Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Plane

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Turkish F-16s shoot down Russian fighter jet near Syria border.

This is not the Turkey you want to see in the headlines at this time of year…

LinkSwarm for October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Right now Austin is enjoying our traditional “two weeks of flooding following three months of drought” fall. Enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • “In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him.”
  • Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House. If Ryan decides to govern as an actual Republican, he could be a very effective Speaker…
  • The IRS has Stingray cell phone surveillance gear. Get ready for a whole new round of Tea Party audits…
  • Speaking of the IRS, the House of Representatives is justified in impeaching IRS chief John Koskinen.
  • At the most recent Republican Presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio said the H1-B visa program is badly in need of reform. One tiny problem: Sen. Rubio’s own H1-B bill doesn’t implement any of the reforms demanded by Presidential Candidate Rubio. “It does not require recruitment of American workers. It does not require employers to ‘pay more than you would pay someone else’…Rubio’s bill would provide Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his comrades ‘a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers.'” Indeed, Rubio’s bill “would triple the number of H1-B foreign workers admitted.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Get ready for steep ObamaCare price hikes for 2016.
  • Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition is starting to come apart thanks to the refugee crisis.
  • Venezuela is selling gold to cover bond payments. (Hat tip: Commonsense and Wonder.)
  • Al-Shabaab Islamic militant group in Somalia pledge loyalty to the Islamic State.
  • The Islamic State schools ban: “math, music, philosophy, history, French and geography as incompatible with Islam.”
  • Not news: Journalist in Sweden gets stoned. News: The wrong kind of stoned.
  • Teacher’s hate Common Core. The only people that seem to love it are Washington bureaucrats and Jeb Bush…
  • Speaking of Jeb, He has not succeeded this year, and there is no particular reason to believe he will…Jeb just isn’t very good at this.”
  • “Even beyond the fact that Bush has spent almost a year and ended up among the statistical noise despite all of his organizational and financial advantages, this all but proved that he’s simply not a good enough candidate to run in the general election.”
  • Jeb Bush’s campaign also hasn’t knocked on any doors in Iowa.
  • Ben Carson’s campaign is working with other Republican Presidential campaigns to extract their debates from the liberal clutches of the MSM.”
  • How to fix the Republican debates: “First, cancel the rest of the debates. Instead, announce that the RNC will host the debates and pick the panel of questioners. Allow any news organization that wishes to broadcast it.”
  • A look at the Russian BMD-2 infantry fighting vehicle.
  • John Wiley Price trail delayed again.
  • Reminder: Most acts at SXSW don’t get paid.
  • Feminism is “a War Against Human Nature aimed at using the coercive power of government to bring about an androgynous ‘equality’ that ignores the actual differences between men and women. Feminism is a totalitarian movement to destroy civilization as we know it — and feminists say so themselves.”
  • Salon’s pro-pedophile agenda:

  • How to stamp out Cultural Marxism in a single generation.
  • Flash is dying. Netcraft confirms it…
  • So What The Hell Is Going On in Syria?

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

    The problem with doing an update on Syria is that I’m not sure anyone knows what the hell is going on there.

    The motivations of the major local players are clear: Assad wants to survive and maintain power, while his paymasters in Iran want to back him and the Shia against the Islamic State and other Sunni groups. The Islamic State wants to establish its brutal medieval caliphate over first Mesopotamia and the Levant, then the entire Ummah, then the entire world, exterminating Shia and subjugating Christians and Jews to dhimmitude along the way. The Saudis want to back Sunnis (possibly including the Islamic State). The Kurds just want to survive. Etc.

    However, what Barack Obama and Vladamir Putin want is considerably less clear.

    Obama, after royally screwing Iraq by pulling U.S. troops out after Bush had largely stabilized it (at great expense in money and lives), seems to want to fight a pretend air war against the Islamic State and a pretend insurgency against Assad in order to keep reporters from asking him about it, thus kicking the can down the road for the next President to deal with. (Then again, perhaps this gives Obama too much credit. Maybe, like Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to give the Falklands back, Obama screwed up Iraq just for the pure leftish joy of undoing the achievements of a conservative leader he loathed…)

    What does Putin want to accomplish in Syria? Prop up a military equipment-buying client state in Syria? Support a more important client state in Iran? Give Obama a black eye? Keep Russians distracted from domestic economic woes with military adventurism abroad? Make Russia the dominate political power in the Middle East, filling the vacuum Obama left with America’s withdrawal and betrayal of regional allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia? Actually destroy the Islamic State? Take the Shia side in a the wider Sunni-Shia conflict?

