The Russian military will receive a pilot batch of the hyped Armata T-14 tanks next year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday.
The Armata T-14, which is undergoing state tests amid multiple delivery delays since its first public display in 2015, will be Russia’s first main battle tank to be deployed in 40 years.
“It’s planned to deliver a pilot batch of T-14 tanks, T-15 infantry fighting vehicles and T-16 armored recovery vehicles in 2022,” Shoigu was quoted as saying at a meeting by Interfax.
The T-14’s developers tout its next-level firepower, maneuvering and remote-control capabilities, as well as its unmanned turret and improved design for better survival prospects of its three-person crew.
Russia previously announced that the Armed Forces’ Moscow-based First Guards Tank Army was expected to be first in line to receive the T-14 Armata tanks.
Former Deputy Defense Minister and current Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov had said that the military has procurement deals on two T-14 and one T-15 battalions for military tests. His former colleague Alexei Krivoruchko had said serial deliveries of 132 T-14 and T-15 vehicles were planned by the end of 2021.
The CEO of Russia’s Rostec industrial conglomerate, which oversees defense companies including Armata’s manufacturer, and Russia’s trade minister had previously announced plans to deliver Armata combat vehicles in 2021.
The tank is built on a chassis known as the Armata Universal Combat Platform. Manufacturer UralVagonZavod, a Rostec subsidiary, says it will serve as the common base for a series of armored military vehicles, including APCs and a driverless tank.
A model of the Armata T-14 went on display at Abu Dhabi’s International Defense Exhibition last month, with military experts speculating that a full-fledged display risked being seized as part of Western sanctions.