October 2, 2022

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Russia praises it as the best tank in the world, but struggles with the armored car nicknamed “Vladimir” in Ukraine | PHOTO GALLERY

Russia says its main battle tank T-90 is one of the best in the world, but the model nicknamed “Vladimir”, modernized with great efforts, has serious problems on the front in Ukraine.

The T-90M tank is the newest version of the T-90, which began life as an effort to modernize the T-72 tanks of the 1980s, writes Business Insider.

Despite its stated advantages and Russian promotion, the T-90 had serious problems in Ukraine.

Given Russia’s long reliance on using massive amounts of armor on the battlefield, Moscow is always looking to upgrade its tank fleet where it can.

The development and modernization of the T-90 has been a significant element of this effort since the collapse of the Soviet Union until now, despite the tank’s questionable performance in Ukraine.

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What is T-90?

Russia touts the T-90 as one of its most advanced tanks in service today. Armed with a 125 mm 2А46М main gun served by an autoloader, the T-90 has a firing range of 5 kilometers in its basic form and is additionally equipped with 12.7 mm KORD coaxial machine guns and 7.62 mm PTKM .

With a crew of three, the basic version of the T-90 is powered by a 1,000 mm 12-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach speeds of 60 kilometers per hour on the road and 50 kilometers off-road.

Russia massively exported the T-90 to compensate for the very bad opinion in the local press

The T-90 is capable of firing the advanced 9M119 Refleks anti-tank guided missile system, which is designed to hit tanks with explosive reactive armor or helicopters.

As for its own protection, the T-90 is protected by a combination of Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor on the hull and turret, as well as multi-layer steel armor.

Originally, the T-90 project began as an upgrade of the T-72 in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, around the 1980s.

By 1989, the project had evolved into a distinct and independent effort, leading to limited series production beginning in 1992.

As a result of the bad press accumulated by the T-72 and T-80BV in the first Gulf War and the first Chechen War, the Russian arms industry felt pressured to market the T-90 heavily for export, to compensate for such bad opinion in mass media.

The new T-14 Armata model is unlikely to appear anytime soon

Before long, the export of the T-90 – T-90S – caught the attention of Russian military leaders, who initially ordered 200 examples under the designation T-90A, after licensing a “dismantled” version of the tank for production in India, where 1,000 copies were built.

The T-90A received the nickname “Vladimir” after the death of the main designer of the tank, Vladimir Ivanovich Potkin.

The newest version of the T-90 is the T-90M, which is being touted as a new standard by Moscow in its bid to modernize its fleet. Its main improvements over the T-90A include the use of Relikt explosive reactive armor and an improved version of the main gun, which increases the range and accuracy of the T-90M compared to previous versions.

Although the T-90M first entered the world in 2017, the exact number of T-90s in Russian service today is difficult to determine with certainty.

While the Russian Armed Forces were scheduled to receive the last units of an order of 65 T-90Ms by the end of 2021, Russia does not appear to have many additional examples of the upgraded tank beyond this delivery, despite Kremlin statements.

Moscow plans to use its fleet of T-90Ms as a modern replacement until the introduction of the new T-14 Armata model, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

How T-90 tanks fared on the Ukrainian front

Despite its advantages on paper and promotion in the Russian media as the best tanks in the world, the Russian T-90 armored personnel carrier has faced serious problems in Ukraine.

According to the open-source blog Oryx, Russia has so far lost 20 “Vladimirs” in Ukraine, as well as two T-90Ms.

In fact, Russia appears to have suffered its first loss of a T-90M very shortly after the tanks began appearing in Ukraine in the spring.

While Russian media sources have pointed to the continued delivery of T-90Ms to the Russian armed forces during the invasion as proof of the resilience of Russia’s arms industry, the discovery of French optronic technology in a T-90 captured by Ukrainian forces raises questions about the sustainability of the supply chains that support T-90 production.

Although the T-90 fell short of much of its expectations in the invasion of Ukraine, the ever-distant arrival of the T-14 Armata in active service likely means Russia will have no choice but to maintain its current fleet of T-90s for the foreseeable future .

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