Armata tank purportedly filmed

International Business Times is reporting that the new Russian tank Armata has purportedly shown up in a video released on Monday.  According to the article, the video was uploaded to YouTube by a user named Alexander Smirnov, who captured the video at an undisclosed location using a handheld video camera from the drivers seat of a vehicle. The actual type of tank in the video has yet to be verified.  The article notes that Oleg Siyenko, general director of Uralvagonzavod, which developed the Armata system, told ITAR-TASS that “a whole family of armored vehicles based on the Armata platform” would be displayed at this year’s Victory Day parade. Still photos of vehicles purported to be Armara tanks are available here.

Moscow Times Editorial on Putin and UralVagonZavod tank factory

5565-08-pu_fireThe Moscow Times has published an editorial piece pointing out political connections between Russian President Putin and the UralVagonZavod tank factory.  In particular, it claims that tank production in Russia has been based more on Putin’s desire to secure his political base than on the actual defense needs of Russia.  Interestingly, the article also makes some claims regarding Russia’s highly touted new Armata tank, stating that the vehicle will not be produced in significant quantities until 2018.  The editorial states that “In an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov lamented: “We miscalculated on the Armata … The money allocated for that project turned out to be too little to produce the necessary quantity.”  The piece further states that “UralVagonZavod specialized machinery director Vyacheslav Khalitov has announced that the factory will produce only two dozen or so new tanks. They will make an appearance in the Victory Day parade in Moscow on May 9 and then return to the factory to complete production by year’s end.”  The full article can be read here.

Russia’s Armata too expensive?

armata_large_1_largeThe Motley Fool financial news has published another article on the Russian Armata tank.  This article asks the question of whether or not the new Armata tank is something that Russia can currently afford to purchase.  According to the article, there has been disagreements over the cost of the vehicle between Russia’s Ministry of Defense (MinOboron) and UralVagonZavod (UVZ), the military contractor responsible for building Armata.  Russia has invested 15 billion rubles ($239 million) in developing the Armata tank, and budgeted 39 billion ($622 million) more. However, MinOboron is demanding UVZ both complete its design and lower its price. According to UVZ, mass production is key to reducing the unit price of the Armata. The tank is expected to be complete and ready for mass production this year.

Armata tank a drone?

armata_large_1_largeToday the Motley Fool is running an article pointing out that the upcoming Russian Armata tank may have the potential to be a “optionally piloted” vehicle, aka, a robot tank.

“Perhaps the most surprising revelation about Russia’s Armata tank, though, is that it’s evolving into an “optionally piloted” design. Initial versions of the tank will feature remotely operated loading and firing of the tank’s 125 mm cannon from an internal, separate crew compartment. Military experts, however, believe this is only a first step toward remotely operating the entire tank as a robot.

This would permit the Armata tank to be deployed as the spearhead of an armored offensive, breaching enemy defenses without risking the lives of Russian soldiers. Subsequent tank waves crewed by three humans each — a driver, gunner, and tank commander — could then follow the robotic shock troops.”

Of course, being a financial paper the Motley Fool article primarily focuses not on the military (or moral) implications of the idea of robot controlled tanks, but rather on how investors can personally profit from such a development.