T-14 Armata, Russia’s ‘Mightiest & Meanest’ Battle Tank Caught On Camera; Viral Video Ignites Deployment Speculations

A video of Russia’s T-14 Armata tank has surfaced on the internet, giving rise to speculations that the next-generation tank could be deployed for combat in Ukraine.

On November 20, videos of the latest Russian tank, the T-14 Armata, being operated on one of the training grounds of the Russian Federation’s training facility surfaced online. The facility is a training center for mobilized military personnel of the Russian Federation, local Russian media reported.

In the video, a T-14 Armata tank could be seen moving through mud while the Russian troops were walking parallel to it on a concrete road. This footage, now viral on the internet, comes more than a month after a similar video emerged last month.

In early October, a video of the T-14 Armata tank was reportedly filmed at a training ground in Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. At the time, some Russian media outlets had stated that the tank was spotted near the village of Midginskaya in Luhansk.

As soon the latest video surfaced online, military watchers and cybernauts keenly tracking the conflict wondered whether the brand-new tank could be brought to combat.

However, it is pertinent to note that the tank is still being field tested. Speculations about the deployment of the T-14 tank are rife because the ongoing war has become a combat testing ground for many new weapon systems.

However, Russia’s decision not to introduce these tanks to the battlefield is believed to be a move at keeping novel and advanced technology away from combat lest they should land in the hands of its western rivals.

Besides, Russia could be contemplating improvements to the T-14 based on its lessons from the ongoing war in which it has lost several hundred tanks.

In addition to being a next-generation tank equipped with advanced and sophisticated technology, the Armata is also extremely expensive. According to Russian media, the hefty price—350 million rubles, or seven times as much as upgrading the T-72 to the B3 version—makes it prohibitively expensive to be lost in combat.

Going by the estimates of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, Russia lost 2,886 tanks between February 24 and November 20. Ukraine has employed several anti-tank weapons, drones, and rockets to destroy the Russian T-72 and T-90s that have been deployed overwhelmingly by Russia in the ongoing conflict.

According to Russian Defense Magazine VPK, “At first, it looked more than innovative and aroused explosive interest. But the vehicle was prohibitively expensive. As a result, the Ministry of Defense concluded that there was no need to hurry with large batches of Armatas. And the emphasis should be on the T-72, T-80, and T-90 tanks, using the huge modernization potential built into them back in Soviet times.”

Against that backdrop, Russia could be expected to have some inhibitions about deploying the T-14 to battle Ukraine, with the latter having intensified the ground offensive after re-taking Kherson.

Russia’s Cutting-Edge T-14 Armata Tanks

UralVagonZavod, a division of Rostec, a state-owned Russian defense manufacturer, developed the T-14 Armata. In May 2015, it made its debut at the Moscow Victory Day Parade.

The tank is built on the ‘Armata’ Universal Combat Platform, a platform for large military-tracked vehicles of the next generation. Additionally, it can be used to create larger armored vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers and big infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) (APCs).

The T-14 has three compartments: the hull with three crew members at the front, the unmanned remote-controlled turret weapons station in the middle, and the power plant at the back. The tank commander is on the right, the driver is on the left, and there are three hatches in the front of the hull. A distinctive armored capsule holds the three-person crew.

The sophisticated and expensive T-14 Armata tank features an active protection system to shoot down anti-tank missiles, advanced sensors and data networking, onboard drones, and a high degree of automation.

File:9may2015Moscow-01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
T-14 Armata Tank in Moscow: Wikimedia Commons

An automatic loader-equipped 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore gun is mounted in the unmanned turret of the T-14 Armata. The turret has 45 rounds of ammunition, including 32 that are ready for use. The primary weapon can also launch laser-guided missiles with a range of seven to twelve kilometers.

In essence, Russia seemed to have created a tank with the Armata that could outgun NATO tanks by emphasizing quality over number. However, the production of the T-14 Armata tank has been stalled for a while, with the Russian military cutting the number of tanks for itself by several units.

Moscow initially declared intentions to purchase 2,300 Armatas by 2025, estimated to cost $4 million each. That number was reduced to 132 by 2020 as the Russian army decided to update its existing tanks instead. Russia has been pitching this tank for export in full swing.