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    Russia’s T-14 Armata: A High-Tech Tank Too Pricey for Combat?

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    The T-14 Armata, Russia’s most technologically advanced tank to date, has turned heads since its unveiling in 2015.

    Touted as a potential game-changer in armored warfare, the T-14 boasted an unmanned turret, sophisticated armor, and a cutting-edge 125mm smoothbore cannon.

    It was supposed to outclass Western tanks and cement Russia as a military innovator.

    Yet, years after its grand introduction, the Armata remains more of a military enigma than a battlefield staple.

    From its conception, the T-14 Armata promised to rewrite the playbook for tank warfare.

    The automated turret, capable of firing 45 rounds and laser-guided missiles, were designed to offer unmatched protection and firepower.

    With layered defenses like the Malachit explosive reactive armor and the AFGHANIT active protection system, its specs were indeed lightyears ahead, on paper.

    However, with a price tag estimated between $5 million and $9 million, the Armata is a luxury the Russian military seems reluctant to indulge in.

    The costs are prohibitive, especially given the dire straits of combat. And there are technical issues: the engine and thermal-imaging equipment have proven problematic, leading to delays.

    The A-85-3 engine, known for its high complexity and maintenance challenges, particularly in wartime conditions, contrasts with the Russian’s reliable and simpler V-9282F engine. However, the Armata tank is exclusively designed to accommodate the problematic A-85-3 engine.

    Russia’s defense industry has been caught in a paradox of its own making. With each T-14 being so intricate and costly, the risk of losing even one in combat is too high a price to pay.

    When it comes to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the T-14’s absence is conspicuous. Reports from the summer of 2023 tell of the tank’s brief deployment to the frontlines, only to be hastily withdrawn.

    British defense intelligence suggested that potential “reputation damage” could be a driving force behind Russia’s hesitation to deploy the T-14 extensively.

    As stated in the British defense update, the absence of T-14 tanks would compel Russia to increase production volumes of main battle tanks (MBTs), a demand that could only be met by utilizing alternative variants.

    Moscow’s military losses in Ukraine have been substantial. The UK’s Ministry of Defense estimates over 355,000 Russian personnel casualties and substantial equipment losses, including tanks and artillery systems.

    Relevant articles:
    T-14 Armata: Russia’s Tank Gamble Could End Up Becoming a Nightmare, The National Interest
    T-14 Armata: Russia’s Tank Nightmare Just Won’t End, The National Interest
    Russia’s new tank — its T-14 Armata — is probably too expensive to use in Ukraine, top weapons maker says, businessinsider.com
    Russia Fears T-14 Armata Tanks’ Reputation Would Be Damaged in Ukraine: UK, Newsweek

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