Russian forces will receive their first T90M in 2019

The Russian forces today have a fleet of 3500 battle tanks in line, made up of T72, T80 and T90, giving it a certain numerical advantage over the European forces. More than 50% of these armored vehicles are now modernized standards, T72B3M and T80BVM, equipped with new engines, new armor and new sights, so as to bring these tanks as close as possible to Western standards, such as Leopard 2 German A6 or the French Leclerc. In addition to the 150 T72/80s modernized each year, around fifty T90Ms, the final version of the T72 series, will now be added.

Like the T72B3M, the T90M received new Relkit reactive armor on the hull and turret, increasing the tank's protection against shaped charges. Its new 1000 hp S92S2 engine propels this 48-ton tank to a speed of 60 km/h on the road, and gives it a range of 550 km. On the optronic side, the T90M receives a new thermal camera derived from the Thales Catherine, and the tank commander now has a screen presenting the data collected on the battlefield, which every modern armored vehicle must have. Finally, it is equipped with a new cannon, the 2A46M-4 125mm smoothbore cannon with automatic loading, which can fire different types of shells and the Refleks anti-tank missile, identified by NATO as AT-11 Sniper B, with a range of 5000m.

The modifications made to the T90M make it a powerful tank, although inferior to its European counterparts. Its entry into service has more the objective of maintaining a form of homogeneity in the Russian armored units, while awaiting the arrival of the T14 Armata, of which everything suggests that it will actually be superior to the European tanks of the Leclerc generation and of the Leopard 2. The first units equipped with T14 should be operational in 2020 or 2021, although it is unknown whether the general staff favors the constitution of regiments/battalions fully equipped with this tank, or if initially, this will be distributed among the existing battleship units, so as to have a breakout company equipped with heavy tanks, and supported by 3 companies of T72/80/90. While the atomicity of combat units is reduced with the arrival of battlefield management systems, this last hypothesis would be far from being the most improbable, nor the least effective.

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