Monday, 27 March 2017

Modern and Futuristic Battle Tanks Of Russia

Tank is a highly mobile armoured platform consisting of cannon and protective armor concealing the crew operating the tank and thereby increasing the percentage of their survival in a war zone. The necessity of battle tanks was felt during World War I to break through the obstacles and defences created by the enemy and at the same time cause havoc destruction to the adversary assets and strategic formations.

From World War II the Russian main battle tanks have undergone significant evolutions . The latest main battle tank in service is T-90 which was designed and built by Uralvagonzavod in Nizny Tagil of Russia. It was inducted in Russian military service in the year of 1993. T90 has a weight of 46 tonnes, is operated by a crew of 3, and has a cross country range of 550 Kilometers. It uses a 125 MM smoothbore gun, the 2A46M gun.
Firing Range Acquisition:

Fire-control system on the T-90 includes the PNK-4S/SR AGAT day and night sighting system which allows for night time detection of a tank sized target at ranges between 700 and 1100 meters depending on the version of the sight. Latest models (T-90S) are upgraded to use the ESSA thermal imaging sight, which allows for accurate firing to a range of 5,000–8,000 m using the CATHERINE-FC thermal camera . The gunner is provided with the 1G46 day sighting system which includes a laser range finder and missile guidance channel and allows tank-sized targets to be detected and engaged at 5 to 8 kilometers.

2A46M 125 MM Smoothbore Gun
The gun is capable of firing armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT-FS), and high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) ammunition, as well as 9M119M Refleks anti-tank guided missiles which has an effective range of 100 m to 6 km, and takes 17.5 seconds to reach maximum range,capable of penetrating about 950 millimeters (37 inch) of steel armour and can also engage low-flying air targets such as helicopters.

The main gun of T-90 is fed by an automatic loader. The autoloader can carry 22 ready-to-fire rounds in its carousel and can load a round in 5–8 seconds. HEAT rounds that can be fired from the 2A46M includes the 3BK21B (with a depleted uranium liner), 3BK29 (with a credited penetration of 800 mm RHA equivalency), and the 3BK29M (with a Triple-tandem charge warhead).

Fire-control system of the T-90 can hit heavily armoured targets at ranges of up to 5 km on the move speeding upto 30 km/h with a high probability of hit with the first shot. Once in a test T90 made 24 launches of missiles at ranges of 4–5 km and all hit the target . It is to be noted that all missile launches were made by inexperienced professionals. An experienced gunner at the speed of 25 kmph hit 7 heavily armoured targets located at ranges of 1,500–2,500 meters.

Remote Controlled Heavy Machine Gun
The NSV 12.7mm (12.7×108) remotely controlled anti-aircraft heavy machine gun installed on T90 can be operated from within the tank by the commander and has a range of 2 km and a cyclic rate of fire of 700–800 rounds per minute (the NSV was replaced by the Kord heavy machine gun in the late 1990s).

                                                                                   T90 With ERA

Self Defence

The T-90 is fitted with a "three-tiered" protection system. The first tier is the composite armour in the turret. The second tier is third generation Kontakt-5 ERA (explosive reactive armour) which significantly degrades the penetrating power of kinetic-energy APFSDS ammunition. ERA bricks are located on the turret roof to provide protection from top-attack weapons.

The turret's forward armour package has a combination of the ERA and steel plating also contains a composite filler of Russian composite armour sandwiched between upper and lower steel plates. The composite armour results in a lower weight and improved protection compared to steel armour.

T90 With Shtora Put On

The third tier is a Shtora-1 (curtain in English) countermeasures suite. This system includes two electro-optical/IR dazzlers which is a active infrared jammer on the front of the turret,four laser warning receivers, two 3D6 'smoke' grenade discharging systems all commanded by a computer controlled system. The Shtora-1 warns the tank's crew as the tank has been targeted by a weapon-guidance laser . The infrared jammer, the TShU1-7 EOCMDAS, jams the semiautomatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) guidance system used by some anti-tank guided missiles. The smoke grenades are automatically launched after Shtora detects that the tank has been targeted by a weapon guided laser. The smoke grenades are used to mask the tank from laser range finders and designators as well as the optics of other weapons systems. Indian T90 are equipped with the Land Electronic Defence System LEDS-150 .

             LEDS 150                                                                              Shtora -1

Arena Active Protection System(APS):
It is developed by Kolomna-based Engineering Design Bureau. Its purpose is to destroy light anti-tank weapons, anti-tank guided missiles, missiles with top-attack warheads by detecting the warheads with Doppler radar and upon detection firing a rocket to detonate the incoming warhead.

