T-14 Armata vs Abrams M1A2 – no one knows what the Armata is

The first reports that Moscow was preparing to send a small batch of T-14 Armata tanks arrived in January 2023. On January 25th, the British Intelligence Daily Bulletin, which is shared by the UK Ministry of Defense on Twitter, published this information.

Later that week, video footage emerged of the T-14 Armata conducting training at the Kazan training range. At the end of April, the Russian media Izvestia and RIA Novosti wrote that the T-14 was already in Ukraine and fighting in the war. According to the two media reports, the tank engaged deep in the rear of the Russian army and struck from afar.

However, it is difficult to imagine what the capabilities of the tank are. We only have technical characteristics shared by Russian manufacturers. One of the prototypes was tested in Syria years ago, but information is missing from this test as well. How the tank is doing in Ukraine is also unknown.

I.e. at the moment, the technological capabilities, performance, and efficiency of the new technologies in the tank remain unknown. Its characteristics also remain unknown, despite the available information from the manufacturer.

Tanks produced in the Soviet Union have met the American flagship of ground artillery, the Abrams. We recently wrote about the “battle of tanks” or “the biggest tank battle” of our modern age. Then in Iraq, Abrams mainly faced the T-72, which is still involved in Ukraine today on both sides of the conflict.

T-14 Armata operates in Ukraine, but fires from afar - media
Photo by Natalia Kolenskinova

In just about half an hour, nine Abrams tanks managed to eliminate 47 Soviet T-72s of the ground forces of the Iraqi army. Experts say that the main reason for this victory is the more advanced American technology in thermal sights.

It is said that precisely because of the observation advantage, American tanks engaged Iraqi tanks at a greater distance, simply because they could see their positions better.

Abrams is a heavier tank. This applies not only to the T-14 Armata but to every Russian tank, starting with the T-55 series. The T-14 Armata is said to weigh around 55 tons, which is 15 tons [70 tons] more than the Abrams.

This immediately brings us to the power blocks of the two tanks. Both the Abrams and the T-14 Armata are powered by engines delivering 1,500 horsepower. The difference is in the fuel – a turbo-petrol engine powers the Abrams, while a diesel engine powers the T-14 Armata.

With the question posed in this way, it is logical to ask the question, given the same power of the engines, which will have a greater advantage. Will the Russian tank, due to its lighter weight, not be more maneuverable compared to the Abrams? Yes, it’s totally possible.

Example of Ukraine: 9 Abrams destroy 47 Soviet tanks in minutes
Photo credit: US Army

Let’s also look at the range. According to the known characteristics of the T-14 Armata, it is possible to fire a 3UBK21 Sprinter missile. However, it remains unknown whether this missile was produced. We have known about it since years ago when its development began, but to date, it is unclear whether the T-14 will use the 3UBK21 Sprinter in Ukraine. If this is the case, we should note that according to Russian sources, the developers of this missile are aiming to achieve a range of 7 miles [11 km].

If this tank missile is not available, the T-14 will most likely fire the 9M119 Reflects projectile. The range of this projectile is 3.1 miles [5 km.]. This is also the range of the projectile used by Abrams at the moment, so by this indicator, there is no difference.

Both shells on both tanks are highly effective. The Russian 9M119 Reflecks round is said to be capable of penetrating 900 millimeters of armor. Whether that’s the case remains to be seen, but at least that’s what information is being shared over at Popular Mechanics.

Abrams M1A2 tanks for Ukraine will be green and much 'gelded' - US
Photo credit: Pixabay

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the Russian tank is the turret. It is unmanned, which means that there is no man in it, as we are used to seeing all tank models around the world. I.e. the pilot gunner’s place is inside the tank, not on top of the turret. This reduces the risk of him being killed.

In general, unmanned tank turrets imply a high degree of automation, robotics, and human control. Russia claims that the T-14’s turret is just that. But again – the progress of Russian engineers in this field of defense technology remains unknown. The US is familiar with unmanned turrets on armored vehicles, including tanks.

America has been working on this for years, so the engineers there know that if Russia has made progress at least to their level in this area, then the unmanned dome is a definite advantage.

In general, nothing is known about the T-14 Armata. What the armor configuration is is unknown. What are her capabilities to counter a tank shell or an anti-tank missile as well? It remains unknown what the active protection systems of the T-14 Armata are.

main battle tank t-14 armata
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The military community will be waiting with interest to see proof of some of the claims, including whether the tank is in Ukraine, how it performs in combat, and how the tank fares against a Western tank. If this tank is an Abrams – even better, then we will find out if modern Russian technologies have reached the level of American ones developed years ago.


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