    Here are some links on Syria:

  • Zero Hedge sees the beginnings of a regional war.

    If Russia ends up bolstering Iran’s position in Syria (by expanding Hezbollah’s influence and capabilities) and if the Russian air force effectively takes control of Iraq thus allowing Iran to exert a greater influence over the government in Baghdad, the fragile balance of power that has existed in the region will be turned on its head and in the event this plays out, one should not expect Washington, Riyadh, Jerusalem, and London to simply go gentle into that good night.

    Sure enough, some experts now predict Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey will move to counter Russia militarily if Moscow continues to rack up gains for Assad.

  • Andrew McCarthy comes out against U.S. intervention:

    The Syrian mess has gotten messier because Vladimir Putin, with all the unpredictability of the morning sun, has invaded Syria on behalf of Assad and Putin’s more important ally Iran — Assad’s longtime string-puller. The Russian strongman’s claimed purpose is to fight the Islamic State — a pretext no more real than was the supposed need to protect indigenous Russian populations that Putin cited in invading Georgia, Crimea, and Eastern Ukraine.

    Putin, with China’s indulgence, is obviously attempting to fortify a sphere of anti-American influence across the Middle East. Anti-Americanism in this Islamic-supremacist region long predates Putin, of course. What has changed is that the United States is governed by a man of the hard Left — a president who is sympathetic to the Islamist narrative about American imperialism, ambivalent at best about American power, and determined to diminish America’s regional commitments, and thus American influence.

  • Disclaimer: Newsweek.

    The move provides a foothold in a part of the world that the Soviet Union was kicked out of four decades ago. At a moment when the United States appears to be washing its hands of the increasingly bloody and chaotic region, it gives Russia an expanding military presence in the Mediterranean on the doorstep of a NATO ally (its newly established airfield at Latakia in eastern Syria sits just 75 miles from the border with Turkey), and the gambit may yet serve as leverage with the West as Putin seeks to get out from under economic sanctions imposed as a result of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.

  • Vladimir S. Patton.
  • “Putin’s policy is ugly — Russian airstrikes produced immediate reports of civilian casualties — but effective for its purpose. Obama’s policy is high-minded and prudent, but it has been painfully ineffective.”
  • And there are already reports that Russian planes have already violated Turkey’s airspace. And remember that Turkey is still a member of NATO…
  • The pathetic failure of the Pentagon’s efforts in Syria indicate that if anything, this culture of self-congratulation and failure [in Obama’s Department of Defense] is getting more entrenched.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The problem for America is that a logical Middle East policy is impossible as long as Obama is President and Kerry is Secretary of State.

    Can Putin achieve long-term victory in Syria where Obama’s fecklessness couldn’t? Maybe. Can Iran and Russia together crush the Islamic State? If Russia wanted to commit serious ground combat forces (think Operation Iraqi Freedom), probably, but that would be an exceptionally expensive move that would spread Russian forces dangerously thin elsewhere. But considering that does not appear to be Russia’s immediate goal, which seems to be crushing the Free Syrian Army and allied forces in Western Syria, expect the war against the Islamic State to drag out indefinitely.

    Except for the Kurds (which Obama’s feckless policies have refused to adequately support), the Syrian Civil War is bad guys vs. bad guys all the way down. Assad surviving, or a long-running war between Russia and the Islamic State, are far from the worst possible outcomes…

    $500 Million for 54 Syrian Rebels?