Self Defence Of MBT In Action

Both Shtora-1 and Arena APS were first incorporated on T90S. Additionally , in order to counter accurate firing range of the HE-Frag-FS which is 10 km, APFSDS which is 4 km, the T-90 features Ainet fuse setting system which allows the tank to detonate 3OF26 HE-FRAG rounds at a distance from the tank as determined by the gunner's laser rangefinder, providing effective protection from helicopters and infantry.

 Example Of Signature Reduction

In addition to the passive and active protection systems as stated above the T-90 is also fitted with nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection equipment, KMT mine sweeps and an automatic fire suppression system.The EMT-7 electromagnetic-counter mine system installed on the T-90 emits an electromagnetic pulse to disable magnetic mines and disrupt electronics before the tank reaches them. The Nakidka signature reduction suite is also available in T-90 which is designed to reduce the probabilities of an object to be detected by Infrared, Thermal, Radar-Thermal, and Radar bands.

T90S With KMT Mine Sweeps

During a test conducted by the Russian military in 1999 the T-90 was exposed to a variety of RPG, ATGM and APFSDS munitions. The Kontakt-5 ERA could not be penetrated by any of the APFSDS or ATGM used during the trial and outperformed T-80U which also took part. During the operation there were witness accounts of one T-90 sustaining seven hits from RPGs and continued to be in action. Latest T-90MS armour is 'Relict' ERA. Relict defends against tandem warheads and reduces penetration of APFSDS rounds by over 50 percent than Kontakt-5 ERA.

T90 In An Exercise

T90 In Indian Army
T90 is also in service with the Indian Army in large numbers. T90 was acquired by Indian Army to counter operational edge over Ukranian T84 battle tanks acquired by Pakistan. First 42 T90 MBTs were delivered to India in 2001 with designation of T90S. These tanks were devoid of the improved turret, but, a further supply of 82 MBTs to India in 2002 had an improved welded turret which was developed by designers of Uralvagonzavod and experts from NII Stali (Scientific Research Institue of Steel) by enforcing a welded turret . The improved turret has better armoured protection and it proved to be impenetrable by M829A2/KEW-A2 APFSDS munitions fired from a distance of 250 meters. Before this test the Kontakt-5 ERA was stripped off the turret.

A batch of 186 T90S were mutually agreed to be assembled in India with emphasis on manufacturing of T90 in India as technological enhancements in T90 were thought to be absorbed easily owing to 60% commonality of its parts with T72, as T72 was then already manufactured by Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi, in the state of Tamil Nadu of India. But due to certain issues related to translation of Russian documents and problems faced to implement TOT the Indian production was very slow. A follow-on order of 330 T90M, an advanced version of T90S, was placed in 2006 to be manufactured locally at Heavy Vehicles Factory. In 2007 India had to order another 124 units of T90M directly from Russia owing to slow rate of production of local manufacturer. In the mean time the problem related to translation of Russian documents and absorption of TOT got solved and licensed local production of T90 took pace. In 2007 itself another contract for local assembling of 347 T90M MBT was signed with Russia. India plans to operate an estimated 1500 T90S battle tanks by means of progressive procurements from Russia and licensed local manufacturing at Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi. As a testimony to this procurement process, recently India had ordered 464 T90 MS MBTs from Russia. India's long reliance on T90 shows its trustworthiness in Indian Army.

T90S and T90MS are quick maneuverable and agile battle tanks and like all of its advanced variants are capable of firing accurately while on the move. Being able to move swiftly over rugged terrain and sand over the desert provides Indian Army with a perfect war machine capable of striking swiftly into the enemy territory in case of a war on India's Western front. Apart from being a capable battle tank of the plains , being a relatively light tank compared to its destructive capabilities along with the capability to launch missiles , during a war T90 can also be made a part of effective formations by being carried by aeroplanes on the Himalayan front along with towed and heavy artillery.

Some T90 Ammunitions:


3VBM3 , 3VBM6 ,3VBM7 (with tungsten carbide plug) , 3VBM8 (tungsten carbide ), 3BM32 DU Penetrator ,3VBM17 (Tungsten Alloy Penetrator).


3VBK7 ,3VBK10 ,3VBK16 ,3VBK17 ,VBK25 ,3VBK27 Triple Charge.

3BK31 can defeat vehicles with three layers of armour. The external ERA, integral ERA and/or composite armor main structure. The precursor charge destroys the external ERA, the first main charge destroys the integral ERA and the last achieves destructive penetration.

