T-90M Proryv-3 - Shortcomings
T-90M is undoubtedly the best tank in service with the Russian Armed Forces. It has gained a lot of attention after its introduction to the conflict in Ukraine. But even though it is miles ahead of other Russian tanks like T-72B3, it still has a lot of problems. The newest Russian T-90M "Breakthrough" tank is not a completely new model, but rather a modernization of the T-72. It received the name T-90 exclusively for marketing reasons, because during development it was called T-72BU (or "object 188").
Ukrainian experts from the Center for the Research of Trophy and Prospective Weapons and Military Equipment conducted an analysis of T-90M "Proryv" trophy tanks. In the process of research, it became clear that in many parameters the new Russian tank turned out to be identical to the Soviet T-72B.
According to the information received, almost all electronics used, for example, in the Kalina fire control system and optical-electronic systems, are not produced in Russia. In particular, integrated circuits were supplied by American manufacturers Texas Instruments, ISSI or XILINX, and the thermal imaging camera comes from the French Catherine FC family, produced by Thales.
Observers point out that these components were probably delivered before the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine and before the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions. The presence of such a large number of electronics from Western manufacturers suggests that, probably, today's production of T-90M tanks is already carried out on a relatively small scale. And electronic "stuffing" is used from stocks or spare parts.
Thus, in the near future, Russian manufacturers have two options: either to simplify the design of the T-90M tank by using the older 1A45T "Irtysh" fire control systems, which are used in the T-80U, T-90 and T-90A tanks, or to stop production T-90M tanks.
Experts say that, of course, Russians can buy civilian electronics to bypass sanctions in neutral or Moscow-friendly countries. However, the question arises to what extent it will meet the strict requirements of military production, since its use will increase the number of cases of failure of the tank's systems.
As for obtaining components from China, access to them may also be restricted by the Chinese side, which is trying to keep its distance and not provide open assistance to Moscow in its military aggression against Ukraine.
Senior Lieutenant Andriy Rudykof the Center for the Research of Trophy and Prospective Weapons and Military Equipment of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine presented the briefing. Trent Telenko noted 17 March 2023 that the "AFU sees the T-90 as "just another Soviet tank," built in artisanal quantities, that 3rd generation Western MBT's with handily defeat. ... T-90M is de facto an extensive modernization of T-72B obr. 1989 with some design solutions borrowed from NATO tanks (including “Nakidka”). AFU got a chance to analyze a T-90M captured in September 2022. Basically, T-90M is the maximum of what the Russian MIC can squeeze out of the old Soviet tank designs, in some regards even exacerbating the issues in some areas The engine of the tank (V-92S2F) is largely directly a direct ancestor of the V-2 (1937), that was on the T-34. In hot climates (like Ukrainian steppes in summer), the engine loses 1/3 of its power.
"Armor arrangement is very similar to what it was on T-72B. The only design decision Russians took to improve the armored protection of the tank, was to bolt the add-on armor. This decreased mobility of the tank in real world scenarios. First T-90M was destroyed by a guy from Kharkiv TDF wielding Karl Gustaf. Research uncovered big shortcoming in tank electronics. “Kalina” FCS doesn’t have Russian components except for markings. Commercial-grade electronics in tanks, procured in dubious ways. T-90M can’t be produced at any large scale without the imported electronics. Without them, it becomes a somewhat worse T-72B. 15 T-90M's have been visually confirmed lost to date (probably the Oryx number). Real loses are likely to be substantially higher. Almost no T-90M are to be seen in the in the frontline area at the moment. The T-90 “Vladimir” might have been called this way to mimic the precedent set by “IS” series of tanks, named after Stalin."
The main sight of the T-90M is the well-known Sosna-U, which is no longer installed in other modernizations of Soviet vehicles, such as the T-72B3 and T-80BVM, where it was replaced by the twice weaker 1PN-96MT-02. How well do T-90M’s intercom systems work? "We discovered they often doesn’t work. For the longest time, we didn’t quite understand why do Russians have communication problems when in use. During testing we learned that it’s afraid of moisture, as it’s not hermetically sealed. There are big temperature drops inside the tank. The moisture condenses on electronics resulting in all sorts of problems. Even the new ones look like they’ve been in use since the 70’s."
The open sources claim that the T-90M was supposed to have new autoloader & turret ammo bustle. Were they implemented?
"The autoloader is largely identical to the one on the T-72. 22 rounds in the carousel and 18 additional rounds in the turret bustle. BUT THE BUSTLE ISN’T CONNECTED TO THE CREW COMPARTMENT. A CREWMAN HAS TO PHYSICALLY GET OUT OF THE TANK TO PASS THE AMMUNITION INSIDE (translator’s note: LMAO). This is unrealistic to do during battle, de facto forcing the tank to retreat to reload the carousel. There are also concerns about the autoloader reliability, considering it’s an old design with minimal changes."
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