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30th Mechanized Brigade of Ukrainian army captures Russian T-90M and T-80U tanks

According to pictures released on Facebook on December 17, 2022, the 30th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian army captured Main Battle Tanks of the Russian forces in operational conditions including a T-80U and the latest generation of Russian tanks, the T-90M.
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30th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian army captures Russian T-90M and T-80U tanks. (Picture source Facebook)

The 30th Prince Konstanty Ostrogski Mechanized Brigade is a combat of the Ukrainian Land Forces. The full name of the unit is 30th Independent Mechanized Brigade "Konstanty Ostrogski". In the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 30th Mechanized Brigade participated in the 2022 Chornobaivka attacks against Russian positions through mortar strikes.

Citing open source information, today, the Russian armed forces would have lost more than 1,500 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) during combat operations in Ukraine, which have been destroyed, damaged, or captured by the Ukrainian soldiers. Currently, around 40 Russian T-80U tanks are now in the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces as well as two T-90M tanks.

The T-80U is an improved version of the T-80 MBT but fitted with improved armor protection, the updated 125 mm gun, and a new fire-control system that allows the tank commander or gunner to aim and fire the main armament.

The T-80U is fitted with a two-man turret armed with one 125 mm 2A46M-1 smoothbore gun with stowage for an additional seven rounds of 125 mm ammunition compared to other versions of the T-80 tank. The main gun can fire a wide range of 125mm ammunition as well as the 9M119 Refleks (US/NATO designation AT-11 `Sniper') semi-automatic laser beam-riding missile out to a maximum firing range of 5,000 m.

The T-80U is also powered by a new GTD-1250 gas turbine developing 1,250 hp. In addition, a GTD-18A gas-turbine auxiliary power unit is mounted at the rear of the hull on the left side and this allows the vehicle to run key subsystems without the main turbine engine running.

The armor package of the T-80U tank includes Kontakt ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) providing protection against both APFSDS (Armor-Piercing Sin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) and HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) ammunition attacks over the frontal arc. The turret roof between the commander's and gunner's hatches has been provided with additional protection against top attack weapons and a collar of rubber skirts hangs from the turret front which is believed to reduce the signature of the T-80U and deflect top attack bomblets. The upper part of the suspension is covered by side skirts with the forward part on either side of the driver's position providing additional armor protection.

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Russian T-80U tank captured by the 30th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian army. (Picture source Facebook).

The T-90M is the latest generation of MBT in the T-90 family, it was unveiled in 2017 during a military exercise that was conducted in Russia. It was improved thanks to the experience gained by the Russians deployed in Syria and offers now new firepower, mobility and protection.

As for all the tanks produced by the Russian defense industry, the T-90M has a crew of three and maintains a similar design with the driver at the front middle of the hull, a turret with commander and gunner, and the powerpack at the rear.

The T-90M is armed with a new 2A46M-4 gun, which has a longer range and is 15-20 % more accurate than the standard gun 2A46M gun of the T-90. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the right of the main armament and one remotely operated weapon station armed with one 12.7mm machine is mounted on the turret roof.

The T-90M features a new all-welded turret design protected by the Relikt ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) armor fitted at the front and on each side of the turret. It features higher protection performance and serviceability compared with the Kontakt-5 ERA suite.

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Russian T-90M tank captured by the 30th mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian army. (Picture source Facebook).

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