The United Kingdom Defense Ministry said in a Thursday morning intelligence briefing that Russia is likely to deploy it’s new T-14 Armata main battle tank to Ukraine.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 19 January 2023
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/HRZcI9ke7Y
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“In late December 2022, imagery showed T-14s on a training area in southern Russia: the site has been associated with pre-deployment activity for the Ukraine operation,” the UK Defense Ministry said.
This decision, however, is not without controversy among Kremlin officials. Many officials worry about the untested nature of the tank as well as major production issues which have kept it from being produced en masse. One even reportedly broke down during a military parade in Moscow.
The Russian army has had significant difficulty with logistics during the war in Ukraine, something that prompts the Defense Ministry to note the tank will likely be used more for a propaganda role than frontline combat, as supplying and maintaining such a machine in substantial numbers would be difficult.
“If Russia deploys T-14, it will likely primarily be for propaganda purposes. Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat,” the report stated.
Also noted by the Defense Ministry is, “Any T-14 deployment is likely to be a high-risk decision for Russia. Eleven years in development, the program has been dogged with delays, reduction in planned fleet size, and reports of manufacturing problems.”
The T-14, which some have claimed can outmatch any Western tank, including the British Challenger II and the German-built Leopard II potentially being sent to Ukraine, is equipped with fully digital systems, an unmanned turret, and the crew protected in an isolated armored capsule. It is equipped with a 125mm cannon and anti-tank missiles, as well as modular and active protection systems to defend against incoming projectiles.
It is yet to be confirmed by Russian sources whether or not the tank will actually be used in Ukraine in any capacity.