India to purchase 400 additional T-90S Russian main battle tanks

According to a news published on March 16, 2020, by TASS, the Russian press agency, India has taken the decision to purchase 400 T-90S Russian main battle tanks (MBT) a tank which is already manufactured under license in India, said Head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev during an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel.

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Indian-made T-90 Bhishma main battle tank at DefExpo defense exhibition in India. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In February 2020, Russia and India signed a deal extending the licensed manufacturing of T-90S Bhishma (local name) main battle tanks until 2028: "In 2019, a deal was signed with India to extend the licensed manufacturing of T-90S tanks until 2028, and as we know, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the production of 464 T-90S main battle tanks.

In 2001, India purchased 310 T-90S tanks from Russia, of which 124 were delivered complete and 186 were to be assembled from kits delivered in various stages of completion with an emphasis on shifting production to domestic means. The T-90 was selected because it is a direct development of the T-72 that India already manufactures with 60% parts commonality with T-90, simplifying training and maintenance.

The T-90 manufactured in India is called T-90 Bhishma, this version was built based on requests of the Indian army, equipped with the French Thales-built Catherine-FC thermal sights, and is fitted with Russian Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor (ERA).

The T-90S is an enhanced version of the Russian-made T-90 Main Battle Tank (MBT) to meet the operational requirements of countries in Asia. The main armament of the T-90S MBT includes one 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, stabilized in two axes and fitted with a thermal sleeve. The gun tube can be replaced without dismantling inside the turret. The gun's automatic loader will feed both ordnance and missiles offering a high rate of fire (up to 7 to 8 rounds per minute). The T-90S is also able to fire the 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system with a range from 100 m to 4,400 m.

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