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T-90 MBT

The T-90 is a Russian third-generation main battle tank that is a modernisation of the T-72 (it was originally to be called the T-72BU, later renamed to T-90), and is currently the most modern tank in service with the Russian Ground Forces and Naval Infantry. Although derived from the T-72, the T-90 uses the tank gun and 1G46 gunner sights from the T-80U, a new engine, and thermal sights. Protective measures include Kontakt-5 ERA, laser warning receivers, Nakidka camouflage, the EMT-7 electromagnetic pulse (EMP) creator for the destruction of magnetic mines and the Shtora infrared ATGM jamming system. It is designed and built by Uralvagonzavod, in Nizhny Tagil, Russia.

By 1992, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it could no longer afford to manufacture two main battle tanks in parallel. Since both the "quality" T-80U and the cheaper "quantity" T-72B were being built at different plants, and each plant was critical to the economy of its city, the government gave small orders to both. Omsk built five T-80Us and Nizhny Tagil built fifteen T-72s, and both built more in the hopes of winning large export orders. Nizhny Tagil had built a few T-72BMs, T-72Bs upgraded with a third generation add-on explosive reactive armour (ERA) called Kontakt-5, which was already in service on the T-80U.

To further improve the T-72's export prospects and its chances of being selected as Russia's sole production MBT, the T-80U's more sophisticated fire control system was also added to produce a vehicle designated T-72BU. The T-90 was developed by the Kartsev-Venediktov Design Bureau at the Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhny Tagil. The production model is based on the T-72BM, with some added features from the T-80 series.

The T-90 with an 840 hp (630 kW) engine went into low-level production in 1993, based on a prototype designated T-88. It features a new generation of Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor on its hull and turret. Of conventional layout, the T-90 represents a major upgrade to every system in the T-72, including the main gun. The T-90S have been identified as export model. The references to a T-90E appear to be unsubstantiated. The T-90 is fitted with a "three-tiered" protection system: the first tier is the composite armour in the turret, second tier is third generation Kontakt-5 ERA and third tier is aShtora-1 countermeasures suite.


T-90: Original production model.
T-90K: Command version of the T-90.
T-90E: Export version of T-90 MBT.
T-90A: Russian army version with welded turret, V-92S2 engine and ESSA thermal viewer. Sometimes called T-90 Vladimir.
T-90S: Export version of T-90A. Sometimes called T-90C (Cyrillic letter es looks like a Latin c). Tanks are found with two different turret armour arrays.
T-90SK: Command version of the T-90S. It differs in radio and navigation equipment and Ainet remote-detonation system for HEF rounds.
T-90S "Bhishma": modified T-90S in Indian service.
T-90M: It features new explosive reactive armour (ERA) Relikt, new 1,200 hp (890 kW) engine, new improved turret and composite armor, new gun, new thermal imaging Catherine-FC from THALES, an enhanced environmental control systemsupplied by Israels Kinetics Ltd for providing cooled air to the fighting compartment, integrated tactical system, satellite navigation and others.


BREM-72: Armoured recovery vehicle.
MTU-90: Bridge layer tank with MLC50 bridge.
IMR-3: Combat engineer vehicle.
BMR-3: Mine clearing vehicle.

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Production and service history

The Russian Defence Ministry made a selection of a single Main Battle Tank (MBT) in 1995. The T-80 was more expensive and its delicate, fuel-hungry gas turbine engine provided a questionable advantage. It was also notorious for the poor showing of older T-80BV tanks in urban combat in Chechnya.

By September 1995, some 107 T-90 tanks had been produced, located in theSiberian Military District. By mid-1996 some 107 T-90s had gone into service in the Far Eastern Military District.

1999 saw the appearance of a new model of T-90, featuring the fully welded turret of the Object 187 experimental MBT instead of the original T-90's cast turret. This new model is called "Vladimir" in honour of T-90 Chief Designer Vladimir Potkin, who died in 1999. It is unknown how this design affects the protection and layout of the turret, or whether the tank's hull armour layout was changed.

In 2007, there were about 334 T-90 tanks serving in the Russian Ground Forces' 5th Guards Tank Division, stationed in the Siberian Military District, and seven T-90 tanks in the Navy. Some 31 new T-90 tanks were expected to enter service in 2007, and 60 in 2008.The T-90A saw combat action during the 1999 Chechen invasion of Dagestan. According to Moscow Defense Brief, one T-90 was hit by seven RPG anti-tank rockets but remained in action. The journal concludes that with regular equipment T-90A seems to be the best protected Russian tank, especially if Shtora and Arena defensive protection systems are integrated in it.
According to the GlobalSecurity, the T-90 is an interim solution, pending the introduction of the new Russian Main Battle Tank (MBT) which is currently under development and further adds that the T-90 will remain in low-rate production to keep production lines open until newer designs are available.

