Russia Developing AI Tech in Tanks

  • The T-14 Armata is expected to enter service in 2022.
  • The Russian tank's unmanned version utilizes artificial intelligence.
  • The US competitor is the Abrams tank.

Russia proudly announced that the T-14 Armata tank fire control system, for the first time in the history of tanks, demonstrated the ability to recognize and escort targets on the battlefield without the participation of the crew. Hence, the tank shows great capabilities as an unmanned vehicle.

The T-14 Armata is a next-generation Russian main battle tank based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform—the first series-produced next-generation tank. The Russian Army initially planned to acquire 2,300 T-14s between 2015 and 2020.

Russia expects to have T-14 Armata tanks enter service in 2022. The timeframe for the tank delivery became available during an interview with the Ural Design Bureau of Transport Engineering.

Furthermore, the utilization of artificial intelligence on the T-14 Armata allows the on-board computing means of the machine to independently search for targets against the background of a complex underlying surface.

Thereafter, it can recognize the target, including the part of the object visible from behind the shelter and to conduct selection.

This is breakthrough technology. It should be noted that the U.S. military is already integrating AI systems into combat via a spearhead initiative called Project Maven. This has used AI algorithms to identify insurgent targets in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, it is important to point out that the decision to defeat is still made by the actual military commander. Thus far, the other tanks have only been equipped with automatic target tracking, assuming the crew finds and selects the object to be escorted manually.

Depending on the AI technology, it is plausible that eventually the tanks will be able to make their own decision if the target would need to be defeated.

During the T-14 Armata testing phase, the stand was utilized with the aid of mathematical models and semi-natural models of targets, including photo-contrast images and thermal radiation simulators. According to the results of all stages, the compliance of the system’s effectiveness with the declared combat characteristics was confirmed.

The M1 Abrams is a third-generation American main battle tank designed by Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems). The M1 Abrams was developed from the failure of the MBT-70 project to replace the obsolescent M60 Patton.

However, the US is working on upgrades to the Abrams tank. The US Army awarded a $4.62 billion contract to General Dynamics Land Systems to produce the M1A2 SEPv3 tanks for service before 2030. The contract was finalized in December of last year. The Russian T-14 Armata tank is superior to the Abrams tanks.

This week, the US expert Chris Osborn posed a question if the T-14 Armata is superior to Abrams, and the answer is yes. Nevertheless, according to Osborn’s research, Russia has 12,000 of the tank units in comparison to 6,000 tank units in the US.

Even though Russia has 50 percent more units, it does not mean Russia would win a ground war. The US has more strike armored vehicles.

Overall, if a war broke out, the main emphasis would be on Air Force capabilities and not so much on the tanks. In fact, the majority of experts predict the next world war would highly likely be in space.

The US already created the Space Force and is actively pursuing space projects, including a future moon colony. Russia and China just agreed to develop their own version of a moon colony.

The fight for outer space and armed conflicts will move to space. Hence, the Russian advantage with the T-14 Armata does not guarantee an upper hand for Russia. AI technology continues to evolve and is a necessary component for the defense sector.

Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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