MOSCOW, RUSSIA — A Russian tank crew was interviewed by reporters from the Russian media Izvestia. On January 6th, a T-90M Proryv tank commander with the call sign Svetliy compared the difference in handling and performance of the T-72 and T-90M. The videotaped comparison was released by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
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Svetliy is happy with the chance to be the commander of the T-90M. He says the first thing that makes a good impression on him is the better fire control system. The armament of the T-90M also differs from the T-72. The obsolete Soviet NSVT machine guns have now been replaced by the new Russian Kort design. This design is from the late 20th century and is entirely Russian. In addition to the army, Kort is also in service with the police units of Russia. This heavy machine gun is a 12.7 x 108mm caliber. Its rate of fire is 600–650 rounds/min, the muzzle velocity is 860 m/s [2,821.5 ft/s] and the effective firing range is 2000 m.
Svetliy attaches great importance to new surveillance systems – day, night, and thermal imaging. In his opinion, with the new electro-optical systems, the T-90M crew can aim faster than those used in the T-72. The tank commander says that the picture and target’s contours of the electro-optical system have also been improved. Unlike the T-72, the T-90M has a rear-view camera.
In fact, the comment and opinion of Commander Svetliy should not surprise anyone. Before taking control of the T-90 tank, he was the commander of the T-72 of the first modification. This means that he has operated a tank since 1979 when the T-72 received the “A” modification. Then, in this version of the tank, Russian manufacturers integrated a laser rangefinder and the first electronic fire control system.
It is for this reason that Svetliy is strongly impressed by the T-90’s fire control system, which features a voice assistant. This is not the only voice assistant in the new tank. The other voice assistant is integrated into the tank’s drive systems. Svetliy says that if his tank overheats or there are problems with powering the engines, the voice assistant notifies him. Although the T-90 is heavier than the T-72, the T-90 is faster and more maneuverable.
“Active protection is very, very good. On the T-72, both the mechanic and the commander had to look in all directions at the same time, but here [T-90M – ed.] it is already only forward,” says the second commander of the T-90 with code call Bronya.
As BulgarianMilitary.com reported at the end of last year, the two commanders have now been confirmed. I.e. ground forces use drones to correct the firing accuracy of the T-90M. Already last year, when the Central Military District of Russia received a large delivery of T-90M, the first tests of the armored vehicles immediately began before they left for Donetsk. At the time, a Russian source said that the use of drones for precision tank fire was observed during the tests.
Svetliy and Bronya say that the T-90M is well-suited for use as conventional artillery and direct fire from a closed position. This, the two tank commanders say, allows the T-90M to be very suitable in dense urban environments.
In the past few weeks, in addition to the T-90M, Russia has also delivered T-80 tanks. These are gas turbine fighting machines equipped with Kontakt-1 dynamic protection, the upgraded 2A46M-1 gun, and the new 1A33-1 fire control system. These tanks, according to Izvestia, are already in Zaporizhzhia. Before the delivery, Izvestia writes, Russian tank units equipped with T-80s conducted an exercise. During the exercise, tactical missions of shooting while moving at targets at a distance of 2 km were carried out.
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