Russia might be Developing a Nuclear Tank Round for New Version of the T-14 Armata
Russia might have begun work on developing a 152 mm nuclear tank shell to be fired from a future version of the T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT), according to some U.S. weapons experts.
This "nuclear tank" and its new 152 mm main gun are one of the end products on Russian advances in low-fission, high-fusion, sub-kiloton tactical nuclear technology. The Russians are expending significant resources to miniaturize nuclear warheads that arm their ballistic missiles and develop sub-kiloton low-yield warheads.
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The development of a practical 152 mm sub-kiloton low-yield round will enable this munition to be used in the next generation Armata and other gun platforms such as the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV, a 152 mm self-propelled gun based on the Armata chassis.
The Russians have announced the next iteration of the T-14 will be armed with 152 mm gun-missile launcher. The new nuclear tank round might also overcome the hesitation of top Russian generals to field a 152 mm gun they consider a liability on the battlefield due to its heavy weight; its cumbersome and large ammunition and its low rate of fire.
The 125 mm smoothbore gun-launcher that arms the first version of the Armata is the 2A82-1M. This weapon can also fire anti-tank guided missiles.
The 2A83 smoothbore 152 mm gun-missile launcher is being considered for the next Armata iteration -- if this makes it to the factory floor and if the battered Russian economy can afford it.
On the plus side, a 152 mm gun can pierce over one meter of armor. It can send an armor piercing shell out to 5,100 meters and develop a muzzle energy of 25 megajoules.
The downside to this gun is its weight of 5,000 kg compared to the 2,700 kg for the 125 mm gun. The barrel life of the 152 mm gun comes to only 280 shots as against the 900 shots for the 125 mm gun.