Video: Russia’s T-90M Main Battle Tank

Check out this video of the T-90M, the latest version of Russia’s most modern combat tank. The T-90M features a host of upgrades over its predecessor the T-90S.

Here are those upgrades according to a tipster:

  • Improved front and side armor protection against kinetic energy and high-energy anti-tank rounds.
  • New V-93 1130hp diesel engine.
  • A new version of the Kontakt-5 reactive armor that covers a greater portion of the tank.
  • New “Kalina” automatically target tracking system using a new THALES-made thermal-imaging camera that is integrated with the Sozvezdie tactical battle management system.
  • New 2A82 125mm main gun — abandoning the continuously upgraded 2A46 series.
  • A commander’s independent thermal viewer linked to a 7.62mm machine gun.
  • New communications systems.
  • Active Suspension Control.
  • Anti-RPG grills.
  • Laser warning receivers and the “Shtora” laser and EO/IR rangefinder countermeasure.
  • Safer turret ammunition stowage compartment.
  • GLONASS and GPS satellite navigation system as well as an inertial navigation system.

Click through the jump for the video:

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  • Tim

    According to some sources, even the Russian military don’t want their new tank because, in order to keep strapping on “new updates” to match or appear to better than the Western counterparts, the tank became much more expensive and less reliable than actually buying the Western tank itself.

    India is starting to slip away from the Russian’s grip due to their high promises and low delivery.

    • Stratege

      Russians still have not yet decided about the future of T-90M in Russian army. I am very doubt that the heavy mod of T-90 is more expensive than Western tanks. More likely it would have half price of the latest Leo2.
      India is not starting to slip away from the Russian tank supplies. They are still producing their licensed T-90s. Their Arjun is clearly disaster.

    • Tribulationtime

      HA HA HA Man don´t believe all what Putin say you by the phone. But yes it s true!! They want buy Chieftains MTB to Jordan or Challenger MTB to UK cause Israel don´t want shell theirs “Tirans” MTB. Russian future objetive is ride horses again and shell the oil overseas.

    • Anton

      It is not like that, the problem is not that it became very expensive, but because there are already new platforms being under development which will be on track few years later. In this respect Russian MoD believes it is more feasible to run the slight modernization of the existing tank park and than to shift to entirely new platform. Of course some of the deatures shown on T90MS (battle module) are likely to be on the new machine, but I believe there will be very critical differences which in fact are awaited by MoD. As for India, it may be just lobby, as everywhere else)

  • Jazzism

    The problems in developing cutting edge new war equipment is not just a problem in the US but other big powers as well. Imagine that.

    • Bill

      but it comes with that sweet soundtrack

  • So?

    A WWII 500 kg bomb fitted with a modern guidance kit doesn’t care if it’s a T-90M, an M1 or a King Tiger for that matter. Tank vs tank is history. When peers fight, whoever wins in the air, wins period. Modern tanks should be optimised for blocking, mopping up insurgents. i.e. HE capability, large ammo capacity, maximum protection against HEAT and mines. Mobile checkpoints. Merkava is the probably the closest to the ideal.

  • Black Owl

    Hot damn! That thing is a BEAST! It’s just as good as the M1A2 Abrams with the TUSK system. Now we need a patch for all our brand new Battlefield 3 games to make them current.

  • Reminds me of a story…

    Back in a makeshift PX two months after the Gulf War I remember two Russian officers (UN Peacekeepers) buying everything of value in sight. Young sergeant walked up to them and asked if they were Russians. They nodded yes. The Sergeant then said, “Love your tanks, they burn really bright”.

    As the only US officer present, I had to bite my tongue and leave, I drew blood I wanted to laugh so badly

    • Bent

      What, as in the Iraqi T-72s? as in, tanks made in 1970 and probably refitted to 90s tech at the latest? Yeah I’m real surprised a completely refitted Abrams with recon scout spotters, and full communications and battlefield awareness could take one out…

      Now lets put one of these T-90s against a Panama-era M-60 and see what happens…

      Not saying Russian tanks are better, but I am saying Americans can make some really douchey jokes sometimes.

    • Dave

      Those M1’s burn just as bright after a chunk of c4 and copper. Not so high tech.

    • Out friggen standing major.rod LMAO.

      • Thanks but I’m just relating the story. The kudos belong to that young sergeant.

  • So?

