Russia to deploy new Battle Tank in Ukraine War

Sticking with tanks at the moment, but this time with Russian ones, there is speculation that Russia is preparing to deploy its newest main battle tank (MBT), the T-14 Armata, to Ukraine. It has been reported that this latest model has been seen in training establishments near the Russo-Ukraine border.

The Armata is in design terms arguably the most advanced MBT in the world at the moment, but it has suffered all sorts of teething problems during its development and is only available in smaller numbers. Compared to the ancient T-62, T-64, T-72, T-80, and relatively modern  T-90 that the Russians have been using, Armata is a generation to a generation and a half ahead.

First officially seen at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow in May 2015, one hundred were initially meant to be delivered to the Russian army by 2020, but this delivery has been delayed and has fallen by the wayside. Currently only a “few tens” of these MBTs have been produced and are in service, with a ramp up in production promised up until 2025.

That said, the Armata marks a significant departure from mainstream Russian tank design. For a start, the turret is unmanned, with the three man (or woman perhaps) crew contained in an armoured compartment in the hull, separate from the ammunition and autoloader. Presumably this will mitigate the worst of the catastrophic ammunition explosions we have seen with older models in Ukraine.

The gun is a version of the Russian 125 mm gun seen on previous vehicles and can fire both armoured piercing ammunition and guided anti-tank missiles, and the two machine guns are also in remotely controlled mini turrets. With a top speed of around fifty-five miles per hour and a range of approximately 500 kilometres, it could well prove to be a formidable opponent to NATO-standard western tanks.

Some observers have said that its presence in Ukraine will be purely political and symbolic, and its small numbers will not impact the conflict significantly. Now, where else have I heard similar criticism recently?

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a Defence Analyst and a former Army officer, author & broadcaster – sign up to his podcast at defencereview.uk

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Civilians & Ministers killed in Kyiv Helicopter Crash

Ukraine suffered a body blow this week when a civilian helicopter on its way to the front line near Bakhmut crashed in the outskirts of Kyiv, apparently killing all nine on board and others on the ground. Amongst the dead were Ukranian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, his deputy, and several colleagues. Others were killed on the ground, including children from a nearby kindergarten.

The exact circumstances of the crash will be revealed in the fullness of time when expert investigators have sifted the evidence, but there seem to be three possibilities; first, mechanical failure. There are eyewitnesss reports that the helicopter was on fire and circling prior to it coming down. This would seem to me that likeliest explanation.

Others have suggested pilot or crew error, exacerbated by the foggy weather at the time and the need to fly at low level on account of the wartime threat. This too is possible, though less likely. Professional pilots are trained to fly by their instruments in low visibility. The third suggestion is that it was shot down by the Russians. Whilst this is technically possible it would seem to be the least likely explanation.

But there’s no doubt it has been a blow for the Ukrainian government. We can ask whether it was wise to have both the Minister and his deputy in the same aircraft in wartime and maybe procedures will be changed in the aftermath, but that’s for another time.

Accidents and tragedy go hand in glove with armed conflict. It may be that the war was not directly the cause of the crash, but as President Zelensky put it, it clearly happened “because” of the war.

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a Defence Analyst and a former Army officer, author & broadcaster – sign up to his podcast at defencereview.uk

 Have you signed up for the Defence Review Podcast?  https://open.spotify.com/show/4vHJsYgxfrDyTkKgMpGlqs 

Tank CommanderLt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available for pre-order now

Defence Newsletter  w/c 23rd January 2023

 

 w/c 23rd January 2023

Ukraine is doing the fighting for us. Chancellor Scholz needs to grow a pair and get on with it

Philosophically, I don’t think we can pretend any more that the Russo-Ukraine conflict is anything other than a proxy war between NATO and Russia. If the west does not do everything in its power to assist Ukraine to win and expel Russian troops from its territory then who knows where Putin’s aggression may take us next. Poland? The Baltics

Russia to deploy new Battle Tank in Ukraine War

The gun is a version of the Russian 125 mm gun seen on previous vehicles and can fire both armoured piercing ammunition and guided anti-tank missiles, and the two machine guns are also in remotely controlled mini turrets. With a top speed of around fifty-five miles per hour and a range of approximately 500 kilometres, it could well prove to be a formidable opponent to NATO-standard western tanks.

