T-14 ARMATA MBT gallery

In 2009, the Russian company Uralvagonzavod began the design of a “family of heavy unified battlefield platforms” generically designated as “Armata“. This new concept contemplated the manufacture of up to 28 different vehicles based on the same chassis to which different types of weapons would be installed, from howitzers to missile launchers. In addition, the construction of recovery and engineers vehicles was also contemplated to homogenize as much as possible the fleet of armored vehicles that are usually used on the battlefield. The idea was to make repairs and maintenance as easy as possible by providing all Armata vehicles with the same accessories and spare parts.
The beginnings of the T-14 Armata main battle tank date back to 2010 when the Object 195 (T-95 Black Eagle) MBT was canceled and it was decided to design a new tank from scratch. The job fell to Uralvagonzavod chief designer Andrey Terlikov and his team, who were awarded a period of 5 years to carry out all the work. For the first time since 1948, a new tank was going to be built that was not a modernization or improvement of a previous model, but rather a completely new vehicle, which always represents a considerable challenge. One of the first leaked designs was simply a modified hull of the T-90 MBT with a small unmanned turret (on the image), very far from the final result. From 2010 to 2014 the team was working on the general characteristics of the T-14, which was presented publicly for the first time in 2015, during the 70th Moscow Victory Day Parade.
It must be made clear that in the case of the T-14 MBT many of the technical data and performance are mere speculation due to the secret nature of certain components and the logical refusal of the Russian authorities to make them public, therefore, only the future will end up revealing some of the real features of this new tank. However, it is known that the T-14 is full of new electronic and mechanical equipment whose performance is really unknown. The most important novelties of the T-14 Armata are an unmanned turret, a new 125mm gun, a new engine with the cylinders arranged in “X” shape instead of the conventional “V” shape and…a toilet for the crew! The installation of this last element was confirmed by Ilya Baranov, a senior official at the Ural Design Bureau of Transport Machine-Building in Yekaterinburg, to the TASS News Agency in March 2019.
According to the manufacturer, the T-14 has been designed taking into account its silhouette and a “special paint layer” to make its detection by thermal and radar equipment very difficult. For example, the turret is up to 35% smaller than that of the Abrams or Leopard 2A6 tanks, with a 15% smaller frontal surface. The main controls of the tank have also been duplicated and allow the possibility of operating the weapons manually if necessary. Special emphasis has also been placed on providing the tank with state-of-the-art computer systems that allow it to fight within the new “Network-Centric Warfare” concept, where the acquisition and sharing of information on the battlefield with other units is vital. Likewise, the operational use of both the T-14 and other vehicles of the Armata family such as the T-15 IFV are being analyzed and restructured.
The internal layout of the T-14 is conventional, although with some unique innovations. The entire crew is located in the front of the chassis, in the middle is the fully automated combat chamber and in the rear is the engine compartment. All compartments are separated by heavily armored bulkheads, and the fuel tanks have been installed between the combat chamber and the engine within an armored compartment with spaced armor. In the design of this tank, adaptability and integration of new equipment has prevailed, so most of the electronic components are easily replaceable.
The crew is made up of 3 members who, due to the installation of an unmanned turret equipped with an automatic loader, are located in the front of the chassis, side by side, in a type of heavily armored capsule that is isolated from the other compartments of the vehicle. This arrangement allows them to be fairly well protected from fuel and ammunition in case of being hit by the enemy, significantly increasing the crew’s survivability. However, this crew arrangement may have certain operational difficulties on the battlefield according to some experts.
Some analysts have expressed doubts regarding the “situation awareness” of the crew being completely isolated from the environment, that is, the crew’s ability to know what is happening around the vehicle. Of course, the vehicle has been equipped with different HD cameras, 3 on each side with autonomous batteries, to offer complete information on what is happening 360º around the tank, but the effectiveness of these cameras is based mainly on their resolution and the crew members’ ability to correctly analyze what is seen on their screens. According to experts and former military personnel, there is nothing more effective than “sticking your head out and taking a quick look from the turret”, something that the crew of the T-14 Armata cannot do. The tank has 4 multifunction monitors, (2 for the commander and 2 for the gunner), that can be used interchangeably for whatever the crew requires at any given time. They show the images obtained by all the cameras, sensors and sights as well as all the electronic and mechanical parameters of the vehicle.
