Russia deploys next-generation tanks in Syria

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Russia has field-tested its next-generation main battle tank, the T-14 Armata, in Syria, Minister of Trade and Indsutry Denis Manturov said on the country’s main state-owned Russia 1 television channel on Sunday.

The T-14, features a series of innovative elements, such as an unmanned turret, an armored crew compartment and a 125mm smoothbore cannon, the latter considered to be superior to the nearest equivalent tank, the German Leopard 2, which is also its main competitor on the international market.

First showcased at a May 1 parade in 2015, the Armata has been considered to be too expensive by the Russian army. It costs 250 million rubles (€3.1 million), just over half of the Leopard 2 (€5.71 million).

Russia is hoping the Armata will be successful in exports, mainly courting the markets of India, China and Southeast Asia.

Russian deputy minister for military industry Yury Borisov said previously that the country’s armed forces have so far tested 600 new weapons system types and other equipment in Syria.

“Practically every new type, every novelty has been deployed in Syria, to give us a chance to asses their real capabilities, and how they behave,” Borisov said.

Alexander Potapov, CEO of Uravagonzavod, the Armata tank’s developer and manufacturer, said in February that the first batches of Armata tanks will be delivered for “field tests” to the Russian army.

The Armata has already prompted German Rheinmetall AG to develop a new 130mm main cannon and Germany and France have joined forces to develop an unspecified “Main Ground Combat System” to compete with the technological advances of the Armata and replace both the Leclerc and Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

Title image: T-14 Armata main battle tanks at a 2016 parade in Moscow.

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