UVZ struggles to equip Russian T-90Ms with hard-kill Afganit APS

In recent weeks, various Russian sources have confirmed that another consignment of state-of-the-art T-90M Proryv tanks has been delivered to the Russian army. Concurrently, the press office of Uralvagonzavod [UVZ], Russia’s largest tank manufacturing plant, has declared a threefold increase in the production of their premier tank model, the T-90M Proryv. 

Russian T-90M tanks crews train to destroy NATO tanks in Ukraine
Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov

Uralvagonzavod stated, “Over the previous year, the plant has tripled the supply of both new and upgraded tanks. We are currently striving to boost this production even further. Consequently, the T-90s’ presence within the military is steadily increasing.” 

Despite this increase, the T-72B3M model still forms the bulk of the Russian army’s tank arsenal. Uralvagonzavod continually upgrades stored T-72 tanks to the B3M standard. The ratio of T-72 to T-90 tanks within the army currently stands at approximately 1 to 3. 

Is the T-90M the ultimate tank? 

Several Russian bloggers and Eastern military experts have posited that the T-90M Proryv is the world’s superior tank model. They argue that only the British Challenger 2 can stand toe-to-toe with it. By comparison, they believe the German Leopard 2, along with other Western tanks, pales in comparison to the T-90 when assessing key tank attributes such as armor, firing rate, accuracy, and range. 

T-72 tank specific update was not well received by the Russians
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The T-90 is recognized as the most formidable and well-shielded of Russian tanks. The T-72 is valued for its reliability, while the T-80 is noted for its impressive speed. Each tank serves a unique purpose. It’s worth noting that UVZ doesn’t just produce the T-90M Proryv, but an upgraded variant known as the Proryv Ver.3, according to Russian military commentary. 

The T-90M Probiv-3 is considered a robust defensive tool against various forms of assault, including UAVs and missiles, from different nations. However, critics argue that this tank requires a comprehensive active protection system, not just individual components.

All T-90 tanks aren’t equipped with an APS 

Despite this, the T-90 tank has proven its resilience by withstanding an unprecedented number of hits, thereby demonstrating its ability to operate effectively without a fully integrated Afganit APS. Given the high cost of active defense systems, it’s impractical to equip every tank with the Afganit. 

An active protection system, or APS, comprises sensors that preemptively detect incoming projectiles and respond by launching their own counter-projectiles. Essentially, it serves as the tank’s personalized anti-aircraft defense. 

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

One of the key reasons why not all T-90M Proryv tanks have the Afganit APS is its prohibitive cost. Despite the vastness of the Russian economy, ongoing sanctions have created limitations in the supply of necessary materials and components. 

Assuming Uralvagonzavod’s claims are accurate and the factory is producing approximately 300 tanks monthly, it’s virtually impossible to implement APS in each tank. The significant costs coupled with a scarcity of crucial electrical and laser components make the production of 300 Afganit APS an arduous task. 

What exactly is the Afganit APS? 

The Russian-made Afganit active tank defense system is a state-of-the-art technology designed to shield tanks from incoming threats such as missiles and rockets. This hard-kill system employs a mix of sensors, radar, and a rapid-fire gun to detect and neutralize incoming projectiles before they reach the tank. 

Designed to work in tandem with other tank defenses like armor plating and reactive armor, the Afganit system is capable of engaging multiple threats simultaneously, making it an effective defense tool in combat scenarios. 

UVZ struggles to equip Russian T-90Ms with hard-kill Afganit APS
Photo credit: Reddit

With a range of about 50 meters, the Afganit system can engage threats from all directions and is particularly adept at close-range combat. This is especially useful in urban warfare where tanks often operate in close quarters with buildings and other structures. 

The Afganit system has undergone extensive testing and has proven its effectiveness in protecting tanks from incoming threats. Currently deployed by the Russian military, it is regarded as one of the most advanced active defense systems globally. 

In summary, the Afganit active tank defense system is a sophisticated and efficient technology that provides tanks with a substantial degree of protection against incoming threats. Its blend of sensors, radar, and rapid-fire gun makes it a formidable defense system capable of engaging multiple threats simultaneously from all angles.

Competitors of Afganit APS 

The Afganit Active Protection System [APS], a Russian innovation, is designed to shield military vehicles from formidable threats like anti-tank missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. However, this sophisticated system faces stiff competition from the West.

This includes the Trophy APS, a product of Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and the Iron Fist APS, developed by Israel’s IMI Systems. These competitors, much like Afganit APS, leverage advanced radar and sensor technology to anticipate incoming threats and initiate countermeasures, thereby preventing any damage to the vehicle. 

Israeli Trophy APS
Photo credit: Pan.bg

Another significant Western contender is the Quick Kill APS, an invention of the American defense giant, Raytheon. While it shares the threat detection and countermeasure deployment features with Afganit and other APS, Quick Kill distinguishes itself by utilizing a laser to annihilate incoming threats rather than just intercepting or deflecting them. 

The APS market is a hotbed of competition, with several Western companies vying for supremacy. Noteworthy among these are Germany’s Rheinmetall AG with their ADS APS, Britain’s QinetiQ with their Dragonfire APS, and the American defense behemoth Lockheed Martin with their Multi-Function Active Protection System [MAPS]. Each system brings its own unique strengths and capabilities to the table, making the market a dynamic and competitive landscape.

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