    Saturday, September 19th, 2015

    Anyone paying attention has long known what a miserable failure Obama’s Syrian strategy (such as it is) against Bashar Assad has been. But only recently has it come to light just how ridiculously expensive that miserable failure has been:

    The aim was to identify reasonably secular moderate fighters in Syria, transfer them to third-party countries in the region, train them, equip them, and reintroduce them into the theater of operations. By August of this year and $500 million later, the Pentagon acknowledged that only 54 Syrian rebels had been prepared for combat. Less than a month later, almost all of them had been killed or captured.

    $500 Million for 54 guys? What were they, hand-crafted artisanal rebels? Where did the money go? Did they hire Damien Hirst to make each of their 54 uniforms? Did each of the 54 make a $1 million donation to the Clinton Foundation? Even by the pathetic standards of the Obama Administration that’s a ridiculous amount of graft, fraud and waste. You could easily have trained and equipped an effective mercenary brigade for that much money.

    There were actual reasons to support the removal of Assad early in the Obama Administration, but the rise of the Islamic State rendered most of them obsolete. Now that Obama and Kerry have rolled over to let Assad’s paymasters in Tehran rub their furry bellies, there’s no point in pretending to equip opposition fighters beyond Obama’s desire to keep up the facade of a Syrian policy as a sop to his wounded vanity.

    Since Obama can’t topple Assad and is singularly unwilling to fight a real war against the Islamic State, at this point we should probably just let Iran, Syria and Russia try their hands at crushing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s barbaric caliphate. A long, grinding Sunni-Shia civil war in Mesopotamia is probably among the least bad outcomes available for the region after Obama’s serial bungling…

    (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll on Instapundit.)

    “The left is why they leave the left”

    Friday, September 18th, 2015

    When you start grabbing a third pull quote from a piece is when you realize that it needs a post of its own. Such is the case with this Nick Cohen piece on why Jeremy Corbyn’s election has finally forced him to leave the left. Though centered on UK politics, much of it applies to the social justice warrior/victimhood identity politics left in this country as well.

    The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.


    The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.

    In 2007 I tried to make amends, and published What’s Left. If they were true to their professed principles, my book argued, modern leftists would search out secular forces in the Muslim world — Iranian and Arab feminists, say, Kurdish socialists or Muslim liberals struggling against reactionary clerics here in Britain — and embrace them as comrades. Instead, they preferred to excuse half the anti-western theocrats and dictators on the planet. As, in their quiet way, did many in the liberal mainstream. Throughout that period, I never heard the BBC demanding of ‘progressives’ how they could call themselves left-wing when they had not a word of comfort for the Iraqi and Afghan liberals al-Qaeda was slaughtering.

    The triumph of Jeremy Corbyn has led to What’s Left sales picking up, and readers acclaiming my alleged prescience. Grateful though I am, I cannot accept the compliment. I never imagined that left-wing politics would get as bad as they have become. I assumed that when the criminally irresponsible Blair flew off in his Learjet, the better angels of the left’s nature would re-assert themselves.

    What a fool I was.


    The fact remains that the Labour party has just endorsed an apologist for Putin’s imperial aggression; a man who did not just appear on the propaganda channel of Russia, which invades its neighbours and persecutes gays, but also of Iran, whose hangmen actually execute gays. Labour’s new leader sees a moral equivalence between 9/11 and the assassination of bin Laden, and associates with every variety of women-hating, queer-bashing, Jew-baiting jihadi, holocaust denier and 9/11 truther. His supporters know it, but they don’t care.


    The half-educated fanatics are in control now. I do not see how in conscience I can stay with their movement or vote for their party. I am not going to pretend the next time I meet Owen Jones or those Labour politicians who serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet that we are still members of the same happy family. There are differences that cannot and should not be smoothed over.

    I realise now what I should have known years ago. The causes I most care about — secularism, freedom of speech, universal human rights — are not their causes. Whatever they pretend, when the crunch comes, they will always put sectarian unity first, and find reasons to be elsewhere.

    Read the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    LinkSwarm for September 11, 2015

    Friday, September 11th, 2015

    It’s the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and thanks to the super-genius foreign policy ofthe Obama Administration, radical Islam is more powerful than ever before!

