152 mm Cannon for T-14: Actuality and Perspectives

Author Artur Kovalivsky. 

The idea to install the 152 mm cannon to the tank is nothing new; the attempts to install such type of guns were made as far back as the middle 1980s, though technical difficulties, excess capacity and crisis in the country made it impossible to implement this idea in Soviet times.


Future T-14 tank on Armata platform provides for installation of the 152 mm gun, however at the moment this tank is equipped with updated 125 mm gun. Nevertheless, Russian Ministry of Defence still intends to install 152 mm gun on the limited number of T-14 tanks.

Attempts to implement the 152 mm cannon for the Soviet and Russian tanks

The first tank with the LP-83 152 mm cannon was “Object 292” of the plants Kirovsky Zavod of Leningrad and VNII Transmash, designed on the base of the T-80BV tank. Due to financial difficulties of the late 1980s and early 1990s, in the fall of 1990 the only tank prototype was produced. In 1991 the tank was put to the tests including the firing test, which revealed significant superiority of 152 mm cannon over the main 2А46 125 mm tank cannon. It was particularly the case for the half as bigger shot momentum, at the almost equal gun recoil, ensuring installation of the cannon on the T-80BV without significant changes, thus considerably enhancing their fire power.

However, in 1990s due to the Armed Forces underfunding, “Object 292” wasn’t put to all the tests. Later LP-83 152 mm cannon had to be used on “Object 477 Hammer”, and its equivalent, 2А83 152 mm cannon had to be used on “Object 195 Black Eagle”.

The “Object 477 Hammer” wasn’t developed due to the inconvenient ammunition arrangement and was soon shut down.

Yekaterinburg Plant No. 9 created new 2А83 152 mm cannon for “Object 195 Black Eagle”, that being a modification of the 2А65 gun of self-propelled artillery system (SPAS) Msta-S. The first test the 2A83 cannon has passed on B-4 tracked vehicle platform, and performed as highly as LP-83. Point blank range was of 5,100 metres and penetration was of 1,024 mm of homogeneous steel, and that exceeded the figures of 2A46. However, in 2010 the development of “Object 195 Black Eagle” was stopped to start the works on the new Armata universal combat platform.

125 mm and 152 mm cannons compared

At the moment T-14 Armata tanks are equipped with updated 2A82-1M 125 mm cannon designed by Yekaterinburg Plant No. 9.

Specifications of the 2A82-1M 125 mm cannon:

  • Cannon type: Smoothbore with chrome-plated barrel;
  • Weight – 2,700 kg;
  • Barrel length – 7,000 mm;
  • Muzzle velocity – 2,050 m/s;
  • Effective range:
  1. missiles – 4,700 m;
  2. jet guided missiles (JGM) 3UBK21 Sprinter – 8,000 m;
  3. anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) Refleks-M – 5,500 m;
  • Firing rate – 10–12 rounds per minute;
  • Muzzle energy – 15–24 MJ;
  • Penetration of the armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) – 850–1,000 mm;
  • ATGM penetration – 950 mm;
  • Cannon service life – 800–900 rounds;
  • Ammunition – 45 shells;
  • Autoloader – 32 shells.

As a 152 mm cannon for T-14 tank, we are reviewing 2A83 cannon, an updated 2А65 gun Msta-S SPAS also designed by Yekaterinburg Plant No. 9.

Specifications of the 2А83 152 mm cannon:

  • Cannon type: Smoothbore with chrome-plated barrel;
  • Weight – more than 5,000 kg;
  • Barrel length – 7,200 mm;
  • Muzzle velocity – 1,980 m/s;
  • Effective range:
  1. missiles – 5,100 m;
  2. the Krasnopol 2K25 JGM – 20,000 m;
  3. the Krasnopol ZOF38 JGM – 12,000 m;
  • Firing rate – 10-15 rounds per minute;
  • Muzzle energy – 20–25 MJ;
  • APDS penetration – 1,024 mm;
  • ATGM penetration – 1,200–1,400 m;
  • Cannon barrel service life – 280 rounds;
  • Ammunition – 40 shells;
  • Autoloader – 24 shells.

It is clear from the specifications of the guns that a 2A83 cannon is significantly superior in almost every respect compared to the 2А82-1М cannon. Its other difference is the possibility of firing with munitions of length of up to one meter, such as Krasnopol, which were used before in Msta-S SPAS. But these cannons have a number of critical shortcomings, the main of which is considerably higher cannon “parasitic mass”: even with the use of composite materials the 2А83 weight is almost twice bigger than the 2A82-1M weight, leading to the second shortcoming – considerable reduction of the tank ammunition. The third shortcoming of this gun is more than three times shorter service life of the cannon barrel.

What competitors have

The main competitors of the Russian 2A83 tank are German 130 mm Rheinmetall L55 gun and American 140 mm XM291 cannon.

German 130 mm L55 cannon design is based on its 120 mm predecessor. For now its exact specifications remain unknown apart from the following: gun barrel length is 51 calibre (6,630 mm), its power will be by 50% higher compared to 120 mm version, and weight of the gun is 3,000 kg. Two types of the future fixed munitions are planned to be used for 130 mm cannon firing – armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot (APFSDS) with tungsten linear plug, semi-combustible cartridge case with the use of the charge with the new type of powder; and multipurpose high-explosive fragmentation shells with programmable airburst designed on the basis of DM11 munitions. Series production is planned to start by 2025.

American XM291 140 mm cannon is the result of ATAC (Advanced Tank Cannon) project. According to designers, the power of this gun is twice higher than the analogous M-256 120 mm gun, installed on M1A2 Abrams tanks. The gun is equipped with the removable barrel, breech end design ensures changing the 140 mm barrel for the 120 mm one, thus ensuring the usage of both the new and the old munitions types. The cannon is equipped with autoloader, during the tests the gun proved to have the firing rate analogous to that of 2A83, 12 rounds per minute. Ammunition is 22 140 mm rounds or 32–33 120 mm rounds. The main shortcoming of this gun is the excessive recoil energy.

The cannon has been developed since 1985 and hasn’t passed tests yet, up to now it is still at the stage of experimental model.

Perspectives of the implementation and options of using the 2A83 cannon on the Т-14 tank

With a high degree of certainty we can argue that Т-14 tank version with 152 mm cannon will be produced. As far back as in February 2016 the Ministry of Defence has initiated the acceptance procedure of Т-14 including the 152 mm gun version of the tank. Rosatom specialists are already underway to create the 152 mm super explosive hard core projectiles of depleted uranium.

The problem of the insufficient amount of ammunition in the 152 mm tank version can be solved by placing additional number of rounds in the recess behind the turret.

As T-14 is equipped with its own radar, the use of Krasnopol guided projectiles is provided in the 152 mm version of the tank. The way the things are, T-14 is more like a SPAS than a tank, so in the documents Т-14 152 mm version may be named artillery combat vehicle.

Taking into consideration all the above mentioned, we can conclude that the 2A82-1M 125-mm cannon will remain the main gun for the T-14 tank. The 2А83 152 mm cannon will be installed on limited series of tanks for specific missions as a part of an armour group. And 152 mm guided projectiles can possibly be used to destruct enemy fortifications, carry out precision-guided attacks of armoured vehicles or antiaircraft capabilities of the enemy at the range of 20 and more km, 2K25 Krasnopol projectiles provide for that. So, the Т-14 tank with the 152 mm cannon isn’t going to be the main version of the tank based on the Armata platform, but is going to serve as a specialized fire support vehicle.

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