Asia Defense | Security

Russia: Delivery of T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank Delayed

The Russian Ground Forces have yet to receive the first serial-produced batch of T-14 Armata main battle tanks.

Franz-Stefan Gady
Russia: Delivery of T-14 Armata Main Battle Tank Delayed

A Russian Armata tank makes its way as other military vehicles roll down a street toward Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, Monday, April 29, 2019. The parade will take place at Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 74 years of the victory in WWII.

Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

The Russian Ground Forces (RGF) have not taken delivery of the first batch of 12 third-generation Armata T-14 main battle tanks (MBT), the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, told reporters earlier this week.

“No, not yet,” Chemezov said in response to a question on whether delivery of the new Armata platforms, which includes the T-14 Armata MBT, the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and the T-16 tank recovery vehicle, has begun, according to Interfax news agency.

The MoD signed a contract with Russia’s main tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) for the production and delivery of 132 T-14 Armata MBTs, T-15 IFVs, and T-16 tank recovery vehicles in February 2018 with all 132 Armata platforms to be delivered by 2022.

The first nine Armatas were expected to be handed over to the RGF in 2018. This got then pushed to 2019 and now 2020. Chemezov noted, however, back in November 2019 that the delivery of the initial batch may take place in early 2020.

“Currently, work is nearing completion to prepare the production facilities and an experimental batch has been manufactured,” Chemezov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on November 19. “It will be delivered to the Russian Army in late 2019 – early 2020.”

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Defense analysts have pointed to issues with the T-14’s engine, transmission, and thermal sights, next to others, as a cause for the repeated delays.

Around 16 to 20 T-14 prototypes have been undergoing testing with the RGF throughout last year. “The T-14 tank, which has been created on the universal Armata platform and developed for the Ground Forces, is completing the manufacturer’s trials,” the Russian MoD said in a statement last January. “The fighting vehicle in 2019 will start undergoing state trials in the Russian Defense Ministry’s scientific and research institutions.” It appears that tests of the T-14 and other Armata platforms are still ongoing.

Given the delay, it is unlikely that the RGF will receive 132 Armata platforms by 2022. The first serial-produced MBTs will reportedly include various upgrades to the T-14 prototypes, as I reported previously:

[T]he serial-produced T-14s and T-16s will contain upgraded and new systems without specifying details. Russian military observers say that the new T-14s will likely feature an improved engine, an upgraded transmission system, and a retrofitted targeting system.

New or modified ammunition could also be produced for the first serialized T-14 batch. I added:

The T-14’s main weapon system is the auto-loading A82 125-millimeter smoothbore cannon. The cannon is capable of of firing of anti-tank guided weapons. Additionally, the T-14 is fitted with a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.

The first RGF unit to receive the T-14 will be the 1st Guards Tank Regiment of 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division, garrisoned in Moscow and part of Russia’s Western Military District.