The T-14 “Armata” Main Battle Tank (MBT) made its debut public appearance in May 2015, at a time of renewed tensions between the Russian Federation and the United States and its NATO allies not seen since the 1960s during the Soviet era.
The appearance of the T-14 “Armata” was for Western observers as much a revelation as the IS-3 heavy tank that made a shock appearance at the Allied Victory Parade in Berlin in September 1945. After many years of getting by with the modernization of Soviet era tanks, the T-14 “Armata” is the first genuinely new post-Soviet Russian design.
The T-14 “Armata” is a technically sophisticated tank, the first “production” tank with a fully automated turret entirely devoid of crew as one of many new design features. The tank is also however expensive to build and operate compared to more “low risk” tanks such as the T-90 and T-72B3 MBT types, and requires significant crew training to operate compared with other Russian tanks in service.
Today, the T-14 “Armata” remains a showpiece of military engineering, but the upgrade of earlier T-72, T-90 and even T-80 tanks is now being pursued in parallel as a more cost-effective solution for everyday needs. Whether the “high risk” development T-14 “Armata” will become a series, albeit limited production tank, or remain a technical showpiece has yet to be seen, but there is no doubting that it has made the impression it was intended to.