The Russian Federal Service for Defense Contracts (Rosoboronzakaz) announced in July 2008 that a new tank, (which rumour has previously referred to as the T-95), it was due to be introduced in 2009, but development was cancelled in May 2010. The T-90 is expected to be extensively upgraded & remain in service until 2025, while older T-72 and T-80 tanks are being phased out around the same time in 2025.

-- Edited by TMK-2 on Monday 8th of November 2010 11:43:07 PM

Man is after money, but money is after his soul.

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A follow-on contract, worth $800 million, was signed on October 26, 2006, for another 330 T-90M "Bhishma" MBTs that were to be manufactured in India by Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, Tamil Nadu.In 2001, India bought 310 T-90S tanks from Russia, of which 120 were delivered complete, 90 in semi-knocked down kits, and 100 in completely-knocked down kits. The T-90 was selected because it is a direct development of the T-72 which India already employs, simplifying training and maintenance. India bought the T-90 after the delay in production of the domestically developed Arjun main battle tank, and to counter Pakistani deployment of the Ukrainian T-80UD in 199597. These tanks were made by Uralvagonzavod and the uprated 1,000 hp (750 kW) engines were delivered by Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. These tanks however did not feature the Shtora active protection system though there are reports that a separate contract for shipment of a modernized version of this suite is being discussed.

The T-90M Bhishma is a customized, improved version of the T-90S which India developed with assistance from Russia , Israel and France all of whom India has very close ties with. Bhishma was an Invincible & Immortal warrior from ancientHindu epic, the Mahabharata.The tanks are equipped with the French-designed thermal sights and utilizes India's Kanchan explosive reactive armored plates. In April 2008, the Indian Army sent request for proposals to Rafael, BAE Systems,Raytheon, Rosoboronexport, Saab, and Germanys IBD Deisenroth Engineeringfor an active protection system for the T-90S Bhishma. The contract is expected to be worth US$270 million & Rosoboronexport or Saab are the favourites to bag this deal.

A third contract, worth $1.23 billion, was signed in December 2007 for 347 upgraded T-90Ms, the bulk of which will be licence-assembled by HVF. The Army hopes to field a force of over 21 regiments of T-90 tanks and 40 regiments of modified T-72s. The Indian Army would begin receiving its first T-90M main battle tank (MBT) in completely knocked-down condition from Russias Nizhny Tagil-based Uralvagonzavod JSC by the end of 2009.

The T-90M features the Kaktus embedded explosive reactive armour (ERA) package on its frontal hull and turret-top (the T-90S has Kontakt-5 ERA), is fitted with an enhanced environmental control system supplied by Israels Kinetics Ltd for providing cooled air to the fighting compartment, has additional internal volume for housing the cryogenic cooling systems for new-generation thermal imagers like the THALES-built Catherine-FC thermal imager (operating in the 8-12 micrometre bandwidth). In all, India plans to have 1,640 T-90 tanks in service by 2018-2020.
The first batch of 10 license built T-90M "Bhishma" was inducted into the Indian army on 24 August 2009. These vehicles were built at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, Tamil Nadu.

Other potential foreign sales

The Cyprus House Defense Committee approved funds in January 2009 for the purchase of 41 Russian-built T-90 tanks. The money is included as part of the 2009 defense budget. Cyprus already operates the Russian-made T-80 tank. In March 2010 it was reported that Cyprus had opted for 41 additional T-80s instead of purchasing T-90s.

Anonymous Venezuelan defense sources say that president Hugo Chavez wants to replace his army's obsolescent AMX-30main battle tanks with between 50 and 100 Russian-built T-90 main battle tanks, according to an October 2008 article by analyst Jack Sweeney. In September, 2009 a deal was announced for 92 T-72s only.

Algeria was said in June 2006 to be negotiating a large arms contract which would include some type of Russian tanks. Saudi Arabia was reported, in July 2008, by Russian daily Kommersant to be in negotiations to buy 150 T-90. LebaneseDefence Minister Elias El Murr met with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in December 2008, when they discussed the possibility of a transfer of military equipment including T-90 tanks.

