MOSCOW, RUSSIA — As a result of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, which began on February 24, 2022, both countries lost very large amounts of modern equipment.
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- Dogfight: if German Leopard 2 meets Russian T-90M in Ukraine
In addition, sanctions were imposed against the Russian Federation, which is beginning to hurt the capacity of the domestic defense industry. The first effects are already visible.
As noted in the materials of Russian television by a Twitter user named Kontakt6, the latest batch of T-80BVM tanks delivered to the Donbas front differs significantly from the original configuration. The vehicles have some upgrades, but also simplified designs.
Namely, the improvements are noticeable in the armored coating of the cars. Along the entire length, the sides of the hull, including the propulsion compartment, are protected by new ballistic aprons with explosive reactive armor modules. A similar modification was observed on T-72B3 Model 2022 tanks.
In addition, in the forward part of the turret, next to the lower edges of the Relikt reactive armor modules, a special grid is installed to catch HEAT grenades from hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers. A similar modification appeared for the first time on the T-90M tanks.
However, the original TPN-3-49 night vision sight was replaced with a 1PN-96MT-02 thermal sight, which, interestingly, is intended for the modernization of T-62 tanks, which are also going to the front of the Russian-Ukrainian war. While this is an improvement in performance over the night vision scope, it is also a degradation over the Sosna-U scope.
This is because the Sosna-U operates with an improved fire control system, most likely a derivative of the Kalina system [also using the Sosna-U sight] used in the T-90M tank. Meanwhile, the 1G42 daylight sight and the 1PN-96MT-02 thermal sight cooperate with the older 1A33 fire control system, which is a solution from the late 1970s.
Another problem is the thermal imaging cameras used in the Sosna-U sights. These were the cameras of the Catherine family, designed and manufactured by the French company Thales, under license from the Belarusian company Peleng, which exported them to Russia. At the moment, stocks of these cameras are most likely used, and replacements are used, perhaps Russian-made or supplied from other countries – for example, China.
What does it mean?
What does it mean? First, the sanctions are certainly working, the Russians will have more and more problems with advanced military electronics. However, secondly, this also means that the Russian industry can still provide relatively modern solutions dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.
Of course, these solutions are not at the level of Western ones, but they are sufficient for waging war. And third, Russia is focused on a long-term mass conflict, surely simplifying the equipment and moving it in some respects to the years of the peak of the power of the USSR will make it easier for the appointed senior reservists who can serve as mechanics who are competent in the management of this type of decision.
Let us also recall that the Russians intend to form from scratch at least a few new divisions and a few more developed from the currently existing brigades.
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