As the T-14 Armata MBT has an unmanned turret, the vehicle has been equipped with many sensors, cameras and vision equipment so that the crew has the best information about the environment. The driver is in a semi-lying position on the right side of the capsule and has 4 periscopes located on the right side of the front of the hull and an infrared/thermal camera located in the center of the hull for night driving. He also has a camera to drive in reverse. The tank is controlled by a “motorcycle handlebar” type control and has an emergency mechanical driving system that allows the vehicle to be driven in the event of an electronic failure.
The commander has 3 periscopes for direct observation of the battlefield installed in the front of the hull with an arc of about 90º of vision in front of the vehicle. It also has a commander’s periscope installed on the turret roof with a 360° field of view. This periscope has three-channel night vision device: optical, thermal and laser to measure distances. All of these vision elements are stabilized and have up to 12x magnification. To know what is happening on the sides and rear of the tank depends on the sensors and 6 cameras with night-time capacity based on light amplification located in different places on the turret that project the images on two multifunction touch monitors. The commander can also use the tank’s Kalina fire control system and can move the turret, assign targets, measure distance from targets, access the images provided by the gunner’s periscope and fire while standing or moving, both day and night.
The gunner has a PNM-Sosna-U stabilized direct-vision periscopic channel with 4 and 12x magnification capacity. It serves both day and night actions as it has a thermal camera and it has an auxiliary scope for night shooting attached to a TV camera with light amplification. The gunner can see on his own two monitors everything that the commander’s sights show and also has a laser designator for the gun-fired missiles. The tank’s sights can detect tank-sized vehicles up to 8 km away during the day through the TV/periscopic channel. At night the thermal channel can detect vehicles at 3.5 km, while the night-vision capable sights can detect them at a maximum of 2 km. Of course, the gunner can move the turret and shoot autonomously, like the commander, as each has their own control knob with which they control the Kalina fire control system and all the main vision elements.
The chassis has 7 road wheels of 700mm diameter on each side and has an active suspension system made up of torsion bars on wheels 3, 4, 5 and 6 and a hydropneumatic system on wheels 1, 2 and 7 that results in a smoother ride over rough terrain and better braking and pivoting capabilities. This undercarriage is based on that of the T-80 MBT, although it is completely new and modified to support the greater weight of the vehicle. At first it was reported that the weight of the T-14 Armata was 48 tons, but during the Army-2019 International Military-Technical Forum it was officially reported that the actual weight was 55 tons.
A new engine has been installed on the T-14 Armata, and it is a 34,600cc 12 cylinders arranged in “X” ChTZ 12N360 (A-85-3A) twin turbo diesel engine that develops a maximum of 2,000 hp (theoretical). The arrangement of the cylinders in “X” has allowed to build a much smaller and lighter engine than traditional ones that forms an interchangeable module together with the transmission, which makes it easier to change if necessary. It seems that this engine has a fairly tight consumption of about 2.75 liters per kilometer, which allows a range with internal fuel of about 500 km. Two auxiliary external tanks can also be installed to increase autonomy.
The engine has an electronic power limiter adjustable to powers outputs of 1,350, 1,500 and 1,800 hp. It has been reported that the maximum speed of the T-14 using 1,500hp of power is 82 km/h, somewhat higher than Western models. Apparently, the manufacturer recommends a power output under normal conditions of 1,200hp to enjoy a longer engine life, which is around 2,000 hours with 1,500hp and about 10,000 hours with 1,200hp. The 2,000hp cap can be reached at the expense of drastically reducing the useful life of the engine. The engine is coupled to a 2К25 Kulibin 8-speed automatic transmission (hydrostatic according to some sources).
T-14 MBT has a new 125/56mm 2A82-1M smoothbore gun equipped with a thermal sleeve wich have an effective firing range of 5 km. It is a very powerful and precise gun that has an estimated useful life of about 1,900 shots depending on the ammunition used. The gun is fed by an autoloader that has a magazine with 32 rounds ready for use and the maximum rate of fire is 10 rounds per minute. The ammunition and propellant are placed vertically inside the turret and the total ammunition supply for the gun is 45 rounds. The armament is completed with the installation of a remotely controlled 12.7mm (6P49) Kord on the turret’s roof and a coaxial 7.62mm (6P7К) PKTM or Pecheneg PKP (6P41) machine guns. The tank carries 300 rounds of 12.7mm and 1,000 of 7.62mm for immediate use and another 1,000 cartridges in storage.
