Armor: June 23, 2000


RUSSIAN T90-S(Enhanced) TARGETS ASIAN MARKET: The Russian T90 is their most modern tank, in service only with the Russian Army. This won't remain so for long if the Russians have their way. They are frantically trying to market an enhanced version of the T90S to India, Malaysia, and any other Asian country that looks like it has the cash. The T90S(Enhanced) has a 1,000hp engine rather than the 840hp of the Russian Army version. The other major improvement is an air conditioning system for hot climates, and a French television system that allows either the commander or gunner to fire the main gun through this alternative sighting system in bad weather. The new sighting system is thought to be a version of Booklet, a sighting system co-produced by the same companies from France, Russia, and Belarus for refit to T-72s. Booklet includes a thermal viewer, laser rangefinder, and laser missile guidance. The main armament remains the 125mm smoothbore, which can fire high explosive, sabot anti-tank, or Refleks missile rounds. There is a 7.62mm machinegun coaxial with the main cannon, and a 12.7mm machinegun on the turret roof. (This can be aimed and fired from inside the armor without opening any hatches.) The enhanced T90S includes all the latest bells and whistles, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor; nuclear-biological-chemical overpressure protection, fire detection and suppression, a front-mounted dozer blade, long-range fuel tanks, and the Shtora-1 countermeasures system. Malaysia is said to be particularly interested, as it wants to form its first tank battalion and eventually a tank brigade.--Stephen V Cole 


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