Russia operates an estimated 760 T90 MBTs along with a planned progressive procurement of additional 640 of these tanks.

Apart from Russian and India several countries like Uganda , Turkmenistan, Syria, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan also operates T90 battle tanks.

Citations Of Reliability Of T90 During Operations Across The World:

Dagestan Operations

During combat operations in Dagestan one T90 had been witnessed to have taken seven hits from RPGs and still continued to be in operation.

Recent Conflict In Syria

During Syrian conflict the town Khan Tuman and al-Qarasi were being guarded by deployment of T90 MBTs of Syrian forces and the intruders were reported of facing heavy resistance and damage from T90 MBTs of Syrian army which had built capability to resist 120-mm M829A2 and DM43A1 high velocity ammunition used by M1 Abrams and Leopard-2 battle tanks . Capitalizing on the superior protective and attacking capabilities of T90 MBTs Syrian army and its allies could effectively encircle intruder strongholds Khan Tuman and al-Quarasi. T90 deployed with Syrian Govt. Forces and its allied forces reportedly played a big role in liberation of Hardatnin, Duwayr al- Zaytoun and Tal al-Jabin villages of Syria. During Syrian conflict one T90 was hit on the turret by a TOW missile. The fuel tank survived the hit which is attributed to effectiveness of Kontakt-5 reactive armour. One of the two Shtora transmitters and only a few skirtings above the wheels were damaged , but, the crew of the tank survived apparently without any major damage to the tank. At the time of the attack the Shtora seemed to be turned off which did not allow the APS of the tank to react against the approaching TOW missile and allowed the missile to hit the tank which confronted its next layer of defence in the form of Kontakt-5 reactive armour and failed to penetrate the T90. This tank was among the earliest variants of T90 tanks supplied to Syrian army, recent variants have better protection of the turret and hence should fare much better on battle fields.

Exhaust Flare OF TOW Missile  Approaching T90Is Visible

TOW Missile Explodes After Hitting T90

                             T90 Tank Crew Escapes Unhurt After The TOW Missile Hit Turret Of T90
T90 Tank Crew Escapes Unhurt After The TOW Missile Hit Turret Of T90

The T90 MBT After Hit by TOW Missile Which Failed To Penetrate The Armour Of T90

Latest Variants Of T90

T 90 AM: This tank is an improvement over T90 A. It has a better turret with Kalina fire control system which has an automatic target tracker & fire control computer and is capable of automatic tracking and continuous locking of the MBTs main gun on a target depending on the input from various sensors and awaits the gunner's decision to engage the target, an upgraded main gun 2A46M-5 with better autoloader and better accuracy, a remote controlled anti-aircraft gun UDP T05BV-1 which has a calibre of 7.62 mm depression of -10 degrees and elevation of 45 degrees with and traverse arc of 316 degrees , new Relikt ERA and an improved 1130 HP engine.

 UPD T05BV-1

T90MS: T90MS is a modernized version of the export tank T90S. It has an improved 1130 HP engine, a 7.62 mm turret UDP T05BV-1 BWS (ref: T90 AM) , GLONASS integration, inertial navigation system, new explosive reactive armour and steering wheel and a removable turret bustle to provide storage for additional eight rounds of munition. 

Engine Of T90

The power generated by engines driving variants of T90 produces varied power according to requirement of the variant are manufactured at Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, V-84 engine for T90S generates 840 hp, V-92S2F for T90MS and T90AM generates 1130 hp.

                                           Russia's Next Generation MBT - T-14 Armata

Future battlefield will be having automated machines controlled and monitored remotely with deadly accuracy having enormous capacities. So a futuristic battle tank in the form of T 14 Armata is being developed by Russia to meet the criteria of future battlefield scenarios.

T-14 Armata battle tank is touted by Russia as a futuristic fifth generation battle tank. The main armament of T-14 is the 2A82-1M 125 mm smoothbore cannon which has a firing rate of 10–12 rounds per minute, and a maximum effective-penetration range of eight km. The tank can store 45 rounds of ammunition with 32 rounds in the auto-loader. The detection range of the tank's optical sensors is more than 5 km for tank-sized targets during the day , and at least 3.5 km at night. The gunner sight's optical channel is equipped with 4x and 12x optical zoom. The laser rangefinder has a maximum range of 7.5 km which can fire on the move. The crew uses a high-definition camera to monitor 360 degrees around the tank.

