Russian T-90S most powerful tank in service with Vietnamese army
According to the 2016 annual report of Rostec`s Uralvagonzavod corporation, the manufacturer of MBTs (Main Battle Tanks), a contract was signed in 2016 with Vietnam for the delivery of 64 T-90S and T-90SK (K for Command, Komandniy) MBTs.
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Russian-made T-90S of the Vietnamese Army. (Picture source QPVN through VietDefense.)
The first batch of 32 Russian-made T-90S tanks was delivered in January 2019 and the second batch of T-90S was delivered in February 2019.
Vietnam is a major importer of Russian arms in Southeast Asia. The aggravation of relations with China in the 2000s because of territorial claims in the South China Sea pushed Vietnam to mount military-defense cooperation with Russia. An intergovernmental memorandum on military-technical cooperation up to 2020 was signed in 2008. Vietnam inked major contracts with Russia for the supply of fighter jets, air defense weapons, frigates, missile boats, and submarines.
The T-90S is now the most powerful main battle tank in service with the Vietnamese armed forces. The tank is one of the most popular combat vehicles of its class and is in service with Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq, Russia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen.
The Russian T-90S tank has a combat weight of 46.5 tons with a crew of three including a commander, driver, and gunner.
The T-90S is armed with a 2A46M 125 mm smoothbore dual-axis stabilized gun (an ammunition load of 42 rounds), a 7.62 mm coaxial machinegun (an ammunition load of 2,000 cartridges), and an anti-aircraft 12.7 mm heavy machinegun (an ammunition load of 300 cartridges). The T-90MS carries 40 rounds of 125mm, 22 are ready to be used on an automatic carousel autoloader, other ammunitions are stowed in a special hull rear section to avoid the risks of explosion and provide high crew survivability. The main gun of the T-90S is also capable to fire anti-tank guided missiles with a firing range from 100 to 5,000 m.
The T-90S protection includes steel composite and Kontakt-5 reactive armor able to defeat modern armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds. The Vietnamese version of the T-90S is fitted with the Shtora-1 active protection system (APS), an electro-optical active protection system or suite for tanks, designed to disrupt the laser designator and laser rangefinders of incoming anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). One electro-optical/infrared (IR) "dazzlers" interface station is mounted to the left and right of the main gun, which includes an infrared jammer, modulator, and control panel.
The T-90S is powered by a 1,000 hp (750 kW) engine made by Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant. The tank can reach a top road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 550km. It can cross a ditch of 2.6 to 2.8 m, a wall of 0.85 m, and a water obstacle with a depth of up to 1.2 m.