  • The Islamic State attacks the Kurds with mustard gas Hey Obama: Big, bright red line here! What are you going to do about that? Nothing, eh? Just going to keep up your just-for-show pretend-war against the Islamic State?
  • The thermocline of truth at the Pentagon: “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials.”
  • Mark Steyn: “Since I last appeared in Copenhagen, some three-quarters of those I shared the stage with that day have been shot at, firebombed or forced to retire from public life and go into hiding.”
  • If you hit a pedestrian in China, do you: A. Stop to render aid, B. Flee the scene or, C. Back over again to make sure they’re dead?
  • “The policies of Jeremy Corbyn, the old-fashioned socialist on course to be elected leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, are wrong not because they’re left-wing, but because they’re delusional.”
  • Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism(TM), in Venezuela there’s no justice like mob justice. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Could Putin be undone by a European court rulings?
  • How Bush43 helped keep Russia from invading the rest of Georgia in 2008.
  • Islamic attack leaves leaves 30 dead in Cameroon.
  • Jihad kills 10 in Tajikistan, U.S. embassy shut.
  • “Tunisia is experiencing psychopath drain.”
  • Muslims riot in Rotherham. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Believe it or not, Republicans actually have the demographic edge in 2016.
  • Abilene cop killed in home.
  • This sounds super, super, super, super, super, super dumb.
  • After a long hibernation, Blue Dot Blue has awakened from her deathless slumbers.
  • Dwight has a pretty swell memorial to Oliver Sacks up.
  • Lawfully use your legal firearm to protect your foster kids in Nevada? Watch your kids get taken away.
  • Liberal writer discovers America. “I spent the night at the Chateau Motel & Liquor Store, which is a brilliant business idea that absolutely needs to come east.” #Merica (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Here is the only important fact versus the hyperbolic claims about aspartame and health: There’s a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems. There’s no link between artificial sweeteners and health.”
  • The ghost homes of Japan. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas most-wanted sex-offender caught.
  • Creeper in Williamson County:

    Deputies are searching for a man that allegedly injured a 12-year-old girl at a Williamson County park over the weekend.

    It happened Saturday, Sept. 5 at around 5:50 p.m. on the Rattan Creek Park Trail, west of Parmer Lane at Dallas Drive. Investigators say the girl was walking on the trail at a bridge near where two paths intersect when she was approached by an adult male from the south. The Sheriff’s Office says he made several comments regarding the child’s beauty, saying she appeared older than she was, and asked various questions about her and any companions.

    The suspect grabbed the child by the arm, tight enough to cause minor injury. He let go when one of the child’s friends approached them, and walked away from the trail, heading north into the woods, investigators say.

    The subject was described as a white male, approximately 6’0″, with a slim to medium build, short brown hair, and believed to be in his late 30s. He was last seen wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, and had a large tattoo (possibly Old English text) on his left shoulder, extending down to his chest. The suspect was described as having unusually long fingernails.

    If this suspect is observed in the area, you are asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Waldon at (512) 244-8631 or or after hours (512) 864-8302.

    Read More at:

    Keep an eye out…

  • The Shooter in Her Cooter.
  • LinkSwarm for August 21, 2015

    Friday, August 21st, 2015

    Small LinkSwarm this time.

  • “Hillary Clinton is the contemporary poster child for special privileges for the rich and powerful.”
  • Latest Iran deal revelation: Iran gets to self-inspect their own nuclear site. But Kerry did get them to agree to pinky swear they’re telling the truth…
  • Obama and his party. “No president in modern times has presided over so disastrous a stretch for his party, at almost every level of politics.” Caveat the first: Although I think the phrase “there’s neither a Great Depression nor a criminal conspiracy in the White House to explain what has happened” is probably false on both counts. Caveat the second: Notice how the article carefully omits any mention of the specific Obama policies that have made his party so unpopular…
  • From back in June: Karl Rove lied about Ted Cruz. (Hat tip (tangentially): Perry vs. World, where Evan seems to have woken from his summer slumber…)
  • I really want to believe this Atlantic piece on how Russia is losing in Ukraine, but I just don’t. This one sentence has so much wrong with it I have trouble trusting the rest of the article: “Shale, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and renewables—three areas where Russia is extremely weak—are ascendant and are dramatically altering the market.” Shale’s a solid play if you’ve already tapped out more easily-extracted hydrocarbons (I doubt Russia has), LNG is a profitable byproduct if you’re already extracting oil, but at today’s market prices (which have sucked since 2009) it’s not worth pursuing on its own, and renewables? Hippie, please
  • Muslim beats wife in front of police, saying they can’t arrest him because she’s his property.
  • Slovakia to the EU: Screw you, we’re not taking any Muslim refugees. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Movement in Spain tries to erase Salvador Dali from history. You’ll get my Salvador Dali from me when you pry the melting clocks out of my burning hands!
  • Could Google rig the next election?
  • It’s a Goldman-Sachs world. We just live in it…
  • Three students at the “Homestead Job Corps” murder a fourth. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that program isn’t working…
  • Missed this from earlier in the year: Arkansas cops attempt to plant malware on a lawyer’s computer, fail miserably.
  • Joe Straus is backing Jeb Bush. I don’t imagine that this will come as a shock to anyone…
  • A Look At Russia’s New T-14 Armata Tank

