MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti)
The Russian military is planning to carry out a large-scale rearmament of its armored units with new-generation main battle tanks (MBT) in 2014-2020, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
“At present, the Russian scientists are developing a new-generation tank, and in 2014-2020 we are planning to replace the current fleet with new tanks on a large scale, so that the new models will constitute 70% of the total,” Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Sergei Vlasov said.
According to leading Russian military experts, two models, tentatively dubbed the T-95 and the T-99, are being developed. Both projects are highly classified, and it is still unknown which model will be selected for mass production.
The new tank will feature better firepower, maneuverability, electronics and armor protection than the T-90 MBT.
The Russian Ground Forces are equipped with T-72, T-80 and T-90 MBTs and their variants. The existing state arms procurement program envisions a thorough overhaul of T-72 tanks until 2014.
The T-72 is one of the most widely produced post-World War II tanks, second only to the T-54/55 family, and its basic design has been further developed as the T-90.
“A fully modernized T-72 can easily compete with the most advanced MBTs of our time,” Vlasov said.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).