T-15 Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicle
The T-15 is the middle brother of the new armored vehicles trio, which is nonetheless almost 10 tons heavier than the most modern armored vehicle currently in service with the Russian Army – the BMP-3. The T-15 has been seen in three distinct variants. What may be regarded as the basic version was first seen in March 2015. It was then paraded in April 2015 with large dorsal armor sponsons protecting against RPG side attack. It was subsequently seen without the sponsons, but with an extensive forward flotation installation to facilitate amphibious or river crossing operations.
In any event, the T-15 is absolutely huge. The precise dimensions haven't been officially released but, going by the model, the length would be close to 10 meters, with a large, wedge shapes armor package on the front and sides. Future crews of this fighting machine can count on the powerful weapons and advanced active and passive defense systems. This machine should protect the lives of the crew and assault troops significantly better than the BMP, which has been labeled by the military as the “fraternal infantry grave” (from the first letters of the Russian abbreviation BMP – bratskaya mogila pekhoty).
The T-15 Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicle, with seven road wheels, is distinct from a similar related vehicle variously associated with nomenclature such as Kurganets-25 / Object 149 / Izdelie 695, which only has six road wheels. In the fall of 2015, Albert Bakov – the first vice-president of Traktornyye Zavody Concern, which is manufacturing the Kurganets platform – said that the completion of research and development (R&D) schedules on the Kurganets-25 middle combat platform had been shifted by one year, and now state testing would begin only in 2017.
Like the T-14 Armata tank, and other advanced Russian armored vehicles, the new T-15 heavy infantry combat vehicle was designed to deal with a whole array of combat mission. As far as armaments are concerned, the T-15 features the KBP Instrument Design Bureau Epoch Almaty Remote Control Turret with its 2A42 30mm auto cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial PK machine gun and a bank of two Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missiles (ATGWs) on either side.
Also like the T-14, the T-15 is based on the Armata chassis, but unlike the T-14, it has its engine in the front. The T-15 has a number of advanced features, and like the T-14, it is protected by reactive armor and the Afghanit active protection complex.
The T-15 APC naturally has a compartment for infantry (quantity unknown), located behind the crew cell. T-15 has the same armor as Armata MBT, made of a “cake layer” of newly developed armor steels, ceramic and composite materials. This enables T-15 to be deployed on a battlefield together with Armata tanks, not behind them, thus making it possible to deliver infantry landing parties right in the middle of the fight. Soviet and older Russian APCs, like BTR-80, had light armor and were supposed to keep a secure distance from the firing line.
This system is equipped with Doppler radar to detect incoming projectiles, including rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles. Once detected, the active defense system launches an interceptor rocket that destroys the incoming projectile. Importantly, the T-15's armor is made of a newly developed armor made from steel, ceramic and composite materials. This enables the T-15 to be deployed on a battlefield alongside Armata tanks, not behind them, thus making it possible to deliver infantry landing units right in the middle of the fight. In contrast, Soviet and older Russian-made armed personal carriers had light armor and were supposed to keep a secure distance from the firing line.
The new Russian T-15 heavy infantry combat vehicle, based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform, is destined to play a decisive role in modern warfare, according to the Russian television network Zvezda. Created by the Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation, the T-15 is expected to replace the BMP-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle and the MT-LB multi-purpose fully amphibious armored vehicle based platforms of the Russian Ground Forces.
A first video of Russia’s brand-new T-15 heavy infantry combat vehicle based on the platform of the Armata main battle tank emerged on the web 28 March 2015. Like its MBT big brother, the carrier appears to have unmanned turret and innovative configuration layout. But a subsequent photograph released on 22 April revealed a rather different configuration.
The T-15 vehicle (Object 149) was designed by Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation in Russia’s Urals region and the video has been made in Nizhny Tagil, the city where the Armata family vehicles are being produced. The crew of both Armata MBT and APC consists of only two operators and is located in the middle of the vehicles, whereas the powerplant is to positioned in front of them. The crew cell ensures that operators remain safe even if the vehicle’s major armor is pierced.
Uralvagonzavod presented Armata family vehicles to Russia’s chief decision makers in September 2013 and by February 2015 first several dozens of various vehicles have been delivered to troops for new equipment practicing.
“Armata is an absolutely new, classified development of Russian engineers,” Russia’s deputy PM in charge of the defense industry, Dmitry Rogozin, has said. He not only saw the vehicles themselves, but also was inside an Armata. “Armata is a true breakthrough in tank construction. No European country or the US has anything similar. This is a combat vehicle of the 21st century,” Rogozin said.
The May 9 Victory parade in Moscow featured Russia's newest most advanced military hardware, among them 12 T-14 Armata main battle tanks, 12 T-15 heavy APCs, families of Kurganets-25 light tracked armored vehicles and Bumerang light wheeled armored vehicles, Coalition-SV self-propelled artillery systems, Taifun-U armored cars and others military hardware.
At the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2018, which opened on August 21, 2018 in the Patriot military park in Kubinka, among other things, Uralvagonzavod Scientific and Production Corporation JSC demonstrates a new version of the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle ("Object 149") on the Armata advanced heavy tracked platform. The new version of the BMP T-15 is equipped with a 57-mm automatic cannon, an uninhabited combat module developed by the Burevestnik Research and Development Institute (part of Uralvagonzavod) module equipped launchers ATGM 9M120 "Attack".
Concern Tekhmash, together with Rostec, are working on the possibility of replacing 30-mm caliber guns with 57-mm caliber in Russian armored vehicles, the issue is also being considered by the Russian Defense Ministry. About this the deputy general director of the concern "Techmash" Alexander Kochkin told TASS 21 May 2019. “Together with the state corporation Rostec, we are conducting an assessment, and the customer in the person of the Ministry of Defense is also carrying out relevant work,” Kochkin said, answering a question about the possibility of switching to a 57-mm caliber.
Now the main caliber of weapons systems of light and medium armored vehicles is the caliber of 30 mm. The transfer of the entire fleet of armored vehicles to a new caliber rests on financial possibilities. “The change of caliber will require enormous costs for the modernization of existing weapons and military equipment,” Kochkin explained, so for the time being, Rostec enterprises are working in this direction “on their own initiative.”
At the Army 2018 forum in Kubinka near Moscow, several samples of military equipment were displayed at once in a new caliber. In particular, were presented "Derivation-Air Defense" on the chassis of the BMP-3 and the promising heavy BMP T-15 on the platform "Armata", armed with a combat module "Dagger" with a 57-mm gun and anti-tank guided missiles.
Earlier, at the exhibition MILEX 2019, the general director of Uralvagonzavod (UVZ, a member of Rostec), Alexander Potapov, said that the company intends to work out various options for using 57-mm guns in the interests of the air force, as well as ground forces and fleet. The Petrel Research Institute, part of the UVZ, is developing the Derivation-Air Defense and the AU-220M Baikal 57-mm combat module.
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