    Thursday, August 20th, 2015

    Last week was almost Russian Tank Week on BattleSwarm, but a plethora of news intervened (like Vladimir Putin intervening in the affairs of neighboring states).

    But one interesting tidbit I didn’t get to was the fact that Russia has introduced a new generation of tanks (and mechanized fighting vehicles more generally, all based off the same base platform).

    So is the new Russian T-14 Armata main battle tank something to worry about, or does the M1A2 Abrams retain clear technological superiority?

    To my very, very outsider eyes, the answer is somewhere in-between.

    First the description from Jane’s:

    The T-14 is Russia’s first truly new tank design since the T-72, designed in the early 1970s. Based on the Armata Universal Tracked Platform, the T-14’s most attention-grabbing feature is its unmanned turret, with all of the MBT’s three crew (commander, driver, gunner) seated in a well-protected crew compartment at the front of the hull.

    Notably, the unveiled turret dispels suggestions the MBT would be armed with a coaxial 30 mm cannon, in addition to its 2A82A 125 mm main gun. Indeed the pre-production vehicles paraded by Russia feature neither a 30 mm cannon nor a coaxial machine gun (MG) armament as expected, although the production vehicles might eventually feature the dual 30 mm cannon/7.62 mm MG.

    Although the T-14’s turret features a large bustle, it remains unclear whether this features the autoloader/weapon-handling system for the MBT’s main gun or serves another purpose (meaning the T-14 would retain the vulnerable hull-mounted carousel system present in previous Russian MBTs). Some reports also indicate Russia has not entirely abandoned its ambitions to arm Armata with a 152 mm main gun. If this is the case, it could explain why the T-14’s unmanned turret has an unusually high profile relative to the position of the 125 mm main gun, with the turret possibly designed to incorporate growth potential up to the 152 mm calibre.

    T-14 is armed with a remote-controlled turret (RCT) armed with a 7.62 mm PKTM MG, with the unit also functioning as the commander’s independent sight. The gunner’s sight is mounted to the left side of the main gun and shielded by a two-piece armoured door to protect it from small arms fire. A barrel reference unit is mounted above the base of the 2A82A main gun, which notably lacks a fume bore extractor (which would be superfluous given the turret is unmanned). Metrological, satellite communications, GLONASS, datalink, and radio communications antennae are fitted on the roof of the turret.

    The MBT’s turret is literally covered in a variety of launcher and sensor systems understood to be linked to a new APS system, which some reports call ‘Afghanit’. At the base of each side of the turret are five large and fixed horizontally arrayed launch tubes covering the 120° frontal arc of the turret. These bear a strong resemblance to the launchers for the earlier Drozd and Drozd-2 APS, which fired a hard-kill 107 mm unguided projectile armed with a high-explosive-(HE) fragment warhead to defeat incoming anti-tank guided weapons (ATGWs).

    The T-14 is also fitted with four sets of smaller-calibre launchers, with each unit armed with 12 launch tubes. Two horizontally trainable launcher units are fitted on either side of the top of the turret, while two apparently fixed and vertically facing launcher units are recessed into the top of the tank’s turret.

