Russia forced to use T-90S tanks intended for Algeria

The Russian Ministry of Defense has released footage showcasing the modernized T-90S tank, initially intended for export but redirected for domestic use due to critical combat vehicle shortages in frontline units.

Russia, grappling with the depletion of armored vehicles after two years of significant losses in Ukraine, has opted to repurpose T-90S tanks initially slated for export clients.

The video reveals that all inscriptions on the tank control panel are in English. The T-90S, originally developed for export customers, potentially including India, Algeria, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam, represents an enhanced version of the Russian T-90 series tanks. It offers improved firepower, mobility, and protection tailored for the export market, as stated by Russia’s state arms export agency, Rosoboronexport.

Notably, the tank has undergone modifications based on lessons learned from previous years of war in Ukraine. The T-90S features a cope cage-like armor to shield against Ukrainian drones and additional Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor (ERA) bricks.

1970s switches and buttons are still in T-90 tanks.

The decision to repurpose the export-centered T-90S tanks underscores the pressing need for Russia to bolster its armored capabilities amidst ongoing war. With the depletion of resources due to sustained engagements, the military has turned to previously earmarked export combat vehicles to shore up its forces.

Colonel Serhii Bachurin, the head of the center, exposed significant deficiencies in the B-92S2F engine, which fails to provide sufficient power to propel the vehicle, and revealed that the highly praised Kalina fire control system incorporates civilian electronic components of Western origin.

There were additional technical shortcomings. For example, the electronic components of these tanks are assembled without adhering to moisture control requirements, resulting in increased oxidation, shortened lifespan, and eventual premature failure.

Furthermore, the advertised new automatic loader turned out to be a mere fake, as ammunition supply from the turret compartment is only possible by manually feeding them from outside the tank.

One of the T-90Ms destroyed in Ukraine.

Sergey Bachurin later commented that the publication of this review garnered widespread attention beyond Ukraine, leading many foreign companies that had previously signed contracts with the Russian Federation for the supply of T-90s to swiftly cancel those agreements.

“The cancellation of contracts for Russia means the loss of billions of dollars. This money will not go to the armament of the Russian army, which means that it will not kill our soldiers on the battlefield, our citizens, will not destroy our country,” said Bachurin.

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