It should be noted that new types of ammunition have been manufactured for the T-14‘s gun such as the “3BM69 Vacuum-1” (uranium) and “3BM70 Vaccum-2” (tungsten) APFSDS rounds, the “3BK31 Start” HEAT round, the controlled-detonation “OF82 Telnik” HE-Frag round and the missiles fired from tube “9M119M1 Invar-M” and “3UBK21 Sprinter“. Additionally, a new active homing anti-tank guided missile designated as 3UBK25 is being developed. The APFSDS rounds have a 900m long penetrator, a muzzle velocity of 1950-2050 m/s and can penetrate up to 900-1000mm of armor. The HEAT round has a triple shaped charge capable of penetrating up to 800mm of armor and the missiles have a range of between 8 and 12 km and are capable of penetrating up to 1,200mm of armor.
The manufacturer has stated that a new 152mm smoothbore gun and autoloader is currently being adapted for the T-14 Armata, which is actually the 2A83 gun that was designed for the canceled T-95 Black Eagle tank in 2000. The turret must also be redesigned to accommodate this new gun and a new range of 152mm ammunition such as a supersonic armor-piercing round, a thermobaric round and a “fire and forget” type tube-fired missile is under development, so this gun cannot be available in the short term.
The armor has been manufactured with ultra high strength armoured steel “44S-sv-Sh” type, ceramics and composite materials on which a Malachit dual explosive-reactive armor (ERA) layer have been applied on the front, sides and the top of the tank. Reactive armor skirts have been mounted on the front two-thirds of the side of the hull and rubber skirts have been installed on the lower part of them to reduce the creation of dust clouds. In the rear third of the hull a slat (cage) armor has been installed against RPG grenades and similar. According to some experts, the turret armor does not seem very thick and it is likely that the designers relied on the turret design as a protective measure in itself. However, according to some analysts, the turret could be one of the weak points of the Armata MBT, since having so many sensors and electronic equipment, these would be largely destroyed if the turret is hit by medium or large caliber impacts, leaving the tank automatically blind and disabled.


At first glance it seems that the T-14 has good passive protection in general and it is estimated that the armor on the front of the vehicle offers the same protection as 900-1,100mm of conventional RHA armor and according to the manufacturer, it is capable of resisting the impact of NATO 120mm DM-63 APFSDS rounds. The floor and the lower front of the chassis have been reinforced to better resist mine explosions and the T-14 also has two electromagnetic anti-mine detectors installed in the front of the hull. The crew compartment is equipped with spall liner anti-fragment protection and the vehicle has an automatic fire extinguishing system. It also appears that a system has been included for cooling the exhaust gases using cold air to reduce the thermal signature of the vehicle.
In addition to passive protection, the T-14 has several active protection systems that make it a very well protected tank. A dual Afganit active protection system (APS) has been installed, consisting of a millimeter-wave radar and various electro-optical sensors linked to two automatic grenade launcher systems for “soft kill” and “hard kill” type defenses. The radar is responsible for detecting, tracking and intercepting all types of missiles and anti-tank rounds and has a range of 100 km (according to the manufacturer). This radar offers 360º coverage thanks to 4 small panels installed on both sides of the turret and can track up to 40 ground targets or 25 aerial targets. The Afganit system also has two laser warning receivers (LWR) installed on the front of the turret.
Once the incoming threat is detected, the system activates the countermeasures to be taken. The “soft kill” solution disrupts the missile guidance system and diverts its trajectory, for which the Afganit system has 2 steerable launchers with 12 grenades each plus a vertical launcher with 24 multi-spectral smoke grenades. The “hard kill” solution consists of the physical destruction of the threat, for which the system has 5 explosive grenade launchers located on each side of the turret, in its lower part. This defensive system has a maximum range of between 15 and 20 meters and the manufacturer states that it is capable of destroying projectiles that approach at a speed of up to 1,700 m/s (Mach 5.0).
