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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Russia’s T-14 Armata Tank May Have Made it to Ukraine After All

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

Photos and videos on social media have shown Russia’s vaunted T-14 Armata tank finally in action in Ukraine. You can see the video on Telegram here and the photo on Twitter here.

T-14 Armata in Ukraine?

The T-14 was operating near the village of Midginskaya near Luhansk on October 8. Russia’s most advanced tank is highly mobile with ample crew protection and powerful sensors. But the T-14’s production has been curbed by sanctions against the Russian arms industry. Its numbers are limited, and the T-14 may see more units exported to other countries in the future. 

Russian Tank Failures

The tank is supposed to be potent and lethal. It reportedly made an appearance on the battlefield in Syria in 2020 but has been absent in Ukraine up until recently. The Russian military has over-hyped the vehicle and did not realize how difficult it can be to build and field a new main battle tank. Plus, Ukraine has been a killing field for Russian tanks with numerous models destroyed or abandoned. Ukrainian soldiers and farmers tow them to the rear where they are examined and repaired then are re-flagged for the Ukrainian army.

Could the T-14 Be a Remedy?

The T-14 does have enviable features. It can shoot down anti-tank missiles with its active protection system and network easily with other tanks and armored vehicles. The idea was for it to lead formations and provide situational awareness for larger tank units.

Powerful Engines and Excellent Crew Protection 

The T-14’s ChTZ 12N360 diesel engine pushes out 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower enabling an impressive speed of up to 50 miles per hour on roads. 

For crew protection, there is Malachit dual-explosive reactive armor. Three soldiers fight out of a separate crew capsule. All controls are digital. The Afghanit active protection system is a real jewel should it work as advertised. The Afghanit can detect an incoming rocket or missile, track its path, and then fire its own intercepting munitions to eliminate the threat. The turret is unmanned and employs the 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore main gun.

T-14 Armata: It Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

But the program has been disappointing. The Russian army originally wanted over 2,000 Armatas sent to the troops in 2025 for $4 million per unit. Then that estimated number was reduced to only 132 T-14s in 2020.

Quality But No Quantity   

While the T-14 may be in Ukraine, it is difficult to see it make a difference with such a low number of units deployed. It may have quality, but it is not being deployed in quantity. It shows that the Russian defense industry is not pulling its weight. This could be due to sanctions or just poor manufacturing execution.

Ukraine Is Too Good At Fighting Tanks 

Ukraine does not appear to be afraid of Russian tanks in the slightest. They have numerous anti-tank missiles such as the Javelin, NLAW, and Stugna-P. They are quick to pounce on abandoned tanks and re-flag them to fight for the defenders. Russian tanks are often destroyed by accurate artillery fire or drones, with unmanned vehicles either dropping munitions or providing targeting data to Ukraine’s howitzers.

Russia T-14

Russian Armata T-14 Tank Prototype from above.

T-14 Armata

T-14 Armata. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ukraine T-14

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

Another Example of Not Living Up to Expectations

The T-14 is a cautionary tale. Why develop such a tank that is loaded with excellent features and then not produce it in numbers? It should have been deployed early in the war and incorporated with T-90s to give the Russians next-generation armored capability. The T-14 could have been a key battlefield feature that could “quarterback” other tanks in the fleet. Now it is more of an afterthought and even though it may continue to fight in Ukraine, it is difficult to see it dominating to the point that Ukraine would fear it.

Just wait until one is abandoned and captured by Ukraine, you will surely see a public relations bonanza for the Ukrainian side.

Expert Biography: Serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.



  1. Captain Ballistic

    October 11, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    Russia builds junk.

  2. Bender

    October 11, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    oh boy, Russia is really desperate if they are throwing in their only ~20 T-14 tanks…
    Anyway, I can’t wait for the first one to be captured.

  3. War Historian

    October 11, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    lol,….the NPCs are out in force, they lap up the fake anti Russian propaganda like a kitten laps up a saucer full of cream.

  4. Frank

    October 12, 2022 at 1:15 am

    @Bender, the T-14 reportedly seen in Ukraine was actually wrong. You can watch Red Effect’s video debunking the claims. Also, you seem to think it’s the average tank in Ukraine… It isn’t, It has the reverse speed of a Nato tank and reportedly 90kph forward. CIVS, hard APS, soft APS, and impenetrable front armor.

