At the end of November, a video appeared showing at least one T-14 “Armata” maneuvering at a training ground in the Kazan region [Volga] was broadcast via social media. And if the date on which it was filmed was unknown, this indicated that the deployment of the most modern Russian main battle tank in Ukraine was probably imminent. At least that was undoubtedly the aim of this communication.
A month later, Russian journalist Vladimir Soloviev, in turn, published images of T-14 tanks and claimed they were shot down in Donbass, a region annexed by Russia in September 2022. Furthermore, American analyst Rob Lee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute claimed that they were filmed…at a training ground in Russia, “probably that of Kazan.” And since then we hadn’t stopped there…
That being said, Russia would have every intention of sending T-14 Armatas. At least that is the assessment of the British secret service just published on January 19th.
So photos taken on December 23 by satellite [soit quelques jours avant la diffusion des images de Vladimir Soloviev] spotted two T-14 Armatas at the Kuzminka training camp in southern Russia. However, this “location has been linked to pre-deployment work for operations in Ukraine,” British intelligence said.
However, he does not know whether T-14 Armata have actually been sent to Ukraine since then. On the other hand, he continues, its use “is likely to pose a high risk for Russia” as the development of this tank has been marked by delays, excessive costs and “manufacturing problems”.
(2 of 6)
In late December 2022, images showed T-14s at a training ground in southern Russia: the site has been linked to pre-deployment activities for the Ukraine operation. pic.twitter.com/YzUnQ0147p
— Department of Defense 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) January 19, 2023
In fact, at the time of the official presentation of this tank in 2015, the point was to order 2300 copies and put the first one into service no later than 2020. After all, this ambition would have been sharply revised downwards thereafter, with a focus on the T-90M “Proryv-3” tank program. However, at least 20 T-14 Armata should be delivered in 2021. But frankly, it is not known how many have been built to date…
As a reminder, the T-14 Armata marks a break with other tanks used by the Russian Armed Forces. It weighs 57 tons and is equipped with a 1,500 hp powertrain. It is operated by three men housed in a multi-layered armored pod and separated from the ammunition. Its remote-controlled turret is equipped with a 125mm gun and various types of sensors [radars, équipements optronoiques, caméras, etc] and the active protection system Afganit. Its armament is completed by a 12.7 mm machine gun, a 30 mm cannon and anti-tank missiles.
However, British intelligence believes that deploying the T-14 Armata in Ukraine will pose an additional logistical challenge for Russian forces, as this machine is “larger and heavier than other tanks” they use.
He also believes “if Russia uses the T-14, it will likely be for propaganda purposes” given that it was built in “a few dozen” examples and the Russian leadership has “probably limited confidence” in the tank’s capabilities in combat. However, this remains to be seen … regarding the behavior of the T-72 on the ground …