On Tuesday, the RIA official news agency claimed that a source close to the situation said that Russia plans to utilize its new battle tanks to engage with Ukrainian positions but that the tanks had not yet appeared in a theater for one on one operations.
The “new” tanks are the T-14 Armata. In 2015, the T-14 was promoted as the first fully stealthy tank. The vehicles may reach up to 80 km/h (50 mph) while driving on the highway.
According to RIA, the tanks’ crews have undergone ‘combat coordination’ on Ukrainian training grounds and have added protection to the tanks’ flanks. The T-14 tank’s remote-controlled weaponry is operated from an armored compartment in the front of the vehicle, which means the turret is unmanned.
Russian forces in Ukraine were reportedly hesitant to accept the first batch of tanks due to their ‘poor condition,’ as revealed by British military intelligence in January. It further claimed that Russia would only deploy the T-14 for propaganda, calling it “a high-risk decision.”
The British military has warned that production will likely be in the low tens and that commanders are not expected to trust the vehicle in combat.
The program has been plagued by setbacks in its eleven years of development, including reduced fleet size and claims of manufacturing issues.
The T-14 is significantly larger and heavier than any other Russian tank, creating a logistical nightmare for Russia.
According to Russian media reports, the Kremlin initially ordered the building of 2,300 tanks (unveiled in 2015) by 2020; however, this deadline was later pushed to 2025.
At the 2015 Victory Day parade in Moscow, Putin debuted many new military vehicles, including the T-14.
It was manufactured as part of Russia’s $250 billion defense modernization project.
Vyacheslav Khalitov, the company’s chief of special equipment, took great pride that “we essentially made the invisible tank.”
Khalitov continued by saying that the T-14’s particular stealth technology makes it difficult to rapid detection by radar thanks to its use of radar-dampening paint and materials.