The Russian army has about 100 T-90s, which are the most technologically advanced combat vehicles in its arsenal of weapons. Introduced in 2016, the T-90M was intended to provide better protection for tank crews against missile strikes. However, last week one was shot dead by Ukrainian forces days after deployment.
The ease with which it was destroyed led British MoD military experts to conclude that the T-90M remains vulnerable to attack from anti-tank weapons such as Javelins and NLAWS.
The MoD tweeted on Saturday: “The T-90M was introduced in 2016 and features improved armour, improved gun and improved satellite navigation systems.
“About 100 T-90M tanks are currently in service among the best-equipped units in Russia, including those fighting in Ukraine.
“The system’s enhanced armor, designed to counter anti-tank weapons, remains vulnerable if not supported by other force elements.”
The Ukrainian armed forces claim to have destroyed a large number of Russian tanks since the start of the invasion on February 24.
About 1,122 have been taken down, according to the latest update released on May 7.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that Moscow had as many as 2,700 main battle tanks at the start of the war.
However, most Russian tank stocks consist of old Soviet models, such as the T-62 and T-72.
These were thought to be much more vulnerable to Western anti-tank weapons than the T-90M.
One of the main striking features of the T-90M is its reinforced armor.
It uses Relikt’s built-in explosive reactive armor (ERA) in place of the previous Kontakt-5.
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The armor is meant to provide protection against tandem warheads, such as the Javelin, as well as greatly reducing armor-piercing shell penetration (APFSDS).
Last week, the Ukrainian military released video footage of an attack on a Russian military unit which resulted in the destruction of £4million T-90Ms.
In a statement last Monday, they said: “The SSO Resistance Movement of Ukraine is working.
“In the Kharkiv region, during reconnaissance operations, our soldiers discovered clusters of enemy equipment, including heavy and lightly armored vehicles.”
They added: “One hour after the priority targets for the strike were determined, soldiers from the Resistance Movement coordinated a unit from one of the artillery brigades and adjusted the fire on the enemy targets.
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“As a result of the joint work of the soldiers of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, the losses of the Russians amounted to: T-90 tank – destroyed. T-80BVM tank – destroyed. MTLB – destroyed. MTLB – damaged.”
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia continued to suffer heavy losses to frontline units and that it would take “considerable” time for Putin to rebuild his army.
They explained: “The conflict in Ukraine is taking a heavy toll on some of Russia’s most capable units and most advanced capabilities.
“It will take a lot of time and money for Russia to rebuild its armed forces in the wake of this conflict.
“It will be particularly difficult to replace modernized and advanced equipment due to sanctions limiting Russia’s access to critical microelectronic components.