    It is unclear whether this second system fires hard-kill (ie warheads) or soft-kill (ie anti-infrared/laser-obscuring smoke) munitions, or a combination of the two. It is also unclear if the vertically mounted units are fireable, or simply storage for reload units for the two trainable launchers. One limitation of the Drozd systems were that they provided no protection against threats emanating from above the tank, so mounting the fixed launchers vertically could be one way to provide protection against top-attack threats.

    Providing warning and guidance for the APS system are two types of sensors mounted around the T-14’s turret. Two large sensors, believed to be electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR)-based laser warning receivers, are angularly mounted on the front of the turret providing 180° coverage, while four smaller sensors (covered but believed to be radars) are mounted around the turret providing 360° coverage.

    Armata features a notably different hull design to the T-72/90. One striking difference is the road wheels, which are of a different design to the T-72/90’s, while the Armata features seven road wheels, to the six of the previous MBT designs, with the drive wheel at the rear. This is similar to the T-80 MBT family, which also has chassis with seven smaller road wheels.

    It is not known whether Armata is equipped with a gas-turbine or a diesel engine [given how the Russian chain of command swore off gas-turbine engines after the T-80’s performance in the first Chechen war, probably diesel. -LP] , but the T-14’s powerpack is mounted at the rear of the MBT, with two internal fuel tanks mounted on either side, and exhausts also mounted on either side. Day/night cameras are mounted around the T-14’s turret to provide situational awareness, while a forward-looking EO/IR (FLIR) system is mounted on the front of the hull for the driver. The driver’s hatch has no periscopes. When driving buttoned-down, the driver may be in a reclined position, using a set of periscopes mounted on a second hatch directly behind him.

    NII Stali is understood to have designed a new form of steel armour for the Armata family. Speaking to TASS, a NII Stali representative said the “steel armour alloy, named 44S-sv-Sh [44S–], is approved by the Armata’s developer. The alloy’s operational testing has been started and it can be used in prospective vehicles’ parts”. The use of the 44S-sv-Sh steel in Armata is intended to provide protection at a similar level to STANAG 4569 (first edition) Level 5. The high level of 44S-sv-Sh’s protection is ensured by the short-grained material structure, the optimised legation process and the special heat processing. The steel has also been designed to maintain its characteristics in very cold conditions.

    The Armata design is also understood to utilise explosive reactive armour (ERA) within its base design (rather than the appliqué ERA tiles seen on previous Russian MBTs), with views from above the MBT showing a distinctive tiled pattern indicative of ERA on the top of the vehicle’s chassis and turret. Although what appear to be ERA tiles are present on the turret roof, much of the sides of the turret appears to be just a thin cladding covering the various APS and sighting systems rather than armour. Appliqué armour (unclear if passive or ERA, or both) is fitted to the forward two thirds of the T-14’s sides, while the rear third is protected by bar armour to provide clearance for the T-14’s exhausts.

    Here’s a picture of the front by way of NPR:

    I’m not going to get into the electronics/sensor/packages, since it’s all devil-in-the-details stuff impossible to evaluate at this point. (The active protection system could be very interesting, but there’s no way of knowing how it stacks up to Israel’s Trophy or the still-under-development U.S. Quick Kill.)

    The big reasons I think the M1A2 retains overall superiority:

  • “NII Stali is understood to have designed a new form of steel armour for the Armata family.” Unless this new steel armor has radically improved properties, it seems unlikely to be even as effective against HEAT and/or kinetic penetrating rounds as the Chobham ceramic composite armor used by the M1 and British Challenger tanks, now into (at least) its third generation.
  • I do not like the shape of that turret. At all. Way too high profile, though up-gunning to a 152mm cannon (which I’m skeptical they can do effectively, even with this huge turret) might make it a more acceptable trade-off. (Early T-14 mocks showed a radically low profile turret that evidently turned out to be a pipe dream.) The degree to which the turret bulges out over the side and rear seems like shot traps. That flat section to the right is evidently a gunner sight, which looks like it’s just asking to be targeted. (Then again, the T-72 used this weird stacked bulging steel plate system to provide “non-ractive reactive armor”, which might alleviate the problem some.)
  • Not seeing any detailed information on the Russian fire control system for the main gun. If there were radically improvements you would expect more crowing and demonstrations to the press for the export market, which I haven’t seen. Since the M1A1 was achieving kills against Soviet armor at the extreme range of its fire control system back during Desert Storm, I’d need a lot of evidence to be convinced the Russians have caught up, and so far I don’t see any.
  • That said, there are a number of interesting features on the T-14:

