SVERDLOVSK, Russia, Feb. 29 (UPI)
Russia's UralVagonZavod armaments factory is to create the first prototype of Russia's new main battle tank built on the Armata platform by 2013.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and UralVagonZavod Chief Executive Officer Oleg Sienko reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that production of the new tank and deliveries to the Russian armed forces are expected to start in 2015, Sverdlovsk's Oblastnaia Gazeta reported Wednesday.
Until then, the Defense Ministry will continue to upgrade its armored vehicles.
Hinting at the new design last April, Lt. Gen. Yuri Kovalenko, former senior deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Motorized Armor Directorate said, "The Russian armed forces will have a new main tank with fundamentally new characteristics by 2015."
Sienko said UralVagonZavod and military experts are running trials of the new tank's main units and components but released no other information about the new design.
The Defense Ministry has a $205 million contract with UralVagonZavod for upgrading the Russian military's 170 T-72 main battle tanks.