November 15, 2001
India's First T-90s Arriving At Month's End- The first batch of 40 T-90 tanks will arrive from Russia by end of November, part of a lot of 310 that India had purchased under a $650-million deal. The head of Russia's Defence Ministry main ordnance department, Colonel General Sergei Mayev, had noted that these tanks were prepared for shipment on 6 September.
In mid-October, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes had convinced Russian deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov to raise the number from the originally promised 40 to 80 by the end of 2001. All 140 assembled tanks will be shipped before the remaining 170 tanks in semi-knocked down condition are sent late in 2002. These will be assembled at the Avadi heavy vehicle factory, near Chennai.
Since the T-90 is based on the T-72 (which India already fields), crew transition training should not take long. What will take time is perfecting the tactics that best utilize the T-90s' laser-guided tandem-warhead missiles, which are capable of defeating tanks fitted with Explosive Reactive Armor out to five kilometers.- Adam Geibel