In February 2010, an arms deal was signed between Libya and Russia. Details of the sale were not immediately released, but a Russian diplomat stated that Libya had wanted 20 fighter planes, air defense systems, and may also be interested in purchasing 'several dozen' T-90s, and modernizing a further 140 T-72s.

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The NSV 12.7 mm (12.7x108) remotely controlled anti-aircraft Heavy machine guncan be operated from within the tank by the commander and has a range of 2 km and a cyclic rate of fire of 650-750 rounds per minute with 300 rounds available. The PKT 7.62 mm (7.62x54mm R) coaxial machine gun weighs about 10.5 kg while the ammunition box carries 250 rounds (7000 rounds carried) and weighs an additional 9.5 kg.The T-90's main armament is the 2A46M 125 mm smoothbore tank gun. This is a highly modified version of the Sprut anti-tank gun, and is the same gun used as the main armament on the T-80-series tanks. It can be replaced without dismantling the inner turret and is capable of firing armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot(APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT-FS), and high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) ammunition, as well as 9M119M Refleks anti-tank guided missiles. The Refleks missile has semi-automatic laser beam-riding guidance and a tandem hollow-charge HEAT warhead. It has an effective range of 100 m to 6 km, and takes 17.5 seconds to reach maximum range. Refleks can penetrate about 950 millimetres (37 in) of steel armour and can also engage low-flying air targets such as helicopters.

Like other modern Russian tanks the 2A46M in the T-90 is fed by an automatic loader which removes the need for a manual loader in the tank and reduces the crew to 3 (commander, gunner and driver). The autoloader can carry 22 ready-to-fire rounds in its carousel and can load a round in 58 seconds. It has been suggested that the automatic loaders on modern T-90 tanks have been modified to take advantage of newer ammunition such as the 3BM-44M APFSDS, which like the US M829A3penetrates armour better than the previous shorter rounds. HEAT rounds that can be fired from the 2A46M includes the3BK21B(with a Depleted uranium liner), 3BK29(with a credited penetration of 800 mm RHA equivalency), and the 3BK29(with aTriple-tandem charge warhead). Additionally the T-90 features the Ainet fuse setting system which allows the tank to detonate3OF26 HE-FRAG rounds at a specific distance from the tank as determined by the gunners laser rangefinder, improving it's performance against helicopters and infantry.

Fire-control system on the T-90 includes the PNK-4S/SR AGAT day and night sighting system mounted at the commanders station which allows for night time detection of a tank sized target at ranges between 700 and 1100 meters depending on the version of the sight. Early models of the T-90 were equipped with the TO1-KO1 BURAN sight but later models (T-90S) were upgraded to use the ESSA thermal imaging sight, which allows for accurate firing to a range of 50008000 m using the CATHERINE-FC thermal camera produced by Thales Optronique. The gunner is also provided with the 1G46 day sighting system which includes a laser range finder, missile guidance channel and allows tank-sized targets to be detected and engaged at 5 to 8 kilometres (3.1 to 5.0 mi). The driver users a TVN-5 day and night sight. In 2010,Russia started licensed production of Thales-developed Catherine FC thermal imaging cameras for T-90M tanks, a Russian daily said. These thermal imagers are also present on T-90M "Bhishma" build in India under license.


Different models of the T-90 tank are powered by the V-84MS 618 kW (840 hp) four-stroke V-12 piston engine, uprated 1,000 hp (750 kW) engines and 1,250 hp (930 kW) engines made by Uralvagonzavod and are delivered by Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. The -90S with 1,000 hp (750 kW) engine can attain a top speed of 60 km/h on the road and up to 45 km/h on rough terrain. T-90 tank has classic arrangement of transmission, with rear placed engine and transmission. The 1,000 hp (750 kW) engines are V-92 two stroke, 12 cylinder, multi-fuel diesel while 1,250 hp (930 kW) engine is V-96. The T-90 export version i.e. modified T-90S is fitted with increased power multi-fuel 1,000-h.p. diesel engine with gas turbine injection. The tank is also fitted with air conditioning system for work in high temperature zones.


