Ukraine captured Russia's most advance operational tank in 'near-perfect' condition
Ukraine has captured a T-90M, Russia's most advanced tank in operation, from the Kharkiv region as its forces are advancing in areas that were lost in the early days of the Russian aggression, The Drive has reported.
Images of the captured tank were shared on social media by Ukraine's Defense ministry.
Announcement https://t.co/Lo1KeOtepS— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) ) September 18, 2022
Earlier in May, we had reported that Russia had lost a T-90 M tank just weeks after it was deployed in the field. The recent report of capturing it in near-perfect condition raises more doubts about its capabilities.
What do we know about the T-90 M tank?
The T-90 M is powered by a 1,300 horsepower engine which can deliver a top speed of 28 miles (45 km) an hour. The tank design is similar to that of the T-72, which was built in the Soviet era, but the components have received significant upgrades in the modern tank.
The first among them would be the 125 mm main gun in a modified new turret. The weapon station has also received multiple upgrades, as seen in the images from inside the tank that were released on social media.
Another crucial component is the sighting system on the tank dubbed PNM-T. Earlier sighting systems relied on Western-made parts, which were hard to come by after sanctions were imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea in 2014. The PNM-T is a completely Russian-built sighting system.
The T-90M, as it is towed away in the video shared below, also came up with Nakidka radar-absorbent material (RAM) blankets. These blankets can be used to camouflage fortification, ammunition, and other strategic material while helping vehicles like tanks reduce their infrared, thermal, and radar signatures.
Kharkiv Oblast, A Ukrainian T-72B3 tows away a Russian T-90M https://t.co/MLntdkacQp— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) ) September 18, 2022
A goldmine for the U.S. intelligence
According to The Drive, the T-90M was likely abandoned by its three-person crew after it threw a track. This could have happened for many reasons ranging from challenging terrain, poor driving, or insufficient maintenance. Reinstalling a track may not be the easiest of tasks to accomplish but abandoning the tank in pristine condition isn't something well-trained soldiers do.
The Ukrainian forces may have towed away the tank, but it is the U.S. intelligence that must be itching to get their hands on it. Under the foreign material exploitation arrangement, the U.S. has partnered with Ukraine to study Soviet-era technology and understand its shortcomings.
While the tank design might be old, there is some unique technology on the T-90M that is Russian in origin, and a tank in pristine condition could give more information on how it works. During the conflict, Ukraine has managed to get its hands on Russian defense equipment but in recent weeks, has gained access to attack options as well.
The information gained from such war exploits could help the U.S. and its allies sharpen their attack and strengthen defenses against Russia in the future.