Sputniknews elaborated that large numbers of T-72 MBTs will also be included in the shipment.
This claim coincides with a recent statement made by Russia’s Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev, who denounced speculation that Moscow is running low on weapons.
According to Medvedev, reports of dwindling stockpiles of weapons, munitions, missiles, and tanks are unfounded and the upcoming delivery of MBTs is proof that Russia’s manufacturing capacity is not in trouble.
While the Chairman’s statement was likely revealed to fuel the Kremlin’s well-oiled propaganda machine, the T-90 MBT has been active in its country’s offensive efforts in Ukraine.
As Moscow’s top-of-the-line armored vehicle, the T-90 was expected to demolish its less advanced counterparts on the battlefield.
However, the T-90’s true performance has not been as impressive as the Kremlin often purports.
Introducing the T-90 tank
The Kartsev-Venediktov Design Bureau constructed the original layout of the T-90 prototype, although earlier details regarding the model’s progress remain unknown.
In the years leading up to the Soviet Union’s collapse, tank production in the country sharply dwindled.
The Russian Ministry of Defense began revamping its tank production by the mid-1990s, making the T-90 its standard MBT. Then-president Boris Yeltsin reportedly gave the T-90 its name as a way to announce the creation of the first Russian tank following the USSR’s collapse.
Specs and Capabilities
Prior to the T-90, the Soviet Union ordered the production of a variety of MBTS from rival design firms. The T-64, T-72, and T-80 MBTs were similar capability-wise, however, each tank required individualized components that became a headache for the Army to collect logistically.
The singular T-90 certainly streamlined Russia’s tank production apparatus. The prime upgrade incorporated into the T-90 was a slightly modified version of the T-80’s fire control system and V-84MS multi-fuel engine.
Today, the T-90 sports a smaller size, which gives the tank a greater operational range compared to near-peer MBTs.
The newest variant in the T-90 family is the “Proryv-3 T-90M. Perhaps the new model’s most significant improvement is its Relikt built-in Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), which protects the tank from tandem warheads and other projectiles.”
The Proryv also features a countermeasures system, which triggers smoke grenade discharges if the tank is being targeted, providing more protection to the MBT against anti-tank-guided weapons.
The T-90M Has Not Performed as Well in Ukraine as Moscow Hoped
Russia has suffered from staggering tank losses throughout the last year of war in Ukraine. To make matters worse, at least 30 T-90A and T-90M MBTs have been captured by Ukrainian forces. In addition to being captured, other T-90 tanks sent to aid Russia’s efforts in Ukraine have been destroyed.
A video widely circulated in media outlets depicted a T-90 exploding in the aftermath of a top-down anti-tank missile attack. Clearly, the T-90M does not have a 360-degree active protection system.
Although the T-90M has its flaws, the MBT certainly outranks the other antiquated armored vehicles Moscow has had to drag out of storage.
Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.