R & D work on Russia's clean-slate design T-14 Object 148 Armata main battle tank (MBT) commenced in 2011, with Moscow so far investing 15 billion Rubles (US$239 million) in this R & D project, with another 39 billion Rubles ($622 million) due to follow. To date, the Russian Army has taken delivery of only 12 pre-production prototypes of the T-14 Armata, all of which were ordered in 2013.
Even though a procurement contract for series-production T-14s is in place for deliveries through to 2017, no long-term contract has been signed as yet. According to the T-14’s OEM, Uralvagonzavod JSC, large-scale series-production is key to reducing the unit price of the Armata. Consequently, the Russia Army is required to order no fewer than 40 Armata MBTs in 2016, 70 in 2017, and 120 annually beginning in 2018 in order to maintain stable, affordable production-levels. Even then, it will take more than 20 years to produce Russia’s desired number of 2,300 Armata MBTs—thereby pushing the deadline for completion of series-production into 2035, while the original target date had been 2020 at an estimated cost of $9.2 billion.
The T-14 Armata, weighing close to 55 tonnes and powered by a 1,500hp multi-fuel engine, features an unmanned turret, with all three crew members (driver, gunner and commander) being accommodated within a crew capsule located in the frontal section of the MBT’s hull. Main armament is a 2A82A 125mm smoothbore cannon that is fed by a bustle-mounted armoured automatic loader equipped with 32 rounds. The MBT’s sides are fitted with a new appliqué armour package along three-quarters of the MBT’s length, with the rear three-quarters being protected by slat armour.
On the whole, in my personal view, the T-14 Armata, touted as being Russia’s first new-generation main battle tank (the previous tanks starting from the T-54 till the T-90 were all medium battle tanks), appears to be poorly engineered, and when compared to the Arjun Mk2, the latter is still superior in several aspects.