The third tier is a Shtora-1 (Russian: -1 or "curtain" in English) countermeasures suite, produced by Elektromashina of Russia. This system includes two electro-optical/IR "dazzlers" on the front of the turret(which gives the distinct Red Eyes), four laser warning receivers, two 3D6 aerosol grenadedischarging systems and a computerized control system. The Shtora-1 warns the tank's crew when the tank has been 'painted' by a weapon-guidance laser and allows the crew to slew the turret to face the threat. The infrared jammer, the TShU1-7 EOCMDAS, jams the semiautomatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) guidance system of some anti-tank guided missiles. The aerosol grenades are automatically launched after Shtora detects that it has been painted. The aerosol grenades are used to mask the tank from laser rangefinders and designators as well as the optics of other weapons systems. Indian T-90S tanks are not equipped with the Shtora-1 countermeasures suite.The second tier is third generation Kontakt-5 ERA (explosive reactive armor) which significantly degrade the penetrating power of kinetic-energy APFSDS ammunition and also these ERA blocks give the turret its distinctive angled "clam shell" appearance. ERA bricks are also located on the turret roof and provide protection from top-attack weapons. The turret's forward armour package in addition to the ERA and steel plating contains a composite filler sandwiched of Russian composite armour between upper and lower steel plates, the composite armour results in a lower weight and improved protection when compared with steel-only armour.

Also in addition to the passive and active protection systems the T-90 is also fitted with nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection equipment, KMT mine sweeps and an automatic fire fighting system. The EMT-7 electromagnetic-counter mine system can also be installed on the T-90. EMT-7 emits an electromagnetic pulse to disable magnetic mines and disrupt electronics before the tank reaches them. The Nakidka signature reduction suite is also available for the T-90. Nakidka is designed to reduce the probabilities of an object to be detected by Infrared, Thermal, Radar-Thermal, and Radar bands.

During a reported test conducted by the Russian military in 1999 the T-90 was exposed to a variety of RPG, ATGM andAPFSDS munitions. When equipped with Kontakt-5 ERA the T-90 could not be penetrated with any of the APFSDS or ATGM used during the trial and outperformed a T-80U which also took part.

-- Edited by TMK-2 on Monday 8th of November 2010 11:52:46 PM

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Russia - Russia operated 400~ T-90 tanks in 2009 (varies according to source), with new production to equip up to 2 battalions per year until 2011, and 31 tanks per battalion.

India - India currently operates up to 620 T-90 which were procured in three separate orders. Two batches (310 tanks and knockdown kits in 2000 and a further 300 in 2006) were purchased from Russia. It is unknown whether the second batch of Russian tanks has been completed. A further 1,000 were to be produced locally by 2020. Of those, the first batch of 10 were delivered in August 2009.

Algeria - Algeria purchased 180 T-90SA tanks. 102 of the 180 were in service by 2007/2008, and the remainder are to be delivered by 2011.

Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia is to buy 150 T-90S main battle tanks and helicopters in a $2 billion weapons deal.

Turkmenistan - Turkmenistan has ordered 10 T-90S tanks in 2009 for approximately $30 million.

Technical Specs:

TypeMain battle tank
Placeoforigin22px-Flag_of_Russia.svg.pngRussian Federation
Service history
Production history
Unitcost$2.23 million (in January, 2007)
Weight46.5tonnes (45.8LT; 51.3ST)
Length9.53m (31ft3in)
Width3.78m (12ft5in)
Height2.22m (7ft3in)

ArmorSteel-composite-reactive blend

vs APFSDS: 550 mm + 250-280mm with Kontakt-5 = 800-830mm; vs HEAT: 650 mm + 500-700mm with Kontakt-5 = 1,150-1,350mm

125 mm smoothbore gun withATGMcapability; mainly9M119 Svir
7.62 mmcoaxial machine gun, 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun
EngineModel 84 V-84 12-cyl. diesel

V-92 12-cyl. diesel
V-96 12-cyl. diesel
840 hp (626 kW) for Model 84 V-84 12-cyl. diesel engine
1000hp (736 kW) for V-92 12-cyl. diesel engine
1,250 hp (919 kW) for V-96 12-cyl. diesel engine

Power/weight18.1 hp/tonne (13.5 kW/tonne) for Model 84 V-84 12-cyl. diesel engine

21.5 hp/tonne (15.7 kW/tonne) for V-92 12-cyl. diesel engine
26.9 hp/tonne (19.8 kW/tonne) for V-96 12-cyl. diesel engine

Suspensiontorsion bar
550km (340 mi)
Speed60km/h (37 mph)

-- Edited by TMK-2 on Monday 8th of November 2010 11:56:24 PM

Man is after money, but money is after his soul.

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Gravity doesn't exist. The Earth sucks.

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the T-90 is probably the best tank russia has ever made, for the fact that it actualy stands a chance against the M1A2 Abrams


Keep Low. Move Fast. First Kill. Die Last
One Shot. One Kill. No Luck. Pure Skill.


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