Russia reportedly lost a T-90 M in Ukraine, its most advanced tank in service

In less than two weeks of its deployment.
Ameya Paleja

A Proryv-3, commonly known as the T-90 M, Russia's most advanced tank in service, was reportedly destroyed during a Ukrainian attack, Business Insider reported. An image of the blown-up tank was also shared on Twitter by a defense reported at the Kyiv Independent. 

This is yet another major setback for the Russian forces that are into the third month of their 'special military operation' and have seen significant losses like Moskva, the flagship of its sea fleet. To add insult to injury, the tank was deployed only recently in the eastern part of Ukraine. 

Why is the T-90 M so famous? 

The T-90 M is a significant upgrade of the Soviet-era T-72 tanks and has been equipped with a more powerful 1,300-hp engine which delivers top off-road speeds of 28 mph (45 kph). 

The tank has a long-range panoramic sight with an additional thermal imaging channel. The multi-channel views make the gun suitable for operation at any time of the day. Additionally, it also deploys the Kalina automatic target tracker system that allows the gunner to lock onto the target and fire on the move.  

The tank features additional steel plates called RELIKT, laser-warning systems, and smoke canisters for its own survivability. Specific protections are also in place against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in the form of nets on the lower side of the turret and in the rear. 

The T-90M also features a special coating of thermal insulation material, dubbed Nakida, that significantly reduces the visibility of the tank in the radio thermal range band, protecting it from high-precision weapons. 

According to estimates, the Russian Army has only about 100 T-90M tanks in service as the initial production batch had joined the ranks in early 2020.

Brought down by a U.S. supplied weapon

Even with all these protections on its side, a T-90 M reportedly fell prey to a U.S.made Javelin anti-tank missile. A proven asset with more than 5,000 successful engagements, the Javelin uses a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, attacking tanks from the top. In this area, their armor is the thinnest. 

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We have previously reported how the U.S. supports the Ukrainian effort with arms and ammunition. On its part, Ukraine has been sharing intelligence about Russian weapons that have been confiscated, including the new-age electronic warfare systems that have been abandoned on Ukrainian soil. 

Apart from military collateral, such losses also harm Russia's reputation as an arms supplier.

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