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How the American Abrams compare to the Russian T-14 Armata tanks

1675017491 t 14 armata versus m1 abrams

The US-made Abrams tank, widely regarded as the gold standard of main battle tanks, will roll towards the Ukrainian front lines, President Joe Biden announced last week. However, the Russian T-14 Armata, dubbed a “super tank”, could also be headed for battle, according to recent defense assessments.

The Abrams tanks “are the most capable tanks in the world,” Biden said last Wednesday as he sent 31 Abrams to Kiev. The tank “sends a message to those who would oppose the United States,” the US Army Acquisition Center wrote in a summary of the main battle tank.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the announcement, which came just after Germany promised Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks, noting that the Abrams would “burn like everyone else” on the front line. Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the response from Moscow was not new and that Washington, D.C., had “heard that line before.”

But Russian state propaganda “got a new task” in committing Abrams, Anton Gerashchenkotweeted an adviser to the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine.

A Russian T-14 Armata tank participates in a Victory Day Parade night rehearsal on Tverskaya Street on May 4, 2022 in Moscow, Russia, with a deployment of an M1A1 Abrams tank with U.S. Task Force 1-64 of the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, during a combined firing exercise in 2002. The US will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine and the British Ministry of Defense has suggested that Russia could deploy its T-14 Armata tanks.
Oleg Nikishin/David K. Dismukes/Getty Images

In a clip uploaded and subtitled by Gerashchenko, a Russian state broadcaster can be heard describing the best methods for destroying an American Abrams tank, then contrasting it with a list of benefits that the Russian T-14 Armata he believes owned.

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They are high-tech vehicles with complex sensors, data transmitters and drones on board.

The T-14 Armatas caused quite a stir when they debuted in Moscow in 2015. A British Army intelligence officer said the following year that the T-14 “deserved its billing as the most revolutionary tank in a generation”.

“Without exaggeration, Armata represents the most revolutionary incremental change in tank design in the past half century,” the unnamed official wrote in a briefing document obtained by The Telegraph.

The T-14 Armata really stands out from other main battle tanks for its unmanned turret, which can support a 125mm gun, the rating said. The crew is not in the turret, but in an armored “capsule” in the tank hull.

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“For the first time, a fully automated, digitized, unmanned gun turret has been incorporated into a main battle tank. And for the first time, a tank crew is embedded in an armored pod in the front of the hull,” the briefing document said.

This increases the survivability of the three crew members on board.

Retired British Army brigadier general Ben Barry told the outlet at the time that this turret design could potentially accommodate a 150mm gun, which would “surpass the guns and armor of existing NATO tanks”.

The M1 Abrams tanks, which come in several variants, are equipped with 105mm or 120mm armament. Depending on the model, the M1 weighs between 67.6 and 73.6 tons, with a maximum speed of 42 miles per hour and 30 mph cross country.

The T-14 Armatas can have a top speed of about 55 mph, a maximum weight of 53 tons and have a customizable chassis.

However, both tanks have their drawbacks. Biden said the M1 Abrams are “extremely complex to operate and maintain”.

During their development, the T-14 Armatas were soon hit by a slew of hitches. The 11-year program has been “haunted by delays, reductions in planned fleet size and reports of production problems,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in a tweet earlier this month.

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A larger, bulkier tank than many of Russia’s existing tanks, the T-14 poses logistical challenges whose deployment would be a “risky decision for Russia,” the ministry added on Jan. 19.

The T-14’s engine and thermal imaging systems had been issued, the government department said, evaluating that any deployment of the T-14 in Ukraine “would likely be primarily for propaganda purposes.”

Production “is probably only in the low tens,” and Russian commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat,” the ministry said. The U.S. has thousands of Abrams tanks in storage.

In further bad news for the T-14s, the British Ministry of Defense said in an updated assessment last Wednesday that Russian commanders in Ukraine were “reluctant to accept the first batch of T-14s allocated to them because the vehicles are in such a were in a bad state.”

It has not yet been confirmed whether Russia has deployed the T-14 in Ukraine, but it is “highly unlikely” that Moscow will send them in numbers because they cannot afford to lose one. News week was told Thursday.

Frank Ledwidge, a lawyer and former military officer who served in the Middle East and the Balkans, said any publicity surrounding the destruction of Ukraine’s T-14 Armata would jeopardize important export sales.

“They are more likely to drive behind the lines” than to be deployed in the heart of the conflict, he added.