    But weren’t your M1s recently updated to HA standard, had TI sights, latest DU ammo, whereas the Iraqis had export -grade T-72Ms with thinner armor without composite inserts, old FCS, really crap ammo? They didn’t even bother to boresight their guns, AFAIK. The differences between the Iraqi T-72M (Babylon Lion or something like that) and the T-72B is bigger than the difference between the M1 and M1A1.

    You also had the benefit of not having been bombed for 6 weeks straight.

  • Yes we did. Not what you intially stated. Maybe you should have started out with that?

    My unit 3-5 Cav was in solid contact for three days. We overran at least three defensive belts and fought elements from at least three different Iraqi divisions to include Republican Guard units. We easily destroyed three times our number and only one of our companies was a tank company. So much for… “Yeah I’m real surprised…” and I think TMB has already addressed the effectiveness of the bombing campaign on enemy armor.

    The M1 is a superior tank no doubt about it but the key difference was the training of the crews.

    What’s your point or do you just get a chubby trying to diminish the M1/Army’s performance?

  • Josh

    Hmm,still building off a chassis that is notoriously deadly to crews because of ammo storage and inherent design flaws? Hmmm,must be better than what the west has to offer…
    Reminds me of what the Germans said of our shermans. “lights first time,every time”

  • Stratege

    “A new version of the Kontakt-5 reactive armor that covers a greater portion of the tank.”

    AFAIK new T-90M got the new “RELIKT” reactive armor instead of the older Kontakt-5

  • Tony C

    Seems that the Russian’s still love the T-72 chassis, but it has proven no match for later model western designs. The T-72 was built is such vast numbers, the plan was to overwhelm the west with numbers. It worked for the Sherman tank in WWII.
    I doubt these tanks would survive in a shoot out with the M1 or Challenger?

    • Stratege

      “Seems that the Russian’s still love the T-72 chassis, but it has proven no match for later model western designs.”

      When and where?
      Note that Iraq and others third-rated armies never had properly equipped “top-notch” T-72s.

      “I doubt these tanks would survive in a shoot out with the M1 or Challenger?”

      Both M1 and Chally also has their own weak zones. Western tanks are not invulnerable to the Russia’s APFSDS and barrel-launched ATGM for 125mm gun.
      T-90M has very advanced FCS with the latest generation of thermal-imaging. Unlike the M1 and Challenger, new T-90 has automatically target tracking system (significant improvement for the anti-tank role).

      Also, T-90 is extremely well armored. The comparison of frontal vulnerable zones (from strategypage’s discussion board):

      (from left to the right: M1A2SEP / LEOPARD 2A7(A6?) / T-90S / T-90M )

  • mat

    when comparing T72 so western MBT you have to bear in mind its basical madium battle tank at cca 45 tons and at the time of introduction it was advanced enough to compete against much heavier western designs.

    • Compete? Loss rates against Israel and Desert Storm tell quite a different story.

  • Robert

    Appears to me that the tank was upgraded to contain and protect against domestic situations, rather than for application to new battlefields.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    Having a great tank is good. How much practice do they get? Qaulity of crew is big here.

  • Morty

    One Thing about the russians is they always make Quality, They probably finally got ride of the manual rotating Main gun

    • gunslinger6

      could you imagine being that poor bas**** trying to traverse the main gun by hand when an M1 rolled up on you. i am sure his last thought would be about what a piece of sh*t tank he had,

  • William C.

    Following the cancellation of the T-95, this seems like a sensible move if the Russians are going to stick with the T-90 series (itself a heavily upgraded T-72) for the immediate future.

    I just wish the Russians would actually show the world some photos of the T-95 prototypes, and not hidden under tarps either.

  • Starting at about the 1:02 mark, was that thing in a power slide? Or could that be considered drifting?

  • Stratege

    “So?” wrote:
    “A WWII 500 kg bomb fitted with a modern guidance kit doesn’t care if it’s a T-90M, an M1 or a King Tiger for that matter.”

    So what about mobile SAM vehicles?
    In accordance with Russian tank combat philosophy, tanks units should have their own air defense vehicles within their formations.
    Visual demonstration of this idea:

    There are not doubts that tanks should have “air defense umbrella” to not be victims of air threats!

    “Tank vs tank is history.”

    I can’t agree. Anti tank is still obvious role for any MBT.

