TechDestruction of rare T-90S tanks marks shift in Ukraine war

Destruction of rare T‑90S tanks marks shift in Ukraine war

T-90S, illustrative photo
T-90S, illustrative photo
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
Mateusz Tomczak

5 July 2024 21:27

Ukrainians have reported the destruction of additional Russian armoured vehicles. Among these is the T-90S. This tank is rarely featured in frontline reports, as the Russians initially did not plan to deploy it there. We delve into the history and capabilities of this machine.

Ukrainian military and political commentator Oleksandr Kovalenko wrote about the Russians' losses in the Donetsk region on his Telegram profile. In his post, he explained, among other things, how the T-90S tanks ended up in Ukraine. Earlier, other commentators and analysts had suggested that the Russians changed their minds and decided to send available T-90S tanks to the front as a supplement due to numerous losses.

"The T-90S is the export version of the T-90 with a very interesting history. They were mainly sent under contracts to India as the T-90S Bhishma, but some tanks did not pass acceptance due to poor assembly quality and other problems/defects. During the export deliveries, a certain number of these tanks accumulated, and from November-December 2022, they began to be sent to the front," explained the Ukrainian.

The Russians lost a T-90S tank

The T-90S tank is very similar in equipment to the standard T-90 used by the Russian army. It has an engine with 1,000 horsepower, allowing the crew to accelerate the vehicle to a maximum speed of 65 km/h. Like the T-90, the tank's offensive capabilities primarily rely on the 125 mm 2A46M-3 smoothbore gun. Additionally, the tank is armed with 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns.

The T-90S is somewhat stripped down compared to the original. It does not have the TszU-1 Shtora-1 electro-optical self-defence system. Instead, Russian designers implemented space for reactive armour.

It is unknown how many T-90S units have reached the front to support the fighting Russian forces. However, Oleksandr Kovalenko notes that the destruction of each such tank is rare.

According to various sources, the total number of destroyed T-90S tanks in Ukraine is estimated to be between 10 and a maximum of 15 units. However, from the Russian perspective, the losses of all T-90 family tanks appear much worse, with at least 150 units already destroyed.

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