That’s why the sanctions don’t affect the T-90M tank production

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian military-industrial enterprise from Nizhny Tagil published an interesting video on its Telegram account. The video shows part of a continuous 24-hour work process in the production of tanks. T-90 and T-90M Proryv hull go through the assembly lines.

That's why the sanctions don't affect the T-90M tank production
Video screenshot

UralVagonZavod published the video in response to the expected new sanctions from the West. It is for this reason that in the text below the video, the moderators of the account published the following text: “There is talk again about the next sanctions. We don’t care for stories – we work day and night.”

On February 25, the European Union imposed a new package of sanctions against the Russian Federation. A year after the start of the Russian invasion, the EU sanctions new “Russian and Iranian economies” supporting Moscow. In response, a Kremlin official called the sanctions “absurd.” “This is all absurd. One sees that they [the EU] subject everyone to sanctions just to make new lists,” said Kremlin spokesman Mr. Dmitry Peskov.

Indeed, it remains debatable how effective sanctions are on Russian arms production. The country is rich in minerals, materials, and raw materials. If we do a deeper analysis, we will find that despite the sanctions, UralVagonZavod can continue to produce its products without any problems.

Take for example the fire control system of the T-90M Proryv. It consists of a ballistic computer, day, night, and thermal imaging channels, force and wind sensors, barrel bending sensors, a control panel, and an interface with a multi-function indicator. The system is built based on the digital station R-168-25U-2 Aqueduct, but it is not the same. This station accounted for 40% of Russian production in 2000. In 2017, long before the start of the war, the station is already 80% Russian.

New batch of eight 'naked' T-90 tanks is on its way to Ukraine
Video screenshop

There are some individual components, processors, and microchips that are imported from abroad. Such are, for example, Xilinx and Altera. But even before the war, Russian engineers found their equivalent, presenting 5578TC084 or 5578TC064 as their replacements.

The LSD modules in the T-90M are either PMF 5.1 or their improvements. PMF 5.1 is a development of the Instrument Design Bureau [UKBP]. PMF 5.1 is based on a local software and hardware platform, and the “heart” of the module is a dual-core processor of the KOMDIV64-M series [1890VM8Ya] 0.8 – 1 GHz. “Sanctioned” products such as controllers and RAM/ROM memory microchips can be found in this module.

However, this is not such a shortage, any company from Malaysia and China will send a car with chips almost to the doorstep of the manufacturer’s factory. The rest of the chips, for example, ROM, ADC, DAC, microwave chips, or BIS controllers of the KN587IK1 type, are all produced in Russia at the same Angstrem JSC.

Driver’s mechanic tools. Here everything is beautiful and modern, but only for military equipment, from the point of view of modern consumer electronics or even automotive, in Russian tanks, there is complete archaism of the 80s and 90s.

All major MBT speed indications etc. it is displayed on the steering wheel panel, it looks [for military equipment] very modern, but it is performed based on the LED indication. Nothing difficult to manufacture in Russia.

New T-90s for Russia: 125mm gun, HE ammo, missiles, space nav
Photo: Uralvagonzavod

The mechanic has a tank information and control system to his right. It sounds solid, but it’s actually all from the T-72B3 and older versions of the T-90. This system has simple logic with “firmware” for 500-550 kb. The data from the MTO sensors flows on it. Like a car’s onboard computer, it shows coolant temperature, oil level, malfunction of each unit, etc.

T-14 Armata

In fact, it is not even known whether the sanctions are affecting the production of Russia’s next-generation tank, the T-14 Armata. In reality, it is equipped with improved versions of what we presented above. They are all produced in Russia.

One can only look for the effect of the sanctions in the production of the Afghanit active defense complex. However, this complex is secret, so much so that there is not a single photo of the KOEP [a complex of optoelectronic suppression] sensors. They are always closed with rubber stoppers. It is not known what is inside. Therefore, it cannot be answered whether foreign components are used in brick, or domestic – Russian.

main battle tank t-14 armata
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Realistically, and based on the unified designs of Russian weapon systems, nothing prevents UralVagonZavod from producing not only the T-90M Proryv but also the T-14 Armata. The problem with the development and debugging of the T-14 is the time – it coincided with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For this reason, UralVagonZavod is currently focused on what is relevant now, namely the launch of the T-72B3 and T-90M.


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