    “When peers fight, whoever wins in the air, wins period. Modern tanks should be optimised for blocking, mopping up insurgents. i.e. HE capability, large ammo capacity, maximum protection against HEAT and mines. Mobile checkpoints. “Merkava is the probably the closest to the ideal.”

    Modern tanks should be multi-role combat machines,
    Merkava tank is rather peculiar “mobile pillbox” because it’s very specialized tank which is limited for its own seat of war.

  • Lance

    Not impressed the T-90 is just a regurgitated T-72 which was a dismal failure. The Ukrainian T-84 is far better than the T-90 series and Russia at the same time is updating T-72s and T-80s with new weapons and targeting systems. I doubt this new tank will see widespread service soon.

    • Stratege

      T-84 is nothing special, and of course it’s not better than recent T-90,
      It has truly obsolete electronics compared to the T-90M.
      T-84 has obsolete FCS of previous generation (without automatically target tracking system and late gen thermal-imaging)
      Ukrainian tank is not equipped with any kind of tactical battle management system.
      T-84 has not fully independent navigation system (T-90M has GLONASS+-GPS+-INERTIAL). Unlike the T-90M, it has out-of-dated communication system.
      There are a lot of questions about claimed capabilities of Ukrainian ERA. The Russian ERA developers have tonnes more experience with it.
      T-84 has obsolete tank gun, while T-90M got the most modern Russian 125mm tank gun.
      The production rate of Ukrainian tank is extremely low, unlike mass produced T-90.
      So. T-84 more likely would have a bunch of technological problems due its “one piece production”.

    • Stratege

      T-84: none of significant advantages
      T-90: significant advantages in terms of electronics and firepower

  • Babu

    I don’t know Boris, are you sure it has the “automatically target tracking system”? Haven’t been able to hit moose or squirrel.

  • Billy

    Who cares…. Russians won’t be able to buy it like how they only have a couple of Su-27 when they planned to purchase hundreds. America can barely afford JSF.

    • Stratege

      Soviet/Russian air force got nearly 400 of Su-27s since 1980s. Also they have ordered 50 of Su-35BM (please not thats only first order).

  • musclecar61

    It’s amazing how every time Russia introduces a new weapon system it’s a carbon copy of our weapon system, they save billions on R&D.

  • Stratege

    Lance wrote:
    “Sorry but Iraqi Republican Guards in 1990 has up to date”

    Iraqi Republican Guards “has up dated T-72s”… only for Iraqi standarts. Actually, their “most elite” 72s were on par
    with initial production T-72A from early/middle 1970’s. In terms of armor protection, Iraqi tanks were even worse due to their stripped-down export armor (compared to the early made Soviet model T-72/T-72A).
    But the most unlucky part of Saddam’s tank force fate was the fact that Iraqi Republican Guards didn’t get modern anti-tank shells, barrel-launched ATGMs. modern FCS, adequate optics with sufficient range and night capability. . All of these features were minimally requirement to fight against the most modern Western equipment such as M1. Iraqi T-72 tanks might have the same name as their Soviet relative(T-72), they migh have beautiful paint in cool looking desert colors… But their equipment had came from the 1970s era, their gear were simply intended to fight against tanks of the same era(70’s), not against late 80’s/early 90’s heavily armoured vehicles.
    So, those famoust “up-to-dated” Iraqi T-72s were noting more than “monkey model” tanks which were based on the tank of second generation (early T-72).
    While in that time, the Soviet Union had T-72B model (1985) – the machine updated to the third generation tank’s standarts with a full package of everything required to fight against the best NATO’s machines: it got strong composite armor, ERA, ATGMs, modern shells/FCS/optics…

    Lance wrote:
    ” T-72s and they failed so did Syrian tanks against Israeli M-60A1s south a Beirut in 82. The T-80 was Russia best tank the T-72 won because its cheap and easy to make alot of them. ”

    Ignoring the possibily of Israeli patriotic propaganda, if they had some success with their M-60s, it does not matter and can’t change the fact – M-60A1 is no match against Soviet T-72. Israel won in specified tactical situation.

    Lance wrote:
    “The T-80 was Russia best tank the T-72”

    T-80 has its pros and cons just like every design.

    Lance wrote:
    “won because its cheap and easy to make alot of them. ”

    That’s because T-72 was a truly succesfull design. Yes, it wasn’t perfect (just like ANY other tank) but certainly not failure. But all of those “Desert Strom based’ myths are ineradicable.

