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T90 Modern Battle Tank

T90 Modern Battle Tank

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Published by Meor Amri
This is the history behind the development of the T90 tank.
This is the history behind the development of the T90 tank.

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Published by: Meor Amri on Aug 22, 2008
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Wargames Section:
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Tiger Tanks Section:
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Main Battle Tanks Section:
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Main Battle Tank Prototypes:
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Links
 
Today is: August 22, 2008Last Updated: June 15, 2007
Russian T-90/T90S Main Battle Tank.
 
Introduction:
The T-90S is the latest development in the T-series of Russian tanks and represents an increase infirepower, mobility and protection. It is manufactured by the Uralvagonzavod Plant in Nizhniy Tagil(Potkin's bureau) of the Russian Federation.The T-90S is in service with the Russian Army and the Indian Army. In February 2001, the IndianArmy signed a contract for 310 T-90S tanks. 124 were completed in Russia and the rest are beingdelivered in "knocked down/semi-knocked down" form for final assembly in India. The first of these wasdelivered in January 2004. The locally-assembled tanks are christened "Bhishma". The tanks are fitted withthe Shtora self-protection system and thermal imagers from Thales of France and Peleng of Belarus.In January 2005, it was announced that a further 91 T-90S tanks would be procured for the RussianArmy. 31 are due to be delivered in 2006.In March 2006, Algeria signed a contract for the supply of 180 T-90S tanks from Uralvagonzavod, tobe delivered by 2011.In November 2006, India ordered a further 300 T-90 tanks, to be licence-built by Heavy VehicleFactory (HVF), Avadi. Deliveries are to begin in 2008.
TheT-90S is the most modern and best protected Main BattleTank of the Russian Army.
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History:
Derived from the T-72, the GPO Uralvagonzavod T-90 main battle tank is the most modern tank inthe Russian Army's arsenal. The successor to T-72BM, the T-90 uses the gun and 1G46 gunner sights fromT-80U, a new engine, and thermal sights. Protective measures include Kontakt-5 ERA, laser warningreceivers, and the SHTORA infrared ATGM jamming system.Kontakt-5 is a Russian type of third-generation explosive reactive armour. It is the first type of ERAwhich is effectively able to defeat modern APFSDS rounds. Introduced on the T-80U tank in 1985, Kontakt-5 is made up of "bricks" of explosive sandwiched between two metal plates. The plates are arranged insuch a way as to move sideways rapidly when the explosive detonates. This will force an incoming KE-penetrator or shaped charge jet to cut through more armour than the thickness of the plating itself, since"new" plating is constantly fed into the penetrating body. A KE-penetrator will also be subjected topowerful sideways forces, which might be large enough to cut the rod into two or more pieces. This willsignificantly reduce the penetrating capabilities of the penetrator, since the penetrating force will bedissipated over a larger volume of armour.By 1992 the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it could no longer afford to manufacture twoMBTs in parallel. Since both the "quality" T-80U and the cheaper "quantity" T-72B were each being built atone plant, and each plant was critical to the economy of the city it was in, the Government gave smallorders to both. Omsk built five T-80Us and Nizhni Tagil 15 T-72s, and both built more against the hope of winning large export orders. Nizhni Tagil had built a few T-72BMs, T-72Bs upgraded with a third generationadd-on Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) called Kontakt-5, which was already in service on the T-80U MBT.Kontakt-5 has been succeeded by the newer Kaktus type, which is currently only seen on prototypetanks such as the T-80UM2 "Chiorny Oriol" (Black Eagle) tank.To further improve the T-72's export prospects and its chances of being selected as Russia's soleproduction MBT, the T-80U's more sophisticated fire control system was also added to produce a vehicledesignated T-72BU. Finally, since worldwide news coverage during Desert Storm had firmly established theimage of the T-72 as a burning Iraqi tank, the new model was renamed T-90.The Russian Defense Ministry made a selection of a single MBT in 1995. The fighting in Grozny hadbeen shown around the world and the reputation of Russian tanks suffered. Although many casualties weredue to bad tactics and many T-72s were also lost, it was the knocked-out T-80s which made animpression. More had been expected of the "quality" T-80 MBT. This is alleged to have tipped the balanceagainst the T-80 in the selection. The T-80 was already more expensive and its delicate, fuel-hungryturbine engine was still giving problems. In January 1996, Col.-Gen. Aleksandr Galkin, Chief of the MainArmor Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, announced that the T-90 had been selected as the soleRussian MBT.The T-90 went into low-level production in 1993, based on a prototype designated as the T-88. TheT-90 was developed by the Kartsev-Venediktov Design Bureau at the Vagonka Works in Nizhniy Tagil.Initially thought by Western observers to be an entirely new design, the production model is in fact basedon the T-72BM, with some added features from the T-80 series. The T-90 features a new generation of armor on its hull and turret. Two variants, the T-90S and T-90E, have been identified as possible exportmodels. Plans called for all earlier models to be replaced with T-90s by the end of 1997, subject to fundingavailability. By mid-1996 some 107 T-90s had gone into service in the Far Eastern Military District.Of conventional layout, the T-90 represents a major upgrade to every system in the T-72, includingthe main gun. The T-90 is an interim solution, pending the introduction of the new Nizhny Tagil MBT whichhas been delayed due to lack of funding. Produced primarily mainly due to its lower cost, the T-90 willprobably remain in low-rate production to keep production lines open until newer designs becomeavailable. Several hundred of these tanks have been produced, with various estimates suggesting thatbetween 100 and 300 are in service, primarily in the Far East.
Page 2 of 8Main Battle Tank - T-90/T90S/T90C8/22/2008file://C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\T-90S.htm
 
