The armed forces of Ukraine captured for the first time since the beginning of the war a fully preserved trophy example of the Russian supertank T-90M (Breakthrough-3). The news of the Russian-language Telegram channels spun like a typhoon in specialized channels and profiles in social networks, causing the greatest excitement among fans of high military technology in Japan on Twitter. “I can’t believe it!” is the most common exclamation of the Japanese. The first footage of the captured tank was published on the Shawshank channel, which is maintained by a Ukrainian tankman.
The trophy T-90M is an incredible intelligence find for Ukraine and for the intelligence services of its Western partners. It can be assumed that the technological information obtained by the Ukrainians will be shared with NATO partners.
— ぺりかんめも (@pelicanmemo) September 20, 2022
According to reports from the front, since February 24, the Ukrainians have destroyed several copies of the T-90M, but this is the first case in which they got hold of an intact machine without damage to it. There are no signs of wounded or killed Russian tankers, suggesting that the three-man crew left it running after some undercarriage damage. The machine was towed from its original location on a tow truck, suggesting mobility issues.
According to information from military observers, the tank was abandoned by the Russians somewhere in the Kharkiv region. British intelligence estimates that the Russian military has around 100 such machines and the loss of any one of them would be a huge blow to the Russian armed forces. There are no verified data on the number of T-90M on the battlefields in Ukraine.
The standard T-90 entered serial production in 1993. At the beginning of the new century, work began to improve its parameters, in particular, its resistance against modern anti-tank weapons and its adaptation to the needs of asymmetric military conflicts. Thus the T-90M was born. The premiere of the T-90M modification was in 2016, and among its advantages, which were emphasized by military experts, were improved armor, a modernized gun and improved satellite navigation systems.
The first copies were delivered in 2016. The scope of the modernization mainly included the installation of new armament and a fire control system. The new “Relic” modular reactive armor protects the hull and turret, additional elements for dynamic protection “Kontakt-5” are installed.
The tank is equipped with a set of protection “Nakidka” (cloak) – a synthetic heat-insulating and radio-absorbing “cloak”, whose temperature on the outside is the same as that of the environment. The kit is cut into 8-10 pieces for the main body elements of the tank. This makes the machine almost “invisible” to detection by infrared homing heads and all modern weapons supplied to Ukraine. Thanks to the “cloak” in all radar ranges, the detectability of the tank drops by 6 to 8 times. With the help of “Nakidka”, the distance from which the American Boeing E-8 Joint STARS flying radar detects the T-90M is reduced from 180 to 30-40 kilometers.