  5. xtron

    October 12, 2022 at 8:41 am

    it can interface with other amored vehicals…which russia has yet to produce
    it can shoot down incomming missiles and rounds….as long as they come one or two at a time…what happens if you throw 3 artillery rounds and 4 nlaws at it at the same time??
    the new engine is suspect, as is every piece of new cutting edge tech produced for the military.
    to get to 50MPH on the road, they sacrifice protection for speed. and as every attempt at this thru out history has had poor results, why will this attempt be any better??

  6. xheavy

    November 1, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    Its a pretty tank. However to penetrate a tank armor you need weapons that can do it. I have learned of full up modern tanks including possibly a Armata or two being put out of the fight years ago.

    The posted telegram video is a training ground in Russia. So thats out. I dont think RU wants to commit that platform into UKR to be captured or otherwise instantly exploited. USA would gather everything it can with both hands in a few hours. RU cannot be that stupid.

    Abrams X is a nice pretty thing. Light implies less fuel onboard, less armor and so on. I rather have the fuel, armor and so forth. 70 ton isnt that heavy. Ive been at 70 ton in trucking a few times on a old 60’s era Mack inline 6 engine. A thousand horse diesel will handle 70 ton well enough.

    You can enjoy the mobility, but when the RU hordes of tanks come, its going to be hull down showing just the turret for a day of sport. Not flitting around the front line being shot at by 500 tanks and everything else at once.

    The article exposed one weakness. We spent 30 years eradicating terrorists like roaches. The last tank on tank was Easting during Desert Storm. You will have enemy Infantry constantly working to get to the Abrams X model just as we would love to grab a new Armata. We cannot be that stupid to ignore the reality that infantry will come out of the woodwork to get at the Abrams X.

    Bradleys are not sufficiently survivable. Only Israel has used older Merkeva Tanks into infantry carriers in actual war and to date no lives were lost in the Turtles. (Namers Armored Troop Carrier)

    The RU Ternimator Escort Platform tank staying with one Armata will become a team of three tanks together and it will be very difficult to eradicate them.

    Mobility? HA. The modern war is a very hard teacher. You have had rivers crossings where entire Armored Units were destroyed waiting on the bridges which are also destroyed. They have not had too much luck with that in the UKR war, why should we the USA expect mobility in a future land that is also destroyed?

    I might even want to have the new Amphibious Marine Infantry Carrier. Cross rivers with those straight in and over. Splish Splash. No bridges needed. Worry about them when the nest is cleared sufficiently to whistle up a bridge drop tank to wheel in and unfold it in a few moments for the tankies to dash across.

    The biggest problem is visibility. You are not going to have people firing at your tank on any nation in ones and twos. You are going to be experiencing a cloud of inbound munitions of all kinds as hundreds to thousands have a desire to kill a tank. Or a whole bunch of tanks at once. Poof. Trophy, Afghanit or any of those fancy toys with a few dozen counter measures will run dry and it will be down to the armor. Again.

    And I think the Abrams X will lose if shot at long enough. German tanks in battle during WW2 have sometimes had finest armor but eventually have experiences where the crews in them will see daylight between failed welds expanding between the armor plate due to excessive incoming firepower hammering on them.

    You cannot harden electronics to expect such punishment over time. UNLESS you were able to ditch wiring entirely internally and go wireless short range from a extremely protected signal box. As long you have power which I think you do with the aux engine aboard the Abrams X you can make do.

    The first thing I would do to a new vehicle is try to get it stuck in the deepest mudhole in the wettest bayou. Then we will modify the tracks and so on until it does not get stuck anymore. We are in a season now proir to cold frozen winter where the ground is pluff and will get anything stuck if you leave it sit a moment. Whoof. Sunk into the ground up to the axles.

    In trucking we had a rule never put any of the 18 wheels onto grass that is green. That implies water in the soil below that green grass. You will sink straight in and get instantly stuck. And that will get you killed in battle. From what I have seen in the current war, the ground dictates where you can go or not go. Just dont get stuck. Or try to cross rivers.

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