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Indian Army T-90S Bhishma tanks possibly fighting in Ukraine for Russian army.

| 2022

According to information published by the "Frontier India" website on October 6, 2022, some of India's T-90S Bhishma tanks were in Russia for modernization but it may have been decided to transfer them to the Russian army for its war in Ukraine, Girish Linganna writes in Frontier India. In February 2001, the Indian Army signed a purchase contract for 310 T-90S tanks.
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Indian Army modernized T-90S Bhishma MBT (Picture source: via The Dead District)

As Girish Linganna reports, mid-September saw the release of a video on a Telegram channel showing T-90 tanks with the caption indicating that the tanks were destined for the Russian Armed Forces. It was first believed that the T-90 tanks in the video were T-90A tanks that had not been modernized and had been removed from storage, but it was later determined that they were T-90S tanks, which is the export version. Specifically, the tanks had the T-90S Bhishma configuration of the Indian Army.

Recently, a picture emerged confirming that these tanks had reached the combat zone in Ukraine. According to reports, they had to be shipped back to India after modernization but it was subsequently decided to deploy them to Ukraine, Girish Linganna writes.

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T-90S tank with Indian configuration (Bhishma) spotted in Ukraine (Picture source: unspecified, via Frontier India)

The T-90S is an enhanced version of the T-90 designed to meet operational requirements of Asian countries. The T-90S benefits from an increase in firepower, mobility (thanks to its V-92S2 engine developing 1,000 hp), and protection (additional blocks of integrated dynamic protection). It is manufactured by Uralvagonzavod, based in Nizhny Tagil. The T-90S is used by India that called it "Bhishma": in February 2001, the Indian Army signed a contract for 310 T-90S tanks.

The Russian government prefers the provision of weaponry to its troops above export obligations. Even in Ukraine, armored vehicles and anti-tank systems destined for Arab nations were transferred to the Russian army during the first days of the conflict.

The tanks in the video here above mentioned were T-90S, thus vehicles in export configuration, as indicated by the absence of elements of the Shtora-1 KOEP on the turret and the presence of a characteristic wide turret block of dynamic protection mounted in a “ledge”, Girish Linganna writes. In addition, the mortars of the 902 Tucha system are mounted at an angle of 75 degrees, which is typical for Indian T-90S.

Since 2001, India has signed contracts with Russia to supply 1,450 T-90S Bhishma tanks manufactured by Uralvagonzavod (Nizhny Tagil), of which 124 were supplied directly from Russia; the rest were manufactured under license in India, Girish Linganna writes.

The Indian foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, did not mention the status of the Indian T-90s in Russia while responding to whether or not there were maintenance concerns with Russian weaponry in India, Girish Linganna reports. On September 28, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told reporters during the joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that there have been no issues in recent months regarding the servicing and supply of spare parts in recent months for military equipment acquired in the past from Russia.

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T-90S (Picture source: Army Recognition)


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