Russian forces lost first T-90M heavy tank in Ukraine

With the exception of the T-14 Armata which is currently not in operational equipment in the Russian armies, the T-90M Proryv-3 (Breakthrough-3) is undoubtedly the most modern tank, the best armed and best protected in service with Russian units. However, the armored vehicle presented as a T-90 incorporating many elements from the T-14 Armata, in particular the 125 mm gun 2А82-1М and the Kalina fire control system, was not engaged in Ukraine until the end of April 2022. Although entering service in 2019, the T -90M is indeed a rare commodity within the Russian armed forces, and it is estimated that less than 100 examples have actually been delivered to date, mainly within the 2nd Guards Tank Battalion of the 1st Armored Army. Indeed, the photo published yesterday by the Ukrainian journalist Ilia Ponamarenko, showing the smoking carcass of a T-90M photographed on the outskirts of Kharkiv behind his colleague Andriy Tsapliyenko, is undoubtedly a setback for Moscow, and a success for the Ukrainian defenders.

It must be said that the T-90M is presented as a heavy tank with everything to gain the upper hand over its opponents, including against the best Western tanks, pending the entry into service of the very modern but very expensive T -14 Armata. Like the T-72B3M and the T-80BVM, the T-90M is designed on the basis of an existing model, the T-90A, itself an evolution of the T-72 in the face of the difficulties encountered in placing implementation of the T-80s and their complex turbines. But the Proryv-3 incorporates developments far superior to those of the other models, with in particular armor reinforced by the Relikt-ERA active system, a Soft-kill active protection system, and the integration of a communication suite and advanced command. Eventually, the T-90M was also to receive the Hard-Kill Arena-M system, but the photos released when the tank arrived in Ukraine did not show such equipment. In the end, the T-90M was to represent, alongside the T-14 Armata, the spearhead of the Russian armored force by 2027, while 900 copies of these two heavy tanks were to be delivered by this deadline.

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