After the T-90M and BMPT appeared on the Ukrainian battlefield, there were many opinions that hoped that the T-14 Armata tank would also soon enter the battle, but this seems unlikely.
Despite being advertised as “majestic”, Russia’s T-14 Armata tank is completely absent from the ongoing war without any official reason given by Russian authorities.
Armata’s absence clearly raises many questions as fighting continues to rage in eastern Ukraine and Russia hastily retooled its armored formations as they suffered heavy losses in combat.
If what Russia advertised is true, then, the T-14 will be a valuable weapon in the Russian Army if it is really put on the battlefield. This tank debuted at the Victory Day parade in 2015 and has since been seen as the cutting edge of the Russian tank corps.
With a crew of 3 sitting in a heavily protected compartment, this MBT is said to provide a greater level of safety than the T-72, T-80 or even the T-90. The Armata’s turret is remotely controlled and its smoothbore gun 2A82-1M features an improved autoloader.
The T-14’s external sights and cameras are designed to provide crews with a full 360-degree view of the tank’s surroundings, while the digital sighting system reports target data with full parameters.
A host of other advanced systems, GLONASS-based navigation, and radio communications equipment provide vital information about the surrounding environment. With such strong capabilities, why hasn’t this tank been rushed to the Ukrainian battlefield yet?
The answer lies in the manufacturing and cost challenges plaguing the Russian defense industry. The expected high price tag of up to 8 million USD for each Armata is a huge challenge.
It is not surprising that the Russian Army, which has struggled to balance procurement costs in the past, is hesitant to buy the T-14 on a large scale. Efforts to further develop Armata appear to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the T-14 tank cannot avoid criticism in Russia. Aleksandr Sherin, former First Vice Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, complained that the tank’s cost is too high, also it may not work against NATO.
Armata procurement was done sporadically. While the previous manufacturer Uralvagonzavod repeatedly delayed the delivery of the first mass-produced T-14s to the Russian Army.
Even at the end of 2021, it seems that none of the T-14 Armata tanks in the first batch of mass production have reached the combat units of the Russian Ground Forces.
While Russia’s state technology corporation Rostec announced in December 2021 that the T-14 was already in mass production and that the Armata would be delivered by the end of 2022, it remains unclear whether this goal will be achieved or not.
Without sufficient mass production, it is very unlikely that the experimental prototype of the T-14 Armata tank will be deployed by the Russian military leaders to the Ukrainian battlefield.
They will have to be very careful to avoid losing any Armata in the war in Ukraine, in addition, if the number of T-14 tanks is too small, it will not change the situation of the fighting.
Unless Russia’s military leaders spend significant amounts of money and push up the assembly line, we won’t see the T-14 Armata main battle tank in action in Ukraine anytime soon.