By Jonathan Davis
After repeated delays in delivering the new T-14 Armata main battle tanks to the Russian Ground Forces, officials announced recently that the tank delays would continue.
Initially, the ground forces were slated to receive the new tank, along with the T-14 main battle tank, the T-16 heavy infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), and the T-16 tank recovery vehicle in 2018.
But problems with development have continued to push back delivery dates into sometime this year, according to Russian media.
The Diplomat reported:
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.
So, what’s the reason behind the delays? Well, reportedly, there are several issues with the tanks.
The online magazine noted further:
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.
At the current rate of delays and production, it’s doubtful the Russia army will receive the ordered 132 Armata platforms by 2022. And there will need to be upgrades made to the existing experimental platforms.
When the tanks are ready for deployment, 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.