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Why Russia’s New T-14 Armata Tank Isn’t Fighting In Ukraine

Russia T-14 Armata
Russian Armata T-14 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Where is Russia’s T-14 Armata?  Not in Ukraine – Notably absent in Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine has been the T-14 Armata tank, but that’s probably for the best. Since launching the unprovoked and unwarranted invasion in February, hundreds of Russian tanks have been destroyed. Though the T-14 hasn’t been among the tanks lost, it has been a casualty in other ways.

It was reported this month that sanctions imposed on Moscow have stopped the planned serial production. It is the latest setback for a tank that was supposed to enter service several years ago.

The situation will likely not improve. As Forbes reported this month, since 2014 the UK paid some $30 billion for Russian oil and gas – enough money to enable Moscow to purchase 8,000 of the next-generation main battle tanks (MBTs).

Russian oil is still flowing to Western Europe, but the sanctions have been strong enough that production of the T-14 has been halted.

Meet the T-14 Armata

The Armata T-14 MBT was first demonstrated during the May 2015 Victory Parade in Moscow. It was just one component of the Armata heavy-tracked standardized platform, which serves as the basis to develop the main battle tank, an infantry fighting vehicle, an armored personnel carrier, and some other armored vehicles.

The next-generation T-14 was notable in that it featured fully digitized equipment, an unmanned turret and an isolated armored capsule for the crew.

Work on the Armata project began in 2010 when the Russian Ministry of Defence terminated work on “Object-195” – the T-95 program.

The entire Armata project was seen to be a huge technological leap from Soviet-era military hardware designs and from the ground up the T-14 is very much distinct from past Soviet/Russian tank platforms.

The outline of the tank, from its hull to its long and boxy turret, more closely resembles modern western tank turret designs, and is quite the departure from previous Soviet designs.

The T-14 Armata was also notable in that it featured seven road wheels instead of the six wheels that were commonplace on most previous Cold War Soviet and even modern Russian MBTs. It was also far more compartmentalized than even contemporary western tanks.

Unmanned Turret

Among the T-14’s innovative characteristics is its unmanned turret, which was developed to house a remotely controlled 125-millimeter 2A82-1M smoothbore main gun and fully automated loader.

Within the tank’s magazine, a total of 45 rounds of ammunition can be stored. The main gun is also designed to fire laser-guided missiles. In addition, the 2A82 125mm gun can even be upgraded to the 2A83 152mm gun, while the T-14 was also equipped with secondary weapons including the Kord 12.7mm or a PKTM 7.62mm machine gun.

The three-man crew – which includes the tank commander, driver/mechanic, and gunner are all housed in a crew compartment located in an armored capsule at the front portion of the hull, isolated from the automatic loader as well as the ammunition storage in the center of the tank. This was meant to provide increased survivability for the crew – and unlike other tanks, this Armata platform features an internal toilet (described as part of the internal “life support system”).

Each crew member also has his own hatch at the front of the tank, with the gunner positioned on the left, the gunner in the middle and the commander at the right.

Modular Design

The modular design of the T-14 also includes an advanced armor system, which consists of steel, ceramics, and composite materials. The tank’s forward section is designed with reactive armor, while the rear is fitted with bar armor to provide enhanced protection from anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades. To help ensure that the tank won’t need to actually rely on the armor to protect the crew in a fight, it is outfitted with multispectral sights with visible scope, thermal channels, and even laser rangefinders. The goal was to take out any potential threat before it could put the tank in the crosshairs.

According to Army Technology, the commander’s sight is mounted on top of the turret where it can provide a 360-degree field of view, whereas the gunner’s sight is fitted with a direct-vision periscope and a laser designator. In addition, wide-angle cameras are mounted to further enhance the situation awareness of the crew, while electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) based laser warning receivers are provided to spot potential threats.

Another option for any tanker is to get out of a fight it can’t win. To accomplish that, the T-14 was designed to be powered by a gas-turbine engine that provided 1,500 hp, and was coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. In theory, the T-14 could have a maximum speed of 80 to 90 km/h and a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

Russia has continued to upgrade the T-14 Armata as well, and last month there were reports that an unmanned version of the tank was in the works while the remotely controlled 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore main gun could be upgraded along with the turret to a 152mm gun. Russia has even explored the possibility of arming the tank with a hypersonic missile system.

