The concept of the Russian “tank of the third millennium” was shown at the Army-2020 forum in the capital region. At the same time, one of the leading NATO members, Great Britain, intends to reduce the number of armored vehicles available to it, and then completely abandon tanks. Who is right in this correspondence dispute, and is there a future for the "armored kulaks" in our age of advanced of technologies?
To begin with, it should be said that the British can hardly be a great authority in this matter. Firstly, tanks are not so necessary to protect the island state. It is not entirely clear who, these days, might even dream of landing amphibious assault forces in Great Britain. Secondly, for potential hostilities on the "eastern front", the armed forces of young NATO members will most likely be involved, and the Germans, French, Americans and British, if anything, mostly stand behind them for moral support. Third, it is simply expensive and ineffective to modernize and maintain the aging fleet of Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, since there is no real work for them and is not expected.
In other words, London is acting in a very practical way, abandoning "armored fists" in favor of shock drones and delegating the functions of "cannon fodder" to the Young Europeans. Also, the British intend to save money by changing the format of their military contribution to the common cause of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Other continental countries simply cannot afford this. Tanks have been and remain the most important offensive and at the same time defensive weapon. They are able to support their infantry in motion with fire, they can serve as a real armored bunker. The United States transferred an armored brigade and an armored brigade group equipped with the famous Abrams to Poland. Despite their venerable age, these tanks will serve the Americans at least until 2030. Russia responded by deploying two tank armies westward. France and Germany intend to jointly develop a new generation tank, which should be the answer to the domestic "Armata". China has created a very decent ZIZ-96B. The Israelis are working on the fifth generation of the Merkava. And for some reason, no one considers tanks to be some kind of anachronism.
Russia got from the USSR a huge fleet of these armored vehicles, of which there are almost 22 thousand. True, the overwhelming majority of them are in storage and require deep modernization. You can actually take into account about 5 thousand tanks. These are machines of the T-90, T-90A, T-90M, T-80 series, which they began to actively modernize, as well as various modifications of the T-72. The most modern T-14 "Armata" is both a pride and a headache for the RF Ministry of Defense. This is a technically very advanced tank that still has no analogues in the world. Its big drawback is its high cost, but this problem can be solved by releasing a large series, which will be exported, which will make the armored vehicle cheaper. It was reported that an export technical passport is being prepared for "Armata", and there are potential foreign customers for the T-14.
But the "Armata" can only be a transitional link to a real "tank of the future". At the ongoing military forum, a very interesting concept was presented, within the framework of which the combat vehicle will have a two-link articulated structure. This will reduce the pressure of the mass on the ground, and the gas turbine engine with a capacity of 3 thousand horsepower will give the tank even greater speed and maneuverability. The crew of three will be in an armored capsule in the first link, the power plant and drones will be located in the second, which will provide the combat vehicle with increased survivability. The uninhabited tower (the legacy of the "Armata") will contain an electrothermochemical cannon with an automatic loader; weapons will also include vertical-launch homing missiles, an active protection complex, a laser blinding installation and an electromagnetic pulse generator.
Of course, while all this is "on paper", and the appropriate technologies have yet to be created, but I am glad that domestic tank builders are already looking into the future.