The first batch of T14 Armata tanks will be delivered to Russian forces at the end of the year

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According to the Tass agency, citing the general director of the Rostec company, Sergei Chemezov, the first batch of the new Russian T14 Armata battle tank will be delivered at the end of 2019, or at the very beginning of 2020. The armored vehicles delivered will not be in their series configuration, but in standard described as experimental by the CEO of Rostec. Initially, the first delivery this year was to consist of 12 T14s and 4 T16 tank wreckers, which were to be in production version, first delivery of'an order of 132 T14, T15 and T16 announced in September 2018, and to be delivered by 2021. The announcement made today, not being any T16 and not specifying any number of tanks, but specifying that they will be delivered in an "experimental" version, suggests that the production of the new Russian tank is still encountering difficulties.

The T14 Armata combat tank, together with the T15 infantry fighting vehicle and the T16 tank wrecker, were presented to the public at the military parade on May 9, 2015. The new armor breaks with the Russian tradition of powerful armored vehicles and cheap, like the T72 or the T90. Indeed, the T14 is a concentrate of technologies, being equipped with an automated unmanned turret, a crew of 3 positioned in an armored survival capsule at the front of the tank, and a large number of optronic, detection and communication systems. It also carries new generation armor, supplemented by the Afghanit active protection system, capable of intercepting missiles and shells over 360° before they hit the vehicle.

T14 Armata inside Defense News | Armed Forces Budgets and Defense Efforts | MBT battle tanks
View of the interface available to the T14 Armata crew in the piloting and survival capsule.

All this has a price, and according to available estimates, the T14 would reach $4 million per unit, or nearly 3 times the price of a T90M and 4 times that of a T72B3M. Like the Russian air forces with the Su57, or the naval forces with the 22350 Gorshkov and 22350M Super Gorshkov frigates, the Russian land forces are therefore engaged in strong qualitative technological development, necessarily leading to an increase in equipment acquisition and maintenance costs. But unlike Westerners, and Europeans in particular, Russian strategists implement a dual strategy, combining a limited number of high-performance, therefore expensive, equipment in the hands of the best trained forces, and a significant number of old generation but modernized equipment, certainly less efficient, but also much less expensive, implemented by less trained forces, such as conscript battalions which still represent 40% of the workforce, and reservist forces, exceeding 4 millions of men. This approach makes it possible to maintain a very positive balance of power against the European bloc of NATO, despite means that could be described as “weak” vis-à-vis the United States, China, or the Europeans.

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