    • The T72 has a dismal record against western armor.

      “Specific tactical situation”? You are whining now.

      • gungslinger6

        I dont think ivan here wil every get your point major.rod, in one ear and out the other.

  • grilz142

    Remember guys, the U.S military was fighting against a third rate force that was using some of the oldest and worst equipment the Soviet Union had to offer. The t-72M a downgraded export version of the t-72 A, which had no composite armor and none of the latest night figting technology (such as thermal sights or flir), E.R.A or active protection systems such as the Shtora or Arena which the russians had on thier tanks before any one else. A third rate force equiped with garbage tanks, obsolete and out dated armor tactics (and tactics in general) and poor training is not going to stand a chance against the most powerful military in the world. If the Iraqis had been given the chance to rebuild thier military and upgrade thier equipment. The Iraqi military would have given a better account of itself than it did in the second gulf war. Imagine Iraqi amored units equiped with T-90 tanks and rebuilt and upgraded T-72 tanks with the latest russian passive and active protection systems,tubed launched long range anti-tank guided missiles and the latest composite armor combined with the latest tactical doctrine in manuver warfare. Thier armored units would have been a lot more difficult to beat. Thier defeat would still have been inevitable, but they would have killed a lot more american troops.

  • James67

    The modern Russian tank presents more of a threat to it’s own crew, rather than it’s opponents in battle.

  • Just remembered another anecdote about the T72. Invited to a national modeling exposition I was impressed by a model T72 that had recieved an award for its detail. It really was a thing of beauty.

    The builder was standing next to me and I said: “REALLY beautiful and well done model. You deserve the trophy but I just got back from Iraq and the tank isn’t accurate.”

    With great concern the builder asked, “What did I miss?”

    I said, “The turret is still attached.”

  • Stratege

    Buzz wrote:
    “Most of what you say is true however the old T-72s had less than 1/2 the engagement range of an M-1A”

    The old “exportskiy” T-72…
    1980’s T-72B got the “1K13-49” sight with a range about 5000 meters (day) / 800 meters (night, passive mode) / 1200 meters (night, active mode)

    Buzz wrote:
    “and their frontal armor was as good as the soviets ever made. ”

    It’s not nearly true.

    T-72M1’s (export tank) armor specs:
    Against HEAT rounds: 420-490 mm RHA(hull); 490-500 mm RHA(turret)
    Against KE rounds: 360-400 mm RHA(hull); 380-410 mm RHA(turret)

    Domestic T-72B’s armor specs(including the first generation ERA “Kontakt-1”):
    Against HEAT rounds: 480-900 mm RHA(hull); 500-950 mm RHA(turret)
    Against KE rounds: 470-550 mm RHA(hull); 400-550 mm RHA(turret)

    T-72B’s armor specs(including the “Kontankt-5” ERA):
    Against HEAT rounds: 790-1080 мм mm RHA(hull); 780-1090 mm RHA(turret)
    Against KE rounds: 670-720 мм mm RHA(hull); 620-900 mm RHA(turret)

    Those specs are from public sources.

    Buzz wrote:
    “The new T-72 still has only a max range of 3000 meters and thats with the tube launched missile.”

    Wrong. It has max range of 4000 meters (T-72B). 5000 meters for the T-72BM.

    Buzz wrote:
    “M-1’s are rated at 5000 meters.”

    What about KE sabot’s efficiency at maximum range??? It’s extremely low against heavy armor.

    Buzz wrote:
    “Also something that is telling is why do they need protection from RPG’s? Tells me they have some serious weak /vunerable areas on the vehicles. ”

    Any tank has its own weak/vulnerable zones. M1 Abrams has well-known weak zones on turret – side, rear and top armor. Even old RPG-7(with AT round more modern than PG-7VM) is considered as serious threat for the Abrams.

  • crackedlenses

    So Strat, according your account the Russian tanks have never actually been used in combat; all the ones we’ve seen were crappy export models manned by third-rate crews. If the Ruskies’ tanks never got used in action, then why are we so concerned? It’s unlikely they’re going to invade anyone anytime soon, and they never sell their good stuff to anyone anyway………

    • C – You nailed it!

    • Andy M

      Actually, they did see action, the Chechnyans saw a few.

      • PMI

        …and blew most of them to hell when they assaulted Grozny.

  • Rick

    A good tank is no substitute for bad foreign policy.