Civilians & Ministers killed in Kyiv Helicopter Crash in Kyiv

Ukraine suffered a body blow this week when a civilian helicopter on its way to the front line near Bakhmut crashed in the outskirts of Kyiv, apparently killing all nine on board and others on the ground. Amongst the dead were Ukranian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, his deputy, and several colleagues. Others were killed on the ground, including children from a nearby kindergarten.

Britain sending Challenger 2 Tanks – is there more than meets the eye? Defence Budget Uplift In Doubt

The promise to send fourteen Challenger 2 tanks is, as I have written elsewhere, more political and symbolic than militarily useful. They are unlike anything other tank the Ukrainians have or are likely to have and will require yet another different logistic and supplies set up. Famously, or infamously if you prefer, the Challenger’s 120 mm rifled gun using different ammunition to the rest of NATO, to mention but one issue.

Tank CommanderLt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available for pre-order now

Reviews of “Tank Commander: From the Cold War to the Gulf and Beyond”

From United Kingdom

ihw21hr

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 5 January 2023

This is a well written insight into soldiering in the British Army from the 80’s onwards. Great that the author does not spare the military “system” their blushes and an enjoyable read. Illuminating for those who would like to know what life was like and how the Army worked in the Cold War/Gulf War and beyond, and entertaining for those who were in or around the Army at the time and remember the (mostly) good times.

Thoroughly recommend.

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Nicolas de Vega

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 2 January 2023

This book is faithful to the reality of BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) soldiering in the 1980s. Stuart Crawford was one of the brighter stars in the firmament of the British Army’s officer corps of that era. He delivers an honest and, at times coruscating, personal account of his experiences. Anyone interested in what it was like to serve in BAOR in that time should buy it – as should anyone who ever had the privilege to serve in BAOR and pines nostalgically for their younger days. In a sense, it is a pity that Crawford never served in Northern Ireland, which was at the time the staple operational fare for most British soldiers, particularly the infantry. But he joined his regiment at a time when the army top brass stopped sending armoured and artillery regiments to Ulster in the infantry role, mindful of the risk of ‘skills-fade’ inherent in taking the more technical ‘teeth-arm’ units out of the line for a year at a time, when the armies of the Soviet Bloc remained a ‘clear and present danger’ to the West. On the other hand, Crawford was one of the select few to serve in the first Gulf War, which became one of the defining events for the British Army of the time (along with the Falklands campaign). If there is any criticism of the book, it lies in its rather understated style. Crawford might have done better to blow his own trumpet a bit more, as seems to be the fashion these days. It nevertheless provides an invaluable primary source for future historians of the period, much like the other book covering a similar historical waterfront (‘A Soldier in The Sand’) by Crawford’s contemporary, Simon Mayall. Where the latter seems to relish uncritically almost every aspect of his time in the British Army, Crawford strikes a more nuanced and reflective tone.
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Amazon Customer

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 2 January 2023

Great commentary on an under-recorded period. For those that served in BAOR in the 1980s Stuart provides a light-hearted insight into life in an armoured regiment at a time when the Russians were, as now, very much the guys we worried about. Chieftains, drinking, training, laughing and the formation of some great friendships. A nostalgic gander through the decade and beyond.
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Roger Fisher

Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 7 December 2022

A book from a good officer and gentleman. Informed, accurate. Balancing the truth and politics of it all. Arriving at a superb picture of the efforts and ‘battles’ of those times. Stuart has painted a journey, arriving at the shores of present day. The reasons and the laughter, pain and grind of one Armoured Regiment. A must for all who want to know how we got here. Fear Naught.

Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a Defence Analyst and a former Army officer, author & broadcaster – sign up to his podcast at defencereview.uk

 Have you signed up for the Defence Review Podcast?  https://open.spotify.com/show/4vHJsYgxfrDyTkKgMpGlqs 

Tank CommanderLt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available for pre-order now