Friday, 10 August 2018

Russia risks to remain without Su-57 and T-14 "Armata"

Translated by google

Expensive passage


Prospects for the newest Russian military equipment, especially the fifth-generation fighter of the Su-57 and the heavy T-14 tank "Armata", many experts seem dubious. At the present time, these machines, with attributes attributed to them, actually exist exclusively on paper, and the few samples that are sometimes shown to the public are far from complete. The situation around the Su-57 and T-14 "Armata", once again demonstrates the likely lack of funds from the state for the latest weapons. In what was going on , was sorting out .

Paper tiger

At the end of July 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov , who oversees the military-industrial complex in  the Russian government , considered the T-14 "Armata" an expensive tank and promised to continue the production of Soviet T-72s.

"Why" flood "with" Armats "or" Boomerangs "all the Armed Forces? We have a tank T-72 is in great demand in the market, it takes everything. Compared with the "Abrams", "Leclercs" and "Leopards" for price, efficiency and quality, it significantly exceeds them, "the official said.

He added that "these models are quite expensive in relation to existing ones," and the funds are used to modernize old equipment, allowing to save budget funds.

"We succeed, having a budget ten times less than NATO countries , due to such effective solutions, when we look at the modernization potential of old models, to solve the tasks set," Borisov said.

The statement of the vice-premier was immediately reacted by Russian and foreign experts, as well as Uralvagonzavod, which developed a new tank. First of all, military expert Alexei Leonkov proposed to simplify the T-14 "Armata", which may contain excessive innovations. To find out what "breakthrough technical solutions" put into the new tank make sense to leave, and which ones can be got rid of, is offered during the experimental-military operation of cars in the Russian army.

The American military expert Joseph Trevithick wrote in the pages of The Drive that  Russia "will continue to squeeze out the maximum possible from its venerable machines of the Cold War era," and in five to seven years it is quite possible to expect statements by Russian officials about some new tank, -14 "Armata".

Director for Corporate Communications "Uralvagonzavod" Dmitry Kalenichenko noted that the media's arguments about the plans for military purchases of T-14 "Armata" are unlikely to reduce the workload of enterprises of the corporation, which produces a significant part of the military equipment of the ground forces.

"Such statements did not affect the work of the shops of Uralvagonzavod in any way, the work is being carried out in accordance with the concluded contracts," the manager said.

The comments of experts and the manufacturer are united by the fact that they talk about almost exclusively the financial side of the issue, not the technological one. The uninhabited tower and the insulated armored capsule for the crew, which are considered to be some of the main features of the newest Russian tank, have gone to the background.

In the current situation it is more profitable to continue to operate the most massive main Soviet tank of the second generation T-72, which is about four times cheaper than the T-14 Armata (80 million rubles against 320 million). In this regard, the Russian military in the coming years will receive only about one hundred modern combat vehicles, in fact, left with technology half a century ago.

Piece "visor"

The prospects of the Su-57 are even worse than those of the T-14 "Armata". If the Russian tank, at least according to the declared characteristics, is ahead of the western and Chinese equipment, then the Russian aircraft because of the factual ignoring of stealth technologies can be considered a fifth-generation fighter only with a big stretch. In addition, the Su-57 has not yet received a serial engine of the second stage. On the other hand, it should be noted that the Su-57 is equipped with modern radio-electronic equipment, in particular, radar and electronic warfare means, which are probably superior to Western and Chinese counterparts by a number of characteristics.

"The plane proved very good, including in  Syria , confirmed its flight performance and combat capabilities. You know that today the Su-35 is considered one of the best aircraft in the world. Therefore, we do not make sense to speed up the work on mass production of the fifth generation aircraft, "Borisov said at the beginning of July 2018, adding that the Su-57 should be viewed as a" peak "that can be" played when the previous generation aircraft fall behind by their characteristics from similar aircraft of the leading countries of the world ".

Probably, such a statement suggests that the vice-premier considers the current characteristics of the Su-35, in comparison with the western and Chinese fighters of the fourth generation, the best. However, what precisely is the uniqueness of the Su-57, Borisov did not say.

Such words of Borisov sounded two months after  India froze its participation in FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) program, which assumes the creation of the first fifth-generation Indian fighter on the basis of the Su-57. The decision of the Russian partners is due to several reasons, the main ones of which are financial considerations, limited access to Russian technologies and incomplete conformity of the developed machine to the fifth generation. Russia also considered a partnership with India to create a fifth generation fighter as the main source of financing for the serial production of the Su-57. As a result, the Russian military will receive only 12 such cars worth about 3.2 billion rubles each (excluding development and maintenance).

"For Russians, the loss of India as a partner can turn into even bigger problems. Without additional funds from the Indians needed to help the Su-57 program, the Kremlin may have to further reduce its plans for the plane, "Trevithick wrote in April 2018. The expert recalls how during the last few years the plans for serial production of the Su-57 were postponed. "At first, Russia hoped to build 150 Su-57 aircraft by 2020, most of which would be the final model. As a result, Moscow reduced this number to the purchase of a dozen aircraft of the original model. By the end of 2017, she still did not get these planes, "Trevithick writes.

In the failures of the Su-57, a number of Russian experts traditionally accuse the Western countries, and not lack of funding and internal problems inherent in Russian development. "The embarrassment of India's disinterest in the FGFA fifth generation fighter project with Russia can be regarded as a manifestation of unfair competition from American air corporations - Lockheed Martin and  Boeing ," says Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine .

Some experts went even further by discovering from the Su-57 the mysterious "know-how" that only professionals, testers and military leaders of the country know about.

"None of the aircraft has ever been able to achieve that at cruising supersonic speeds (1600 kilometers per hour) it was possible to fly in a non-coast mode. Forburning mode is associated with a huge waste of fuel, and the Su-57 can develop cruising speed "at face value." Nobody has achieved this in the world - neither  France , nor  England , nor Rolls-Royce, nor  Pratt & Whitney  - nobody, "test pilot Magomed Tolboyev said in May 2018 .

Statements of this kind further discredit the Russian aircraft, since the world's first fifth-generation fighter, the American F-22 Raptor, flew to 200 kilometers a decade before the appearance of the Su-57 prototype in a non-skipperless supersonic cruise mode.

Again did not work out

As a result, for the last quarter of a century Russia has not been able to create a new tank and fighter, continuing to exploit the Soviet legacy. Along with the economic reasons for this "success", it should be noted the growing technological gap, which leads to the impossibility of not only full-fledged development of new equipment, but also limitations related to the volumes of mass production.

In a situation where the scientific and engineering schools are rapidly degrading, and the planning of complex technological programs for a period of more than several years is virtually unrealistic, the creation of fully operational machines like T-14 Armata and Su-57 turns into a prolonged and expensive sight for taxpayers.


T-14 Armata: Details
Sukhoi Pak Fa T-50 (Su-57): Details
T-72B3M/B4 MBT: Details

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