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Analysis T-90M Breakthrough: Discover latest technical features of Russian most modern tank

Discover the latest technical features and combat capabilities of the most modern Russian Main Battle Tank (MNT) T-90M nicknamed the "Breakthrough". A significant upgrade from the T-90, the T-90M showcases various features that make it a formidable weapon system, especially as seen in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
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The T-90M is the latest generation of Russian-made Main Battle Tank.  (Picture source Russian MoD)

The T-90M's turret has been fundamentally redesigned and features an ammunition box at the back, a distinctive design element that allows easy identification. The new turret module enables enhanced operational performance and battle capabilities.

One of the most notable upgrades is the "Kalina" fire control system. This advanced technology enables the tank to detect, recognize, track, and engage targets while stationary or moving, greatly enhancing its combat effectiveness. Coupled with a 125-mm smoothbore gun and a multi-channel sight, the T-90M can engage targets up to 5 km away in varying weather conditions and during day and night conditions.

The "Kalina" fire control system is a technologically advanced system that is an integral part of the T-90M tank's design. A fire control system in armored vehicles and tanks is vital as it directs the aiming and firing of the tank's main and secondary weapons.

A critical function of the "Kalina" system is likely to be target detection and acquisition. To accomplish this, the system may be equipped with high-tech sensors, which could include thermal imaging to identify heat signatures and laser rangefinders for accurate distance measurement. Some advanced sensors like radar might also be part of the package.

Following the detection and acquisition of targets, the "Kalina" system is likely designed to automatically track them. This allows the system to adjust the aim of the tank's weapons dynamically, accounting for both the tank's and the target's movement.

Another likely key function of the "Kalina" system is ballistic calculation. This involves determining the accurate firing solution for the tank's main gun. This calculation takes into consideration various factors such as the distance to the target, the speed of the target, weather conditions, the type of ammunition being used, and more.

All these assumed functionalities highlight the importance of the "Kalina" fire control system in enhancing the operational capabilities and combat effectiveness of the T-90M tank.

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The T-90M is equipped with the Kalina firing control system. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The T-90M's defense capabilities are another point of significant improvement. In addition to its main weapon, the 125-mm smoothbore gun, the T-90M is armed with two machine guns: one 7.62 mm that's coupled with the main gun, and a remotely controlled combat module with a 12.7 mm machine gun, mounted on the turret.

The dual machine gun system adds an extra layer of versatility and firepower to the T-90M. The 7.62 mm machine gun coupled with the main gun provides close-in defense against infantry and light vehicles, supporting the main gun, which is typically used against heavier targets such as enemy tanks or fortified positions.

The second machine gun, a 12.7 mm, is mounted on a remotely controlled combat module on the turret. This design feature presents several advantages. Being able to be operated remotely, the 12.7 mm machine gun can engage targets without exposing the crew to enemy fire, ensuring their safety while operating the weapon system. This can be particularly valuable in urban warfare or other scenarios where threats can emerge rapidly and from multiple directions.

Moreover, the 12.7 mm machine gun, due to its larger caliber, has a greater range and destructive power than the 7.62 mm machine gun, making it effective against a wider variety of targets, including low-flying aircraft, light armored vehicles, and enemy infantry.

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The T-90M is protected by the Reliky advanced ERA Explosive Reactive Armor. (Picture source Russian MoD) 

The T-90M is engineered with formidable armor protection that can effectively counter most modern anti-tank rockets and missiles threats. A cornerstone of this protection is its advanced armor system, supplemented by the innovative "Relict" dynamic protection blocks.

The "Relikt" is an upgraded explosive reactive armor (ERA) developed in Russia to replace the previous Kontakt-5 ERA. Reactive armor is a type of armor that explodes in reaction to the impact of a weapon, such as a missile or a rocket-propelled grenade, thereby reducing the weapon's effectiveness. The "Relikt" is said to provide superior protection against a wider range of threats compared to older generations of reactive armor. It's designed to counter tandem-charge warheads, which are specifically designed to defeat reactive armor, making it a highly effective defense against modern anti-tank missiles.

Complementing the "Relikt" dynamic protection blocks, the T-90M is equipped with an automated system for deploying multispectral smoke screens. This system is an additional defensive mechanism designed to protect the tank from laser-guided missiles. By creating a smoke screen, the tank can disrupt the laser guidance of incoming missiles, diverting them from their targets and providing the tank with an opportunity to maneuver away from the threat.

In essence, the advanced armor system, the "Relikt" dynamic protection blocks, and the automated multispectral smoke screen system combine to enhance the T-90M's survivability significantly. These features ensure that the tank is well-protected from a wide range of threats on the battlefield, thereby enhancing the safety of its crew and increasing its effectiveness in combat scenarios.

Furthermore, the T-90M boasts a high-powered 1,130 horsepower diesel engine and a relatively light combat weight of 49.5 tons, giving it impressive mobility on the battlefield. This makes the T-90M capable of executing complex maneuvers and rapid responses during combat situations. It can run at a maximum forward road speed of 60 km/h and a reverse speed of 25km/h with a maximum cruising range of 550 km.

Lastly, the T-90M has seen considerable advancements in terms of crew comfort and ergonomics. Now, those operating the tank can benefit from well-designed seats offering enhanced comfort, a spacious working area allowing for efficient operations, and the added luxury of personal air conditioning vents, further improving the in-tank environment. These improvements not only increase the comfort level of the crew but can also contribute to improved operational efficiency during missions.

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