The Russian Ground Forces (RGF) will receive the first batch of armored vehicles based on the Armata universal chassis system for operational evaluation in 2020, the CEO of Russia’s main tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) said in an interview with local media on February 3.
“In 2020, we will begin the deliveries for the operational evaluation of this armor,” Alexander Potapov was quoted as saying by the Vedomosti newspaper. “During the factory tests, all the vehicle’s stated characteristics were confirmed.”
Following preparatory work, serial production of the the Armata platforms, which include the T-14 Armata main battle tank (MBT), the T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and the T-16 tank recovery vehicle, is slated to kick off later this year, according to Potapov.
Around two dozen T-14, T-15, and T-16 prototypes were undergoing testing with the RGF in 2019. The first nine T-14 Armatas were originally slated to be handed over to the RGF in 2018. This date then got pushed to 2019 and now 2020.
“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 in January 2019.
The Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with 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.
At this state, it is unlikely that the 2022 deadline will be met. Reasons for the delay reportedly include a host of technical problems with the T-14 Armata’s engine, transmission, and thermal sights.
The first serial-produced T-14 MBTs and other Armata platforms are set to include various upgrades to the prototypes, as I reported previously:
[T]he serial-produced T-14s and T-16s will contain upgraded and new systems … Russian military observers say that the new T-14s will likely feature an improved engine, an upgraded transmission system, and a retrofitted targeting system.
The T-14 Armata’s main armament is an upgraded variant of the auto-loading A82 125-millimeter smoothbore cannon, reportedly capable of firing high-powered anti-tank munitions. Additionally, the T-14 is fitted with a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.
The T-14 Armata was first revealed in 2015 during the May 9 Moscow Victory Day Parade in Red Square.
The first RGF unit expected to receive the T-14 MBT 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.