  • The fully automated turret. It’s no surprise that the Russians went in this direct, since the T-72 already used an autoloader. (There were persistent rumors that the T-72’s autoloader had a nasty tendency to rip off crewmen’s arms, but the consensus out on the web seems to be that this is probably untrue.) With the constant march of progress there’s no reason you couldn’t have a reliable auto-loader, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see future American tanks take this direction.
  • The 125mm smoothbore cannon, which should theoretically outgun the 120mm on the M1A2. (Cue Nigel Tufnel: “Well, it’s 5 bigger, innit?”)
  • The top speed is reportedly higher than the Abrams, somewhere in the 50 MPH range, which seems quite likely, given that the Abrams is the heaviest modern MBT in current service. However, the T-14 engine may have some reliability concerns:

  • Integrated reactive armor: Probably a net plus. Like the TUSK package for the Abrams, I suspected this was developed in response to specific experience with asymmetrical urban warfare (in Russia’s case in Grozny, where the T-80 performed very poorly). While I have my doubts that the T-14 can defeat modern two-phase top attack anti-tank missiles like Javelin, it’s probably more than adequate for defeating the average Joey Jihad RPG. The concern is that while reactive armor certainly increase vehicle survivability, it’s very hard not to let it increase fratricidal lethality to nearby friendly infantry. Then again, Russian military doctrine has always had a callous attitude toward infantry casualties…
  • Maybe the integrated roof launcher array can defeat top attack anti-tank missiles like Javelin and RPGs. Hard to gauge effectiveness without seeing how it performs in actual combat.
  • I like the wide access door at rear, which reminds me of the rear doors Israel designed to the Merkava after the experience of running out of ammo during the Yom Kippur War war. (I’m less wild about the high, relatively exposed positions for the gas tanks at the rear of the vehicle, something the bar armor only partially alleviates. But it might be an acceptable tradeoff.)
  • All this assumes that significant numbers of the T-14 actually get built, given that Russia has cancelled at least two separate tank programs (Black Eagle and the T-95) to follow on to the T-72/T-80, and that their economy is really biting the yak in the wake of the oil price collapse and Ukraine sanctions. But the shared Armata platform probably helped reduce development and production costs, and I suspect it will get put into production, as a big new main battle tank seems like exactly the sort of thing Vladimir Putin likes seeing built.

    This is just a quick overview based on limited information. Those with more information and/or deeper subject knowledge are welcome to sound off in the comments.

    Update: Missed this Jane’s update on the T-14’s armor.

    The base armour on the new tank consists of metal-ceramic plates. Novosibirsk-based company NEVZ-Ceramics has already launched serial production of this product, according to Andrey Nikitin, the head of the company’s armoured ceramics bureau. “We finished the trials this year and the elements revealed their declared capability,” he said.

    Nikitin said the new metal/ceramic armour provides one-and-a-half times more resistance than fully metal systems.

    Russian Tank Flipping Over in Victory Square

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

    Judging from the stats on my previous tank flip video, there are few things blog readers love more than watching Russian tanks flip over.

    Because I’m A.) Here to serve, and B.) Feeling incredibly lazy right now, here’s another Russian tank flipping over:

    Looks like an old T-34 to me…

    Russian Tank Driver Manages to Roll a T-72

    Saturday, August 8th, 2015

    This appears to be from some sort of Russian tank proving ground. Skip to 1:46 for the really interesting stuff.

    Honestly, until I saw this I was unaware it was even possible to roll a T-72 on level ground.

    That’s some might fine driving you’ve done there, Ivan…

    Update: Comments below and elsewhere seem to indicate this is a Kuwaiti driver managing to roll the tank.