Despite the advances, the biggest threat posed to the T-14 may not come from foreign adversaries but rather the cost, as each vehicle reportedly costs upwards of $4 million apiece. Moscow had originally planned to buy upwards of 2,300 of the T-14s by 2025, but that has been scaled down significantly. Now with those sanctions, the Russian military may have to make do with the few dozen that have been produced.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.



  1. Commentar

    April 20, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    Armata seems to be merely a response to Abrams and challenger and leopard 2. Noyhinh more.

    The really bona fide next generation of tanks should be tanks like merkava but equipped with unmanned turret/turret separated from hull by a horizontal sliding door.

    The current tanks in the possession of most armies today CAN BE TRACED DIRECTLY back to the little renault FT tank of ww1, thus they are all obsolete.

  2. Alex

    April 20, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    Why print the same articles? After all, it was said that the T-14 was not created for the war against the Papuans in Ukraine, but against the NATO countries. But such information, apparently, is too complicated for some.
    There are already more than 150 T-14 tanks in combat units, what dozens are we talking about?

  3. Monoculus

    April 24, 2022 at 2:00 am

    Alex, you’re lying. T14 was not even produced 150 pieces. The truth is that the Armata platform has technical problems. Even the factory for its production is not quite finished. Those pairs of pieces are used to show the muscles in Red Square.

  4. Alex

    April 24, 2022 at 4:47 am

    When you accuse a person of lying, use facts, otherwise you look like a cheap prostitute. The report of a German journalist is more convincing than your squeal.

  5. Jacksonian Libertarian

    April 25, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Authoritarian Governments frequently build new fake weapons to delude their people that they are competitive militarily with the 1st World. Even when these weapons are semi-functional they will never see more than limited production, and losing them in battle would defeat their PR value.

    Stealth fighters are a good example. Russia has a handful not being used in Ukraine, and China has ~25 J-20s with under powered engines (China can’t build engines worth a damn), while the 1st World has 700+ F-35s, 185 F-22s, and 20 B-2 stealth bombers with more stealth fighters, Drones, and Bombers in the works.

  6. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 2:18 am

    And all this is extremely easily destroyed by the air defense of China and Russia 🙂

  7. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Yes Alex, “easily” …. you idiots can’t even maintain air superiority, never mind supremacy, over a neighbour… truly pathetic.

  8. Alex

    May 10, 2022 at 11:05 am

    And now, instead of tantrums and fantasies, let’s face it.

    Zelensky is a Kremlin agent.

    So in just two months:

    1. Actively extorted money from the West.

    2. Strengthened the ruble.

    3. In addition to the Crimea, he gave Donbass to Russia.

    4.. Turned off the gas at the whole of Europe, sending it to the Middle Ages.

    5. Ruined the pockets of drivers, farmers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers in the EU and the US.

    6. Since the beginning of the special operation, almost all major competitors from Russia have left, making room for Russian entrepreneurs.

    7. Begging for so many weapons that even Scholz said that the Bundeswehr was running out of weapons “for himself.”

    8. He collected all the crap of the Ukrainian Nazi subculture – tattooed Nazis, outcasts, idiots, maniacs, murderers from Europe and other countries in one place, where the Russians kill them in batches and promptly deliver them to Bandera.

    9. United the Russian people around their leader. Russia has never known such powerful support for the actions of the President and his cabinet during all the terms of his reign.

    10. He sent into emigration the entire corrupt beau monde of the Russian stage and cinema, with pockets full of “wishes” from the grateful Russian people.

    Never before has Russia been as good as under Zelensky.

  9. Alex

    May 11, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    A bit of truth.

    The head of the UN monitoring mission, Matilda Bogner, said that the organization has reliable information about the torture of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian captivity:
    “Ukraine and Russia must promptly and effectively investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war,” she said.

    The military-civilian administration of the Kherson region announced their intention to appeal to Putin with a request to include the region into Russia:
    “We intend to live as part of the Russian Federation. We fully cooperate and feel as one with the regions of Russia.”

    Pfizer, Moderna, Merck, Gilead are testing medicines in Ukraine, bypassing international safety standards, reducing the costs of research programs and gaining significant competitive advantages. Coronavirus vaccine manufacturers have been involved in US military biological activities.

    Along with American pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian state structures are involved in military biological activities, the main tasks of which are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials, and provide the necessary biomaterial.
    The American side expanded its research potential both in the field of creating biological weapons and in the field of obtaining information about antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to various diseases in the population of specific regions.

