fighting compartment was especially worrying.
In the end of the 1980s, all major Soviet tank factories were working on new tanks. Engineers aimed to boost the firepower (including by means of increasing the gun caliber), increase protection, and automate the vehicles. Additionally, a new layout was necessary, as the classic layout was no longer sufficient for survivability on the battlefield.
Soviet engineers had a difficult task. They needed to develop an innovative solution to protect the crew and fighting compartment, separating them from the ammunition rack. Kharkov, Nizhniy Tagil, and Leningrad were working on this task. The Nizhniy Tagil project from Uralvagonzavod, Object 187A, was never built in metal, but was the basis of the experimental “Perfection-88” program. In 2000, the Object 195 vehicle was created based on that research, a predecessor for the T-14 tank built on the heavy universal tracked Armata platform.