Russia refining T-14 tank through lessons learned in Ukraine war

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Following the commencement of expansive terrestrial maneuvers by the Russian military force in Ukraine, initiated in February 2022, conjecture has proliferated concerning the potential fielding of the formidable T-14 Armata main battle tanks in the conflict zone. 

Photo by Natalia Kolenskinova

Unveiled in 2015, the tank class has ostensibly revolutionized performance capabilities across all domains, potentially making it the world’s most proficient on paper. However, its conspicuous absence from the Russian Army’s active service suggests it may have encountered significant developmental issues. 

It is widely accepted that the production of T-14 tanks has yielded an estimated total of around 100 units. Speculation was rife in late 2022 when footage emerged, purportedly showcasing these T-14s in action within the borders of Ukraine. However, it wasn’t until the concluding week of April 2023 that it was definitively confirmed that these formidable machines were indeed operating in tandem with Russian forces in close proximity to the battlegrounds. 

Refinement data

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On May 16, purported video evidence surfaced, ostensibly showcasing a T-14 tank launching an assault on Ukrainian strongholds. The initial insights into the operations were divulged by an undisclosed source within the Russian defense sector, whose statements were reported by the state-run media agency TASS on August 21. The source disclosed, “The Armata tank has been deployed on multiple occasions in the conflict-ridden zone of Ukraine. The data gleaned from its performance in the special military operation is currently being utilized to refine the vehicle.”

The industry insider conveyed that the employment of the T-14 tanks is not without an ulterior motive. The tanks are subjected to a series of rigorous operational testing in Ukraine, offering an opportunity for further refinement based on the outcomes of these field trials. The source further revealed that Battlegroup South has strategically deployed several T-14s, to evaluate their efficacy within the harsh realities of an actual war zone.

In the wake of certain events, the tanks were strategically retracted from the frontlines. Despite the significant escalation in Russia’s tank production capabilities, the status of the T-14, in terms of its transition into serial production, remains shrouded in a high degree of uncertainty. 

T-90 is the best in Ukraine

The latest consignments, as evidenced in Ukraine, have exclusively consisted of T-90M tanks. These are extensively modernized versions of the Soviet-era T-64 tank, which was first introduced in the early 1960s.

The T-90M, akin to its predecessor, the T-64, is a completely new battle tank design, universally recognized as being significantly advanced for its era. Nonetheless, it has encountered considerable setbacks in its induction into service, a fact that becomes particularly evident when one considers that the Soviet Army had planned to deploy a vehicle of comparable capability, equipped with similar features, as early as the late 1990s.

Photo credit: Aleksey Mayshev

Among the prominent characteristics of the tank are its state-of-the-art sensors, an engagement range that is approximately three times greater than that of current NATO tanks, and the provision to employ Vaccum-1 anti-armour rounds. Moreover, the tank boasts remarkably high levels of armor protection, specifically designed to safeguard the crew within. Equally notable is its superior mobility and  power-to-weight ratio that sets it apart from its counterparts.

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