    Ukraine has long become a training ground for Western countries to create biological weapons components and test new samples of pharmaceuticals.

    The United States, as part of its military biological program in Ukraine, used Mariupol as a regional center for work with the cholera pathogen.
    Evidence was obtained of the emergency destruction of documents confirming work with the US military department. A preliminary analysis of the surviving documentation indicates the use of Mariupol as a regional center for the collection and certification of the cholera pathogen.

    The selected strains were sent to the public health center in Kyiv, which is entrusted with the functions of further sending biomaterials to the United States.
    This activity has been carried out since 2014, which is confirmed by the acts of transfer of strains.

    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Fox News recalled that the United States supplied weapons to Ukraine long before the start of the Russian special operation.
    “The Biden administration was supplying weapons long before the invasion. The first billion dollars that the president allocated for Ukraine did indeed include assistance with lethal weapons … The United States, Canada, Britain, other allies actually helped prepare the Ukrainians, ”Kirby quoted the TV channel as saying.

    As military experts and analysts had previously assumed, Ukraine would have brought down all its military power on the Donbass in any case, but Russia was the first to come to the aid of Donyuass.

    The world is watching. The world sees. Lies are dying.

  10. Alex

    May 12, 2022 at 10:21 am

    OK. In Ukraine, 10,000 Russian and 1,000 Russian tanks are destroyed every day. It’s not even funny to read, but it’s not interesting anymore. Let’s talk about the collapsed Russian economy:

    The Russian ruble has become the best world currency in 2022. On Thursday, May 12, Bloomberg reported.

    According to the latest data, the ruble has grown by 11 percent against the dollar since the beginning of 2022. Thus, it has become the leader among the 31 major currencies monitored by the agency’s experts.

    The strengthening of the currency came after the measures taken by the Russian government against the backdrop of Western sanctions, writes Bloomberg. It is clarified that the authorities introduced capital controls, and also obliged exporters to sell foreign exchange earnings. In particular, in March, the President of Russia announced a new procedure for paying for gas by European consumers.

    As similar examples, the authors of the article cite the Turkish lira and the Argentine peso, which failed to achieve maximum growth rates after the decisions of the governments of these countries. The Russian currency, on the contrary, responded well to the measures taken, Bloomberg experts conclude.

    Only facts, not squeals and fantasies of Bandera Nazis and Slavophobes.

  11. Alex

    May 15, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    A demobilized French soldier, author of the book “Get up and go thanks to science” Adrien Boke went to Ukraine on a humanitarian mission and spent three weeks there.

    Upon his return, he decided to convey to the French information about the events he had witnessed in Ukraine.

    “I take full responsibility for what I say. While in Ukraine, I witnessed war crimes. All of them were committed by the Ukrainian army. But in France we don’t talk about it!

    When I returned to France from Ukraine, I was shocked: TV channels invite as experts people who have not been to Ukraine and do not know anything about what is happening there now. However, they dare to speculate about these events. Between what I hear from the TV screen and what I saw with my own eyes is an abyss.

    Azov fighters are everywhere. With neo-Nazi stripes. It shocks me that Europe is supplying weapons to neo-Nazis. Not only do they not hide their views. They advertise them. I worked with these people and treated them.

    Being there, there was nothing I could do. Just watch and make videos. I have this footage and will use it as evidence of Ukraine’s crimes.

    I witnessed how the Ukrainian military shot through the knees of captured Russian soldiers and shot in the head higher-ranking officers.

    I have personally seen American videographers making fake footage from the scene of the events staging.

    All destroyed civilian buildings, given out by Ukraine for bombardment of civilians, are nothing more than the result of inaccurate shooting by Ukrainians at military facilities.

    The Armed Forces of Ukraine hide ammunition in residential buildings at night, without even informing the residents. This is called using people as a shield, ”Boke quotes one of the French media.

    The Washington Post recently drew attention to the fact that Ukrainian troops are placing military equipment in residential areas of cities in an attempt to counter the Russian Armed Forces, which threatens the lives of civilians.

    Boke also spoke about the untruthfulness of Western media reports about the events in Bucha.

    “Bucha is a staging. The bodies of the dead were moved from other places and deliberately placed in such a way as to produce shocking footage, ”the French author noted.