 T-90S, speeding out.
The T-90 retains the low silhouette of the earlier Soviet tanks. The glacis is well sloped, and iscovered by second generation ERA bricks and a large transverse rib that extends horizontally across theglacis. The driver sits at the front of the hull and has a single piece hatch cover that opens to the right, infront of which is a single wide-angle observation periscope. Integrated fuel cells and stowage containersgive a streamlined appearance to the fenders. The tank has a toothed shovel/dozer blade on the front of the hull beneath the glacis. There are attachment points beneath the blade for the KMT-6 mine-clearingplow.The low, rounded turret is centered on the hull. The commander's cupola is on the right side of theturret; the gunner's hatch is on the left side. The 125-mm main gun has a four section removable thermalshield. It has two sections in front of, and two sections to the rear of the mid-tube bore evacuator. A 7.62-mm coaxial machine-gun is mounted to the right of the mantlet. The T-90 mounts two infra-redsearchlights on either side of the main armament; these are part of the Shtora ATGM defense system. Theturret is covered with second generation reactive armor on the frontal arc.This ERA gives the turret an angled appearance, with the ERA bricks forming a "clam shell"appearance. There are ERA bricks on the turret roof to provide protection from top-attack weapons. Thereare banks of smoke mortars on either side of the turret. The second generation ERA package, combinedwith the advanced armor technology, makes the T-90 one of the best protected main battle tanks in theworld.
Variants:
The year 1999 saw the appearance of a new model of T-90, featuring the fully welded turret of the
Obiekt 187 
experimental MBT instead of the cast design of the original T-90. This new model is called"
Vladimir 
" in honor of T-90 Chief Designer Vladimir Potkin, who died in 1999. It is unknown how thisdesign affects the protection and layout of the turret, and whether the frontal armor package was alsoextensively redesigned (Source:Vasily Fofanov's Modern Russian Armor Page).There are at least three different variants of the T-90. The Russians confirmed the existence of anexport variant in June 1996 with varying equipment and engine fits, and Russian promotional materialshave discussed both the T-90S (or "C" in the sometimes-used Cyrillic non-translation) and the T-90SKcommand variant. The T-90SK command variant differs in radio and navigation equipment and Ainetremote-detonation system for HEF rounds. The T-90 "
Vladimir 
", with a welded turret, is also referred to asT-90M, but it is not an official designation. The official designation for those tanks were T-90A, or T-90SM.Actually, all production T-90s from 2001 onwards have welded turrets, so it only seems logical to assumethat the official designation now is T-90S (or "C") - what is confirmed by the fact that all T-90S MBTs soldto India have welded turrets. There are also occasional references to a T-90E, but these appear to beunsubstantiated.
T-90S MBT Characteristics
 
Page 3 of 8Main Battle Tank - T-90/T90S/T90C8/22/2008file://C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\T-90S.htm

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