The Russian military is getting to put its newest battle tank through extensive testing in a dry, desert-like, environment, with a backdrop of a bloody civil war, in Syria. The purpose is to iron out any potential issues with it before it is fielded widely to its own forces in 2021.

The head of Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, said in an interview with Russian television channel Rossiya-1, “Yes, that’s right. The T-14 Armata was used in Syria. We observed the tank’s performance in field conditions.”

“It is expensive because it is still undergoing extra trials and modernization after the defense ministry requested additional technical solutions in order to begin serial supplies starting from the next year under the existing contract.”

Manturov added, “We are planning to obtain an export certificate for the T-14 next year. We already have advance orders for the tank.”

The T-14 Armata in action in Syria (YouTube).

The T-14 Armata tank, a 5th-generation main battle tank, is an entirely new design for Russia. Their heretofore designs had primarily followed an evolutionary path built upon each preceding tank model. This went all the way back to the earliest days of World War II with their simplistic, but easily manufactured T-34. 

The T-14 Armata is armed with a 2A82-1M smoothbore gun, 57-millimeter grenade launcher, and a 12.7-millimeter machine gun. The 2A82-1M 125mm smoothbore gun is supposed to provide 15-20 percent better accuracy over the gun currently fielded in the T-90 main battle tank.