Ever since the T-90 was introduced in the Russian army it became the most feared tank in the west. Its high mobility, heavy protection and massive firepower were the reasons enough for the NATO forces to think of a proper response. The fact that the T-90 was exported on a very large scale to India was a reason enough for worry and the direct response to it was the development of the M829A2 and M829A3 kinetic penetrators for 120 mm guns of the NATO MBTs. Still, the further development of this platform has brought some new features that placed the T-90MS in leading position once more.
The T-90MS was first shown in September 2011 and it was a star of the show. Radically improved design, armor protection, and reliability in tackling all the obstacles it faced were quite enough to draw everybody’s attention.
Many experts thought it will be the next solution for the Russian main battle tank but since the military budget of Russia has increased significantly, the entire project was designated for export and the new MBT called Armata is under the development.
T-90MS has some quite radical improvements compared to its predecessors T-90S and T-90M. First of all, there is a completely new turret that is quite different in shape compared to any other Russian tank. The greatest problem in operational usage of all Russian tanks was the fact that if their armor is penetrated, the ammunition will most likely explode, killing the crew and destroying the tank in the process. This issue is solved in T-90MS with a special compartment in the back of the turret where the ammunition is stored so the chance of fire is significantly less.
The main weapon of this tank is the 2A46M-5 125mm gun. It is able to fire SABOT, HEAT, HE-Frag rounds as well as the Reflex AT missiles. The palette of rounds applicable on this gun is quite wide and it allows it to tackle any hard or soft target on the battlefield.
Also it has 2 7.62mm machine guns. One is classic coaxial machine gun while the other is remote controlled MG placed on top of the turret. Altogether with the new Kalina fire control system, this arsenal provides a full coverage for all potential targets. One major advantage of this weapons array is that it is capable of tackling not only ground targets but also the low flying helicopters. Both 125mm HE-Frag rounds with remote detonation and Reflex AT missiles are able to tackle and destroy enemy in the air at low altitudes.
Armor protection of the T-90MS consists of the new Relikt ERA and this reactive armor is capable of defeating even the most modern versions of the SABOT ammo based on depleted uranium. Also, it is capable of defeating AT missiles and RPG rounds. During the combats in Dagestan, the previous ERA 5 armor placed on a T-90A tank managed to sustain 7 RPG hits and still remain in action while Relikt has a double protective capacity compared to ERA 5. It is said that the T-90MS will be compatible even with the most modern Russian ERA named Kaktus which is currently under the development for the new MBT.
This tank also has the option of using Arena-E APS and that increases its survivability even greater. It is certain that T-90MS is the best protected tank out of the NATO bloc and it can easily be compared with Abrams M1A2 and Leopard 2A6 in terms of durability.
It also has the new powerful V-92S2F diesel engine with 1130 HP allows this beast to run at the speed of 72 km/h on paved roads and gives it the range of 550 km. There is also a global positioning system integrated in it so it makes it one of the most advanced MBTs in the modern world.
For now, only India has approved the order of 354 units for their Chinese border regiments but the delivery hasn’t yet started. It is also offered to Peru and it is reasonable to assume that considering its quite low price and incredible battle characteristics, the T-90MS will find its ways to several armies of the world.