Russian Western district first to operate T-90M Proryv tanks

The first T-90 tanks to be upgraded to the level of T-90M Proryv will be the vehicles of the 7th Russian military base in Gudauta. The base in Abkhazia will receive T-72B3 instead. Upgraded T-90 will go to defend the western borders of the country. The newly built tanks are also delivered there. Experts believe they are only a little bit inferior in running characteristics and armor to the latest T-14 Armata, the Izvestia daily writes.

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T-90M Proryv (Picture source: Russian MoD)

The rearmament of the base in Abkhazia with T-72B3 tanks is to be completed in the summer of 2020, Defense Ministry sources said. T-90 will be delivered to the enterprise for modernization up to T-90M level. They will not return to Abkhazia. The tanks will operate in the Western Military District. The district deployed the 1st Tank Army several years ago. It defends the central regions of the country from an attack from Europe. Its regiments, brigades and divisions will be armed with T-90M tanks. New and upgraded T-90s will be delivered there.

The supplies of new tanks have already begun. Tank Army Commander Lieutenant-General Sergey Kisel earlier said the first T-90M batch was delivered to the Tamanskaya motorized rifle division. Defense Ministry sources said that the 27th Sebastopol motorized rifle brigade in the Moscow region and the 6th Chestokhovskaya brigade in Mulino in Nizhny Novgorod region will follow.

MBT It was announced that upgraded T-90s would participate in V-E-Day parade in 2020. They are likely to be the tanks of the Tamanskaya division.

All operational T-90s will be gradually upgraded. Close to 150 vehicles were produced in the early 1990s and another 240 in 2004-2011. Some tanks were delivered to Syria to defend the Russian airbase located in Humaymim and fight in the Syrian army.

Besides the T-90 upgrade, new tanks will be also produced. Uralvagonzavod announced successful acceptance trials in early February 2020. Enterprise CEO Alexander Potovapov said tank deliveries would begin this 2020 year too. He did not disclose the details of the contract nor the number of tanks to be produced.

The T-90M enjoys characteristics close to the latest Russian T-14 Armata design. It slightly cedes in running characteristics and armor but has got the same firepower. The upgrade installed improved the 2A46M5-01 gun and includes a more powerful diesel engine. The tank operates a Kalina automatic fire control and a Kord-MT remotely operated antiaircraft machinegun. The designers focused on crew survivability: Kevlar antifragmentation screens are installed inside the combat compartment; the bulk of projectiles is kept in a box behind the turret. The armor has been reinforced.

"T-90 has stronger armor than T-72," expert Alexey Khlopotov said. "The new modification will have upgraded Relikt protection to strengthen the front armor even more. It is currently the most protected tank except for Armata. The new tank has improved fire controls. The commander operates devices with a good view and a possibility of early detection of the adversary. They are critical in a modern war where he wins who fires first. The pointer has a combined day/night sight which was not installed in previous modifications," he said.

It has been a tradition since Soviet times to deliver new hardware mostly to formations in Moscow region - Tamanskaya and Kantemirovskaya motorized rifle and tank divisions. They defend the capital city and western borders and are armed to counter advanced armies with the latest hardware.

"After T-90M is tested in central Russia, the next batches are likely to go to the southern direction which remains dangerous," Khlopotov said. "A difficult situation emerges at our western borders. US Abrams tanks were redeployed to Europe and NATO held maneuvers with them," he said.

The 7th Russian base was deployed in Abkhazia in February 2009, the Izvestia recalled.

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