Earlier this week, Popular Military covered the new Russian T-14 Armata tank, which made its real-world debut during the May 4th Victory Day parade in Moscow. The impressive tanks will, by many accounts, outclass all current Western versions, thanks to their unmanned turrets, 125mm smoothbore cannons, and impressive ground speeds. Now, if you couple that with the recent announcement that Russia is planning on making their PAK TA heavy transport aircraft a reality sooner rather than later, the world could be less than a decade away from Russia being able to deploy a full armored army anywhere in the world in a matter of hours.
According to this article on RT.com, by loading Armata tanks on the soon-to-be-developed PAK TA heavy transport aircrafts, Russia would be able to deploy around 400 tanks, fully loaded with ammunition, anywhere in the world in about 7 hours. Thanks to the reported hypersonic speeds of this yet-to-be completed aircraft, as well as the 200 ton payload capacity, Russia’s military capabilities could take an enormous jump in the next decade.
The goal of the Russian military is to develop 80 of these new aircraft by 2024. These multilevel aircraft are set to include automated cargo loading and will be capable of performing airdrops of the hardware and personnel it carries across almost any type of terrain. The Daily Mail reports that each of these aircraft can carry up to eight Armata tanks.
Russia’s cold-war-esque plans for developing these mammoth aircraft seem to be in stark contrast to the directions that many nations are moving toward in their military spending. While small, nimble, unmanned drones and automated defense systems dominate many of the headlines for the U.S. military, Russia seems to be taking a decidedly more “old school” approach to armament.
Of course, until the PAK TA is out of the concept stage and actually in production, the plans are just plans. Many military experts point out that top speeds of current huge transport planes, such as the C-5M Super Galaxy, top out at 518 MPH. Russia claiming that their aircraft will more than double that speed may be a stretch.
However, Russia has maintained a large investment in defense spending. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s 2014 Fact Sheet, Russia is currently third in the world, spending a whopping 4.5% of their GDP, or $84.5 Billion per year. With that amount of funding dedicated to the military, Russia will continue to make noise on the international stage for years to come.
However, with the United States still spending upwards of $610 Billion annually on defense, should the combination of the PAK TA and Armata prove a viable one, you can bet the U.S. will be able to one-up their former cold-war nemesis faster than a PAK TA can deploy a payload. More likely though, the brilliant minds behind U.S. military are already a few steps ahead in terms of technologies.
By Brett Gillin