More Images Surface of Damaged Russian Tank in Syria

(Screen grab from WorldOnAlert via Twitter)(Screen grab from WorldOnAlert via Twitter)

More images purporting to show a damaged Russian-made T-90 tank in Syria are surfacing on social media.

On Tuesday, the Twitter account WorldOnAlert posted the following tweet and stated the vehicle was captured on or around April 16 in the town of Al-Eis near southern Aleppo by militants affiliated with the Al-Nusra Front, also known as al-Qaeda in Syria, from forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Whether it’s the same T-90 that was recently struck by a U.S.-made missile wasn’t immediately clear.

A YouTube video published Feb. 26 appears to depict a Syrian rebel in Sheikh Aqil, a town near Aleppo, firing a BGM-71 TOW (for tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) missile at a T-90 tank, Russia’s main battle tank that entered service in the 1990s, presumably operated by Assad forces.

The video shows the missile striking but not destroying the left side of the turret. It seems the frontal reactive armor on the T-90 did more to disrupt the missile than the “Shtora” electro-optical active protection system, which wouldn’t likely active against the wire-guided TOW (but rather laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, MK-80N-series bombs and AGM-65 Maverick missiles).

U.S.-backed rebels in the country have reportedly employed both the older TOW, developed in the 1970s and manufactured by Raytheon Co., as well as the newer FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, developed in the 1990s and made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Similar to a previous photo that surfaced (see above), the latest image seems to show heavier damage to the left side of the tank. One reader noted the vehicle appears to be missing a Kontakt-5 reactive armor plate at the front-left of the turret and the Shtora jammer on the left side of the gun.

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.