War in Ukraine: T-14 Armata tanks deployed by the Russian army in the Donbas?

In recent years, Russia has highlighted several new military equipments, including the Su-57 “Felon” fifth-generation fighter-bomber, the S-70 “Okhotnik-B” combat drone, the Uran range robots, the T-14 Armata tank, and the T-15 vehicle infantry fighter.

However, this cutting-edge hardware has been kept under wraps since the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine when its implementation has no decisive effect on the continuation of warfare, as with the MiG-31usage K’s of the Kinjal hypersonic missile, for example.

However, in October, Moscow claimed to have committed four Su-57 “Felons” to “destroy” Ukrainian air defense systems, which could not be independently confirmed. However, it would be fine if at least two aircraft of this type [than in the state of prototype] had been deployed in Syria in 2018. 

The Russian aerospace force expects 76 copies [ enough to equip three “regiments”], and the first production devices would have been delivered to him.

As for the S-70 Okhotnik-B, designed to operate alongside the Su-57 “Felon,” it has not been much discussed since the Russian aeronautical consortium OAK announced its intention to mass produce it. , in August 2021, with deliveries scheduled for 2024.

In the field of robotics, we know that the Russian forces have deployed the Uran-6 demining robot in the Donbas, a region in south-eastern Ukraine that has passed almost entirely under their control. But there is no indication, to date, that they have engaged Uran-9 [or Platform-M] armed robots.

Regarding tanks, the most recent sent into combat is the T-90M “Proryv-3”, equipped with a 2A46M-4 125 mm smoothbore gun, an automated fire control system “Kalina,” ‘Relikt’ active protection, and a remotely operated 12.7 mm machine gun. 

At least two were destroyed by the Ukrainian army, which captured two others. In total, the Russian forces lost at least seven.

Also, so far, the T-14 Armata has not been deployed in Ukraine, nor, by the way, has the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle. Last year, after tests carried out in Syria, a Russian official assured that the first twenty tanks would be delivered by 2021.

 “Work is currently underway to produce a pilot batch before the end of state tests in order to obtain an operational evaluation” within the troops he had entrusted to the agency TASS.

What about now? At the end of November, a video showing at least one T-14 Armata on a training ground located in the Kazan [Volga] region was released via social networks. Even if the date on which they were taken was unknown, it was enough to fuel speculation about a possible engagement of this tank in Ukraine.

As a reminder, and as underlined by Marc Chassillan, a specialist in armored vehicles, in the latest special issue of RAIDS magazine on combat tanks, the T-14 “Armata” is a tank with “revolutionary architecture” because in “total break with the machines” that it will replace, thanks to the combination of three elements: “a sharp increase in mass classes, the adoption of remotely operated main weapons and the general installation of active protection systems.”

In detail, displaying a mass of around 57 tonnes, the T-14 Armata is powered by a CTZ A85-3A diesel engine with sixteen cylinders arranged in an “X” arrangement, with a power of 1500 hp. 

Implemented by a three-person crew in a multi-layered armored capsule, separated from ammunition, it is equipped with a remotely operated turret carrying a 125 mm gun and a suite of sensors, radars, high-resolution cameras, and the Afganit-type active protection system. Its armament is supplemented by Sokol anti-tank missiles, a 12.7 mm machine gun, and a 30 mm cannon.

A month after the broadcast of the video filmed in Kazan, the Russian journalist [and propagandist] Vladimir Solovyov claimed to have seen T-14 Armata in the Donbas. And to publish photographs taken on this occasion on its social networks.

However, there is currently nothing to confirm this information. Moreover, according to the American analyst, Rob Lee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the images produced by Mr. Soloviev would have a priori been taken In Kazan.

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