Will the Kremlin start deploying more sophisticated weapons systems in Ukraine?

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
28/12/22

In recent years, Russia has shown the West its technological advances in the military field through the media exposure of the latest products of its war industry. Already in 2015, at the parade on May 9, military analysts were able to observe the new T-14 MBT Armata and the T-15 AIFV (opening photo), as well as other tracked and wheeled vehicles. Subsequently, images of the new 5th generation Sukhoi Su-57 fighter and of the S-70 UCAV began to leak, the latter accredited with air-to-air combat capabilities.

However, since the beginning ofSpecial Operation of Moscow in Ukraine, the use of these new weapon systems would seem to have been somewhat discreet if not absent. This is the case, for example, of the Kh-47M2 hypersonic missile Kinzhal which, installed on the MiG-31K fighter and on the Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, was used extremely sparingly, despite the presence on Ukrainian territory of several "paying" targets.

However, last October, the Kremlin announced that it had used four Su-57s to neutralize Ukrainian surface-to-air missile systems. This claim has not been confirmed by independent sources. What we do know is that in 2018 two fighters of this model (then still in the prototype stage) were deployed in Syria. The Russian Aerospace Forces have expressed a request for 76 Su-57s and the first five production aircraft would already be in service, despite major delays.

As for the S-70 UCAV (photo), designed to operate in cooperation with the Su-57 (photo), there hasn't been much talk since the JSC Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association announced its intention to mass produce it, in August 2021, with deliveries expected in 2024.

Remaining in the field of the unmanned, we know that the Russians have deployed the demining robot in the Donbass Uranium-6, while there is no indication, to date, that they have also employed armed robots Uranium-9.

As for the deployment of the latest MBT models available to the Russians, the T-90M tanks with active protection (APS) Relikt, it would seem that two were destroyed by the anti-tank systems supplied to the Ukrainians (in total 7 would have been lost).

There is currently no intention of Russian military leaders to deploy the T-14s and T-15s in Ukraine. There are few specimens available, the Armata project proved to be very expensive and did not fully meet the requirements of the Russian Army.

Last year, after tests carried out in Syria, a Russian official he had assured that the first twenty tanks would be delivered by 2021.

The T-14 (following photo) is a tank with a "revolutionary architecture", as the crew (commander, gunner and driver) is housed in a sort of "multilayer armored capsule" inside the hull, while the The armament installed in the turret is remotely controlled. Both the hull and the turret are equipped with the double explosive reactive protection system malachite and the new active protection system Afghanistan.

The T-15 is a latest generation AIFV, with a combat weight of 50 tons (second in mass only to the Israeli Namer), equipped with the same active and passive protection as the tank Armata.

The T-15 can be armed with a remote-controlled 2x42 mm 30A165 autocannon; a coaxial 7,62x54 mm PKT machine gun and a twin launcher with two 9M133M anti-tank guided missiles Kornet-M on both sides.

Another version could be armed with a 2x91 mm 57A348 autocannon and anti-tank guided missiles Ataka 9M120-1M.

At the moment there are no reliable sources that certify the use of these platforms in the Ukrainian conflict, the fact remains that if the progress of the conflict were to continue further, the Kremlin will decide to deploy them, even if in reduced numbers.

Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

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