The T-90 bhishma tank is the latest development in the T-series of Russian tanks. India purchased 310 T-90S tanks from Russia in 2001. T-90S is an upgrade to the T-72 tanks. T-90S Bhishma has been upgraded by a joint collaboration of the Indian, Russian and French engineers. It is protected by both conventional armour-plating and explosive reactive armour. It has Shtora-1 defensive aids suite, which includes infrared jammer, a laser warning system with four laser warning receivers, a grenade discharging system and a computerized control system.
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It has a two-tier protection system with an option of an additional third tier. The first tier consists of the turret which is a basic armour shell with alternating layers of aluminium and ceramics. The second tier consists of Explosive Reactive Armour panels which reduce the effectiveness of APFSDS ammunition. The third optional tier is an active self-protection system which destroys enemy anti-tank rounds before they hit the tank.
The T-90 Bhishma tanks are equipped with the Catherine-FC thermal sights and Kontakt-5 K-5 explosive reactive armor plates. The tank is powered by liquid-cooled V-84MS 618kW four-stroke V-12 piston engine with 1130 HP engine and has maximum speed of 60km/h. This engine can be fuelled by T-2 or TS-1 kerosene and A-72 benzene, in addition to diesel.
The T-90S has 125mm 2A46M smoothbore main gun that is stabilized in two axes and fitted with a thermal sleeve and 12.7 mm heavy gun. The gun tube can be replaced without any dismantlement inside the turret. The gun can fire Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot, High Explosive Anti Tank and High Explosive Fragmentation. The T-90S gun can also fire anti-tank guided missile system. The range of the missile is 100m – 4,000m and takes 11.7 seconds to reach maximum range. It is intended to engage low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5km. The missile system fires either the 9M119 or 9M119M missiles. It also has a coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun and a 12.7mm air defence machine gun. It also has nuclear, biological and chemical protection equipment.
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It has 1A4GT Integrated Fire Control System, which contains the gunner’s 1A43 day fire control system, gunner’s TO1-KO1 thermal imaging sight with a target identification range of 1.2km to 1.5km and commander’s PNK-S sight.
It has a TKN-4S day / night sight, which has identification ranges of 800m in day and 700m in night, included in the commander’s PNK 4S sight. It is equipped with a TVN-5 infrared night viewer for drivers. It can ford 5m of water with equipment, which can be deployed in 20 minutes.
Indian Army selected Russian T-90 tanks in 2001 as by 1995 Pakistan Army had acquired 320 Ukrainian T-84 tanks which were superior to Indian T-72M1 tanks of the 1990s. The T-90 tank was an incremental upgrade of the T-72 M1, which was already being manufactured in India at the Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi. T-90 tank is a third-generation Russian Main Battle Tank that was developed in the 1990s.
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