After a short stint on the front lines, Russia’s “top-of-the-line” T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT) has been pulled from the ongoing invasion.
Since February 2022, Moscow has deployed several tank variants to aid its offensive efforts in Ukraine. It is fair to say that none of the MBTs have proved to be as capable as the Kremlin frequently boasts. Since the invasion began, analysts estimate that more than 2,000 Russian tanks have been obliterated. This staggering number includes newer MBT models and antiquated Soviet-era armored vehicles.
A brief history of the T-14 Armata
The Armata was initially revealed in 2015, although like many other Russian military equipment experienced several big delays. In 2010, Russia’s Ural Design Bureau began to work on a newer MBT following the cancellation of the T-95 project. Within a few years, Object 148 was in full swing and culminated in the Armata. Notably, when Russia first debuted the T-14 during its annual Victory Day parade in 2015, the tank stopped moving mid-parade and lost power for a short period of time.
Russian tanks have suffered greatly in Ukraine
Right before the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade revealed that the Armata was undergoing combat tests in Syria. However, two years later the same department announced that the platform’s production had been stalled due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Instead of deploying its newest and reportedly most enhanced MBT, the Kremlin sent over T-72s, T-80s and T-90’s to the frontlines. Storage-ridden T-54s and T-55 were later added to Russia’s war efforts and unsurprisingly have not fared well against Ukraine’s arsenal.
Earlier this year, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated that more than half of Russia’s modern tanks had been lost in the war and roughly two-thirds of its T-80 inventory had been depleted. In addition to the advanced anti-tank weaponry Ukraine has utilized against Moscow’s MBT fleets, including the FGM-148 Javelin and HIMARS, many tanks were captured or simply left behind by ill-equipped soldiers. Logistical oversights, lack of repair equipment and an absence of training and maintenance forced some Russian troops to abandon broken MBTs by the front lines.
How has the T-14 Armata fared in Kyiv?
Back in April, the T-14 Armata made its first appearance in Ukraine. The Kremlin had widely boasted that this “formidable” armored vehicle would wipe out foreign competitors in Ukraine. Among the tank’s capabilities is an unmanned turret and a 125mm main cannon. Its hull is fitted with a modular armor system comprised of ceramics, steel and composite materials. As detailed by Army Technology,“ The tank is anticipated to offer up to STANAG 4569 Level 5 protection. Its forward portion is covered with reactive armorr, whereas the rear is fitted with bar armor to provide added protection against anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The tank can also be hinged with additional active and passive armor.”
The quick withdrawal of the Armata from Ukraine suggests that Russian forces were not pleased with the tank’s performance. Ukraine will soon deploy American-made M1A1 Abrams in addition to British Challengers and German Leopard 2s as part of its counter-offensive, which should worry Russia.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.
Trending on 45 Right Now