Chemezov Casts Doubt on T-14 Armata Deployment in Ukraine

a tank drives down the street during a military parade
T-14 Armata main battle tank

The Russian military has begun receiving serially-produced T-14 Armata main battle tanks, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said in an interview with Russian state media, but likely will not deploy them to Ukraine. 

“Armata is, in general, a little expensive,” Chemezov explained. “In terms of functionality, it is, of course, much superior to existing tanks, but it is too expensive, so the army is unlikely to use it now [in Ukraine]. It’s easier for them to buy the same T-90s.”

Chemezov added, “Now we need money to create new tanks, new weapons, perhaps cheaper ones. Therefore, if there is an opportunity to buy cheaper ones, why not.”

He confirmed that serially-produced T-14 tanks have been delivered to the Ground Forces, but declined to say how many have been transferred to date. An official said in 2021 that “more than 40” serial tanks would be delivered after 2023. 

Ahead of serial production, Russia built around two dozen pre-production tanks to put through trials, including a brief stint last year in Ukraine. The tanks were deployed for several months, though seemingly in limited fashion and away from major areas of operations. 

In August, state-owned TASS Russian News Agency quoted a source in the defense industry as stating, “The Armata tank was used several times in the zone of hostilities in Ukraine. Based on the results of its use in the special military operation, the vehicle is now being fine-tuned.” The source did not provide any further information, making it unclear how extensive of “fine tuning” the tank required. 

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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