The Russian army has suffered such severe losses in armoured vehicles that it is now necessary to employ all possible means even the export products to make up for what has been lost.
Some resources based on the publicly available photo began to claim that the Russian army began to use even “Indian” T-90S against the Ukrainian Armed Forces. These combat vehicles were apparently intended for the next export delivery to India. But now these tanks ended up in the ranks of the Russian ground forces. Because the Russian defense industry cannot ensure the proper pace of repair of damaged or armored vehicles.
In fact, the Russian Federation’s defense-industrial complex has “collapsed” to the extent that the creation of new machines is no longer even a possibility. The T-80BVM business kit’s modernization represents the extent of their current capabilities. However, it is unlikely that the Russian army sent the “Indian” T-90S to the front during this event. Most likely, everything was a lot more mundane.
To begin with, let’s clarify that the T-90S tank is actually an “export” modification of the T-90A tank. From its “basic” version T-90A, the “export” T-90S differs only in “stuffing” – i.e., the presence of an air conditioner for the crew, but the absence of Shtora-1 electro-optical active protection complex, the presence of an additional dynamic protection unit on the tower and a smoke installation 902 “Cloud”.
Both the T-90A and the T-90S use a welded turret. Accordingly, there are quite a few visual differences between these two models. Therefore, it should not be ruled out that the above-mentioned photo could actually be a T-90A type tank, and not a machine from the “export”. But Russian T-90A are equipped with Shtora-1 protection system while in the above picture absence of Shtora-1 makes it sure that its an exported variant T-90S.
According to The Military Balance guide, by the end of 2021, the Russian army had only 350 T-90/T-90A tanks in service and only 200 T-90/T-90A units in storage.
In mid-September 2022, the first reports appeared that the Russians were removing their T-90A from storage bases in the temporarily occupied Crimea. And it seems that these tanks were perceived by some commentators as “Indian” T-90S.
Undoubtedly, since the Orks “painted” their T-90A, it can be called “Indian” in some respects – by the level of “colorfulness”. It is significant that the crew did not start welding a “Reactive armor” on this combat vehicle. Although such products could be seen even on “anagolnet” T-90M “Breakthrough”.
This indicates that there are still a certain number of competent tankers in the ranks of the Russian army who understand the performance characteristics of their vehicles, so they do not engage in “Reactive armour” while performing in combat