Of course, the lack of information and images on the effectiveness of the Afganit system makes Western analysts distrust the enormous capabilities declared by the manufacturer, and it is questioned whether the “hard kill” option is capable of destroying in flight the dense uranium penetrators used in the APFSDS rounds or not. Unfortunately for the manufacturer, Western analysts seem to be right, since during tests the Afganit system has shown quite a few problems detecting incoming ammunition. In the same way, the statements of some directors of the Uralvagonzavod firm regarding the invisibility of the T-14 to radar and infrared detection thanks to its radar-absorbing paint and other technologies applied to the vehicle are also questioned, because until now, no evidence has been provided.
After completing the design and manufacturing work in the agreed 5 years, the Russian Army expressed its interest in acquiring 2,300 T-14 MBT that should be delivered between 2015 and 2020. It is known that shortly after its presentation in 2015, about 40 tanks were delivered to the Russian Army, but since then this number seems not to have increased. In 2018, delivery plans were delayed until 2025 and at the end of July of this same year, information appeared stating that mass production of the T-14 was cancelled. Russian Defence and Space Industry Minister Yuri Borisov stated that instead of replacing the T-72, T-80 and T-90 in service with the T-14 Armata, they would be modernized and the T-14 would be purchased in limited quantities due to its high price. In the summer of 2019, a contract was signed that included the acquisition of 132 Armata-platform vehicles, not only T-14 MBTs, which were to be delivered in 2021. However, at the Moscow Victory Day parade held between 2015 and 2022, some Armata MBTs could be seen parading. State testing began in early 2020 and it was reported that the tank had been tested under combat conditions in Syria.
In 2021, the TASS news agency reported that production of the T-14 would finally begin in 2022, and in December 2021, the Rostec Corporation confirmed that production had already begun. The delivery of this first “experimental” batch has been delayed due to various technical problems with the engine and thermal-imaging equipment and it seems that a total of 100 pre-series vehicles of the T-14 Armata MBT, T-15 Armata IFV and T-16 BREM recovery vehicles have been delivered to be evaluated by the 2nd Guards Tamanskaya Motor Rifle Division. In November 2022 several media reported that production of the T-14 MBT had been stopped due to more urgent needs arising after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. There has been much speculation about the delay in the T-14 Armata entering service, but finally, in March 2024, Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec corporation, reported that the T-14 Armata MBT was now officially in service with the Russian Army.
There has also been much controversy regarding whether the T-14 has been deployed in Ukraine or not. In November 2022, some videos and photos appeared showing at least two T-14s on “Ukrainian territory” (according to that information)…, but later it was confirmed that these images were actually taken at the Kazan Higher Tank Command School located in Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan). In April 2023, the RIA Novosti news agency reported that the T-14 Armata had been deployed in Ukraine and had “fired indirectly” on Ukrainian positions. Also in July 2023, the TASS news agency reported that two anonymous sources had confirmed to them that Russia’s southern battlegroup had used the T-14 in direct combat to evaluate its actual performance on the battlefield. It was leaked that the T-14 had been seen in the village of Midginskaya in the Luhansk region, of course without providing any reliable evidence. In September 2023 TASS reported again that the T-14 was deployed in an “indirect fire role, far from the front line” and that it had been withdrawn from Ukraine. Finally, in March 2024, all this information, never officially confirmed, was denied by the CEO of Rostec, Sergey Chemezov, who flatly assured that the T-14 Armata had never been deployed in Ukraine because it was a very expensive vehicle and T-90 MBT was considered as a better option.
Since the appearance of the T-14 Armata, a heated discussion has arisen among some analysts and military enthusiasts around the world as to whether this tank has exceptional capabilities or whether it is a mere bluff. Modestly, I will try to expose the main problems that have been made publicly known and whether a feasible solution is possible or not. According to the information available, the main problems that have arisen in these years are the following: engine, transmission, vision equipment, Afganit active protective system, production delays of the ultra high strength armoured steel “44S-Sv-Sh” and acquisition price.
It is known that the vehicle has suffered many problems during its testing phase in both Russia and Syria. It seems that the main problem is the engine. It turns out that the ChTZ 12N360 (A-85-3A) engine is a copy of the German “Simmering SLA-16/Porsche Tour 212” engine, which is a very small engine thanks to the “X” arrangement of cylinders. The Russian firm Transdiesel Design Bureau created this engine in the 90s for compressors of oil and gas pumping stations. The Armata‘s engine is very difficult to maintain and has shown frequent system failures and overheating during trials. The main problem for Russian engineers is that the Armata MBT has been designed around this component, and now it is not an easy task to solve the problems arising without modifying numerous parts of the hull, something unaffordable for this vehicle. The ideal solution in these cases is to replace the original engine with another with similar performance, but in the case of the T-14 MBT, this is not possible due to the tight space in the engine compartment, since any other engine is larger than the A-85-3A engine.