T90 Armata From Top With Prominent Main Gun View

The Vacuum-1 sabot round which is developed for the 2A82-1M cannon is said to have a penetrator which is 900 mm long, and capable of penetrating 1,000 mm of RHA equivalent at a distance of 2,000 meters. Telnik HE-Frag shell for controlled-detonation is also available. The cannon has ability to fire guided missiles a new feature implemented on Soviet tanks. A new UBK21 Sprinter ATGM is developed specifically for it. These missiles can be used as air defense systems.

Kord Machine Gun

Kord 12.7 mm machine gun with 300 rounds and a 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun with 1,000 rounds is incorporated on it. All guns are remotely controlled with provision for another 1,000 rounds to be stored separately.

T14 Armata APS

The protection of the tank incorporates dual-reactive armour Malachit featuring in the front, top and sides of the tank and an active protection system (APS) Afghanit . The Afghanit system includes a millimeter-wavelength radar to detect, track and intercept both kinetic energy penetrators and tandem-charges. A target can be intercepted traveling at 1,700 m/s, with projected interception of target traveling up to 3,000 m/s in near future. It protects the tank from all sides. Afghanit main sensors are the four panels mounted on a turret's sides, which are the AESA radar panes covering 360 degree view of the tank. The active part of the system actively destroys the incoming projectile (such as a dumb rocket or artillery shell), confuses the guidance systems of ATGMs causing it to lose the infrared or laser guided target lock. It is believed to be effective against most modern ATGMs, including Hellfire, TOW, Javelin, Spike , Brimstone etc. The long tubes mounted in groups of five between the turret's front sides and the chassis are Afghanit hard-kill launchers which send out an electronically activated charge that shoots an explosive penetrator towards the target in all directions. The tank is also equipped by the NII Stali's Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex consisting of two steerable cartridges with 12 smaller charges each, and a turret-top vertical loading system with two more similar cartridges. It supposedly corresponds to the soft-kill system. Additionally AESA radar and anti-aircraft machine gun makes it possible to destroy incoming missiles and slow-flying shells.

NII Stali's Upper Hemisphere Protection Complex

Protection of the tank crew is made possible by an internal armored capsule with more than 900 mm RHA equivalent, increasing their chance of survival manifolds during an attempted catastrophic attack on the tank . Both the chassis and the turret are equipped with the latest Russian ERA system from all sides. The design of the turret's shape decrease its radio and thermal signatures. The state and functions of all tank modules on T-14 are monitored by an integrated computerized control system. During a battle, the software analyzes threats and then suggests or automatically takes actions to eliminate them. It can also detect and rectify crew errors.

The deputy director of the Uralvagonzavod tank manufacturing company claimed the T-14 to be invisible to radar and infrared detection through radar-absorbing paint and components with heat signatures incorporated in the hull.

T14 Armata All Round Protection System

The tank is fitted with the 26,5–40 GHz AESA radar that has a range of 100 kilometers. This is mainly used by the Active protection system of the tank. A number of 40 airborne or 25 ground targets up to 0.3 m in size can be tracked simultaneously. The tracking system provides automatic firing solution to destroy of the target which is transferred to either the APS or the main gun control computers. The tank is able to give target designation for the artillery, serve in air defence and reconnaissance functions. T-14 Armata uses highly protected communication channels that connect a group of T-14s and the command post. T-14 Armata is going to be main stay of Russian armoured forces in future for an estimated three decades with gradual upgrades.

Engine OF T14 Armata
T14 Armata is powered by Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant's ChTZ 12H360 diesel engine which produces a power of 1500 hp with a maximum capacity to produce 2000 hp.

Keeping in view the two front threat perception India should keep on upgrading her battle tanks by embracing the advancing technologies in relation with development of battle tanks and maintain the edge on the battle field to strike quick and decisive blows to the enemies. Incorporation of technologies of T14 Armata in existing battle tanks of India and obtainment of certain numbers of T14 Armata into Indian Army with the option of local manufacturing can help India maintain the edge over her adversaries both qualitatively and quantitatively.

It is the destructive capacity of the battle tanks and its survival in a battle scenario that form the basis of capturing of enemy strongholds and thereby its occupation by the aggressor's soldiers which in turn materializes into actual occupation of the desired landmass. The country having the most effective mobile armour in the form of battle tanks capable of surviving attacks from APFSDS, HEAT and other lethal armour penetrating shells and unflinchingly move forward in the battle field amid such attacks by inflicting devastating destruction upon the adversary by mens of its own attacking capabilities is likely to come out winner in a war. Both T90 ( inclusive of all its variants) and T14 Armata are prime examples of such battle tanks.

Written By Debojyoti Kumar

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