Russia just gave Ukraine a “gift” of their latest T-90M main battle tank – one of maybe 20 in existence!
Russia “Gifts” Ukraine With A Brand New T-90M Tank!
Russia just gave Ukraine a “gift” in the form of a brand new T-90M tank – their latest main battle tank!
Ukrainian soldiers stumbled upon the T-90M tank during their counteroffensive in the eastern Kharkiv region.
Its crew seemed to have fled in a hurry, leaving it “gift-wrapped” in tarp, just waiting for its new owners.
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The Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced this gift on Twitter, cheekily asking its crew to surrender:
It is unknown if the Ukrainians intend to use it against the Russians, or ship it to the West to thank them for their aid / trade for more aid.
It would certainly be of great interest to military intelligence agencies who would love to inspect the T-90M and even take it apart. It’s not every day you get your hands on a pristine example of the enemy’s latest in-service main battle tank!
Russia’s T-90M Tank : A Quick Primer
The T-90M Proryv (M for Modernised, Proryv is Russian for Breakthrough) is the latest version of the T-90 tank series, debuting in 2016 with upgrades like :
- an upgraded 2A46M-5 tank gun
- a remote-controlled UDP T05BV-1 anti-aircraft gun
- a new Kalina advanced fire control system, with integrated combat information and control systems.
- new turret with improved armour on its ammunition carousel
- improved Relikt explosive reactive armour (ERA) bricks
- new 1,130 hp V-92S2F engine
- improved environmental control system
- new satellite navigation systems
Russia only has about 20 of these new modernised tanks, with another 600 or so older T-90 and T-90A variants. So the loss of even one T-90M is big news.
Despite its much-vaunted capabilities, the few T-90M tanks that the Ukrainians encountered so far have failed to live up to expectations.
Just days after they first appeared in early May 2022, one T-90M was completely destroyed near Kharkhiv by soldiers of the 127th Territorial Defence Brigade, together with a MBP infantry fighting vehicle and an MT-LB armoured personnel carrier.
Then just a week later, another T-90M was destroyed in Kharkiv as well, by a Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle that its improved Relikt explosive reactive armour (ERA) should have had no problem handling.
The Relikt bricks was designed to be twice as effective as the Kontact-5 bricks used in older T-90/T-90A tanks against shaped charge munitions like the Carl Gustaf HEAT round, even the latest tandem-warhead version.
That suggests that poor tactics and/or lack of infantry support allowed the Ukrainians to hit the T-90M on its sides or back, where armour is much thinner and not protected by the Relikt blocks.
As of 20 September 2022, the open-source intelligence site, Oryx, has visually confirmed the loss of 24 Russian T-90 tanks, comprising of:
- T-90A : 11 destroyed, 2 abandoned, 8 captured
- T-90M : 1 destroyed, 1 abandoned, 1 captured
On the same day, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine declared that its soldiers have destroyed 2,216 Russian tanks, and 4,724 armoured personnel carriers.
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