Another component that has proven to be problematic has been the 2K25 Kulibin automatic transmission, which during tests has had reliability issues with the electronic control system, which cause overheating and total failure in the most serious cases. The delay in the production of steel 44S-Sv-Sh due to the bankruptcy in 2018 of the Krasny Oktyabr (Red October) factory has also played a very relevant role in the production delay. Serious problems have also been detected with the ability to detect incoming ammunition by the Afganit active protection system (APS). In this regard, it seems that the designers are already working on improving the reliability and detection range of the Afganit’s “hard kill” system as well as strengthening the protection against RPG grenades and anti-tank missiles. In addition, a new system is being designed to detonate anti-tank landmines remotely and new countermeasures against microwave and electromagnetic weapons are being installed.
Although the T-14 MBT is proclaimed as a “100% Russian technology tank”, this may not be entirely true. According to several Russian sources, the T-14 is suffering the consequences of international sanctions against Russia for its involvement in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, since many of the sensors and electronic components of the thermal and night vision equipment are of foreign origin, and their trade has been stopped due to these sanctions. It seems that since the 2000s, the Russian authorities decided that it was cheaper and more profitable to buy these components on the international market than manufacture them in Russia, and this decision has led to the fact that currently most of the electronic components used in the Armata MBT and many other Russian products come from China, which usually are not as reliable as other foreign components. The situation is reflected in a joke that is commented in Russia that indicates that “the largest Russian Defense contractor is…AliExpress”.
Finally, many defense personnel in Russia have declared that the T-14 is an “extremely expensive” tank. The T-14 has a cost of between 4.8 and 6.4 million dollars according to various sources, which for the Russian Army is considered “very expensive.” But if you compare this price with other modern MBTs, the price is quite reasonable. A German Leopard 2A7 costs 8.5 million, an American M-1A2 Abrams costs around 10 million, a South Korean K-2 Black Panther costs 8.5 million, a Russian T-90 costs about 3 million and a Chinese Type 99 costs about 3 million. This is actually a truly paradoxical “problem” whose solution is the simplest of all. Logically, everything could be solved by canceling the entire Armata MBT program and keeping the fleet of T-72, T-80 and T-90 tanks in service making constant updates and improvements. Of course, these vehicles will reach their red line capabilities at some point, becoming obsolete waiting for a replacement.
Therefore, the price does not justify that it cannot be used in Ukraine, and claims by Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, that the T-14 was “too expensive” to be used in Ukraine, are simply absurd. The only explanation for these words is that everything is a pretext because the T-14 MBT is not ready for combat yet, and it is understandable that there would be no greater embarrassment for Russian Army and political authorities that watch a “dazzling” Armata MBT destroyed, or worse yet, captured by the Ukrainians. Furthermore, it is practically certain that if this were to happen, the vehicle would be transferred to NATO immediately for a complete analysis, revealing all the capabilities and technology of the tank, something that Russia cannot allow in any case. There is no doubt that the hundreds of videos that emerged from this conflict make it very clear that tanks are very vulnerable to weapons that cost 10 or 20 times less, and that armored tactics perhaps have to be reviewed, but each army fights with what it has, and if it cannot afford state-of-the-art weapons, the logical thing is not to develop them, unless the T-14 Armata MBT has finally been developed mainly for the export market, which would explain a lot of this controversy.
Surely the Russian designers created this tank for confrontations against other tanks, in the style of the Battle of Kursk or the ground offensive of the 1991 Gulf War, with kilometers of clear terrain where it is likely that the Armata MBT would prove to be an almost unbeatable enemy thanks to their vision elements, the armor and its powerful gun. But the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are demonstrating the destructive power and omnipresence of UAV/UAS vehicles in the battlefield. Commonly known as “suicide drones”, these low-cost weapons are capable of destroying any tank or armored vehicle with deadly effectiveness and almost total impunity. So far, the T-14 has only generated distrust and suspicion among experts due to the great delay in its commissioned, and the opacity of the Russian authorities does not help it in the least. Over time we will see if this ultra modern tank touch the glory or fails miserably, and it will be the last of his kind.

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