The deployment of the Russian Army’s most advanced T90M tanks in Ukraine shows the Kremlin’s priorities in the conflict with Ukraine.
Many photos and videos shared on social networks show that T-90M tank units have gathered in the city of Svatove in Ukraine as well as participating in their training in the Central Military District of Russia.
According to Armyrecognition, in December 2022 there were reports of the delivery of 200 T-90M tanks to military units of the Pro-Russian Armed Forces in the Donbas region. On January 12, 2023, another batch of T90M tanks was delivered by the Uralvagonzavod company to the Russian army to reinforce the tank units deployed in Ukraine. On December 21, 2022, Russia’s TASS news agency announced that a tank unit of the Central Military District in Ukraine received a batch of upgraded T-90M tanks.
According to analysts, Russia’s move to deploy T-90 tank units and many of the latest BMPT vehicles in Svatove is aimed at preventing the advance of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade. Some observers believe that the first time that Russia has gathered tanks in such a large number in Svatove.
Russia has more than 600 T-90 tanks. But about 200 are still in storage, and the cold and wet weather can cause the optics and electronics of these tanks to deteriorate rapidly if they are not maintained regularly. To overcome this problem, Russia also deployed in parallel the old T-60 tank line, born in the 1970s on the battlefield. The T-60 tank does not have high-tech optics and electronics, so it does not degrade as quickly as the T-90s produced since the 1990s.
In early December, the Ukrainian military announced that it had seized an almost intact Russian T-90M tank. Some experts say this will cause concern in Moscow because the tank could provide the West with important information about the Kremlin’s most advanced armored vehicles. T-90M is the latest generation of Russian tanks. It is a modernized version of the T-90 MBT in service with the Russian Army. The T-90M features several upgrades over the original T-90, including improved armor, a new fire control system, and the ability to launch anti-tank guided missiles from the main gun.
The T-90M is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun, capable of firing a wide range of ammunition including high-explosive fragmentation, armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot, and anti-tank guided missiles. The tank is also equipped with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun mounted on the commander’s cupola for defense against infantry and low-flying aircraft.
The main gun has a firing range of around 2,500 meters with APFSDS rounds, while firing HE-FRAG rounds, the range is up to 7,000 meters. The range of ATGMs is typically around 5-8km, depending on the missile variant. This tank is powered by a V-92S2 multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 1,000 hp, for a top speed of 60 km/h, and a range of 550 km.
Unit price of a newly-built T-90M is reportedly a $4.5 million. According to analysts, with its superior strength, the arrival of a series of modern T-90M tanks will help strengthen Russia’s defenses in Ukraine.