    The documents confirming this were submitted to the Federal Security Service – how, who – there are relevant intercepts – on what transport he came to this settlement and created the conditions for organizing this provocation.

    Soon all the collected evidence about the crimes of the Nazis in Ukraine will be seen by the whole world. And the most important thing is the help of Western countries to the Nazis of Ukraine and assistance in their crimes.

  12. Eric

    May 15, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Alex, use facts, otherwise you look like a cheap prostitute.

  13. Alex

    May 15, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    I like the way Bandera’s pigs are on fire. The whole world cannot be deceived. You can squeal, hysteria, complain to anyone, but you will be destroyed, Bendera Nazis.

    A correspondent from Venezuela spoke about the lies of the Western media about the situation around Ukraine:

    The Western media present a lot of false information about the special operation of the Russian Federation to protect the Donbass and about what is happening in Ukraine. This was announced on Saturday, March 26, in an interview by a Venezuelan correspondent for the TeleSUR news network.

    According to him, he became stronger in this opinion when he arrived in Ukraine. Moreover, in order to tell the truth about what is happening, I had to overcome the financial and administrative difficulties associated with the US blockade of Venezuela.

    “There is a lot of toxic, manipulative, false information in the world media. Many in Latin America and the Caribbean get their information from the world’s mainstream media. At the same time, they have not talked about the tragedy of Donbass in recent years,” the journalist noted.

    As the reporter emphasized, much that is happening at the moment is hushed up.

    “Not a word about constant bombardments, civilian casualties. Many media show this conflict as a struggle between dictatorship and democracy represented by Ukraine. We know that this is not true, we know what the Nazis really did here. But people are poisoned by the lies of the major Western media. The task of a journalist is to tell the truth, to convey to people what is really happening, ”he said.

    TeleSUR is a Latin American and Caribbean news network headquartered in Caracas.

    Earlier, on March 20, French volunteer sniper Ervan Castel, who arrived in Donbass in 2014 and joined the ranks of the militia, accused Western countries of a flood of fake news after the start of the Russian special operation. He named the material of the Italian edition La Stampa as one of the examples, where the photos after the strike by the Ukrainian Tochka-U missile in the center of Donetsk were cited as “confirmation of the bombardment of Kyiv by the Russian army.”

  14. John

    May 16, 2022 at 10:47 am

    In the course of a special operation in Ukraine, documentary evidence was obtained that in the immediate vicinity of the Russian borders, in fact, components of biological weapons were created. In violation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Possible methods and mechanisms for destabilizing the epidemiological situation in the post-Soviet space were worked out.
    The Parliamentary Commission on Biolaboratories received confirmation of non-compliance by the United States and Ukraine with a ban on the development of bioweapons.
    Evidence has already been obtained in terms of non-compliance by the United States and Ukraine with their obligations to comply with the UN Convention on the Prohibition of the Development of Bioweapons.
    The Commission on Biolaboratories has begun analyzing the reports of the United States and Ukraine for 5 years on the implementation of the Convention on Bioweapons, in addition, the facts of providing false information by Washington and Kyiv to the Secretariat of the Conference on Bioweapons have been established.
    Consideration of these issues (about biolaboratories) will be held at the UN Security Council. The US authorities are obliged to answer many questions.
    Facts have been established that both the United States and Ukraine provided incomplete or inaccurate information. So there is a complete concealment in the reports of information on biological programs with the support of the US Department of Defense in Ukraine. All reports from Ukraine report a lack of national biosecurity research and development programs.
    1. In a number of cases, information on outbreaks of infectious diseases was not provided, which is a mandatory requirement.
    2. There were no reports of the participation of military personnel in the work of laboratories, as well as the facts of the transfer of biomaterials, funding of facilities and programs by the military departments.
    For example, in 2019, as part of a Pentagon program, two laboratories were built in Kyiv and Odessa for the State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. The answer to the question why the United States needs secret military laboratories in Ukraine, which are not reported in the BTWC reports, is certainly related to the nature of research in the United States.
    There is also evidence of biological weapons research on patients in Ukrainian psychiatric hospitals.
    It is obvious that the Ukrainians were used in the same way as the Third Reich used at one time.

  15. Fluffy Dog

    May 18, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    I really can’t figure out why this article is hyping T-14. I have a number of questions just looking at it. Not to mention reports dating back to 2015 that it uses non-Russian electronics, which should tell you something in current environment….

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