First sighting of Russia’s new T-14 Main Battle Tank
Several bloggers have posted this photo taken as the brand-new T-14s (likely pre-production vehicles since the T-14 has not yet been accepted for production) were being moved in preparation for the May 9 Victory Parade that will feature several new major weapon systems, including the Kurganets infantry fighting vehicle which is believed to look something like this.
But for now, back to the T-14. What does the photo reveal?
For starters, seven road wheels, as opposed to six on T-64, T-72, T-80, and T-90. This suggests full-up weight somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 tons or higher, and a longer hull than in the case of the earlier tanks.
Secondly, the gun does not seem to have a bore evacuator, the thick section visible on the barrel of most modern tanks. The bore evacuator is supposed to prevent the powder gases from entering the turret once the breech is opened for reloading, and its absence does point in the direction of an unmanned turret. Unless the turret has been “modified” in order to prevent the canvas that is covering it from revealing too much about the new vehicle, the turret seems relatively elongated and narrow.
The layout of the vehicle is conventional, with the powerpack in the rear of the hull.
The layout of the baseline T-14 MBT has been the subject of considerable speculation, and here are two possible variants crafted by a Russian blogger Youroker:
The photograph seems more consistent with the top vehicle (seven road wheels, elongated turret housing ammunition and autoloader in the bustle), though with the addition of a weapons station at the top of the turret.
For comparison, here is a photo of the Object 195 which is believed to be a T-14 prototype.