T-14 Armata: Russia's New Powerhouse Tank Looks Like a Failure

T-14 Armata Tank Russia
February 15, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaUkraineTanksT-14 ArmataT-14MilitaryDefense

T-14 Armata: Russia's New Powerhouse Tank Looks Like a Failure

The T-14 Armata tank has been in development for a dozen years, but production delays, manufacturing issues, and reduced planned fleet size have dogged the program. 

Main battle tanks continue to play important roles on the battlefield. The war in Ukraine is a modern-day testament to the usefulness of tanks in both offensive and defensive operations. 

Militaries around the world continue to invest heavily in the development and production of main battle tanks.

For example, the U.S. is currently developing the M1A3 Abrams to take on future challenges on the battlefield. 

However, U.S. adversaries share similar views on the utility of tanks on the modern battlefield and have developed or are developing their own weapon systems. 

When it comes to the Russian military, its next-generation tank, the T-14 Armata, is already in service—or at least Moscow claims so.

T-14 Armata Tank

At 55 tons and with a 125mm main gun, the T-14 Armata seems like an imposing combat vehicle. Like most other Russian-made tanks, the T-14 has a crew of three (commander, driver, and gunner) and uses an automatic loading system to sustain a respectable rate of fire. 

The T-14 tank has been in development for a dozen years, but the program has been dogged by production delays, manufacturing issues, and a reduction in the planned fleet size. 

With a country hard at war and a huge number of casualties in men and weapons, one would expect to see the T-14 Armata in the midst of the fighting, using its superior technology to overcome older Ukrainian tanks. However, that is hardly the case.  

According to the Russian TASS state media, the Russian military deployed the T-14 Armata in Ukraine and used it in combat. However, the deployment was mainly for experimentation rather than actual fighting. 

“The Armata tank was used several times in the combat zone in Ukraine. Based on the results of the use in the special operation, the vehicle is now being finalized,” Russian defense officials told TASS. 

However, Western assessments and the Ukrainians dispute that claim. Previous estimates from Western intelligence agencies indicated that the T-14 Armata didn’t see any actual combat but was rather restricted to areas close to the battlefield. There is a good reason why the Russian military would do that. 

Where is the T-14 Armata? 

Much like with other advanced weapon systems—like the Su-57 Checkmate stealth fighter jet—the Russian military has been very careful with the employment of the T-14 Armata in Ukraine. 

T-14 Armata

One likely explanation is that the weapon system wouldn’t perform as advertised. The Kremlin cares a lot about its aerospace and defense industry. It is, after all, a source of considerable revenue. Before the war, Moscow was exporting weapons systems and munitions in the range of $12 to $15 billion. Although the illegal invasion of Ukraine has curtailed that number, it is still a noticeable source of money (in the range of $5 to $8 billion) for Moscow. As such, it wouldn’t make sense for the Kremlin to use what it advertises to be its most advanced weapon systems in Ukraine only for potential buyers to find out that they don’t really work as intended. 

About the Author  

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP. Email the author: [email protected].

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