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Ukraine Transfers Captured Russian T-90A Tank to United States: A Symbol of Strengthened Cooperation

According to images shared on the Twitter account of “Walter Report” on April 13, 2023, Ukraine has transferred a Russian T-90A Main Battle Tank (MBT) to the United States. This tank was captured and utilized by Ukrainian defenders before being handed over to the United States.

As per information released by the British Intelligence Services, repurposed Russian equipment and combat vehicles now constitute a significant portion of Ukraine’s military arsenal. It is estimated that Ukraine has captured at least 440 Russian main battle tanks and approximately 650 other combat vehicles since the invasion.

To delve into history, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the United States and several NATO countries swiftly moved to recover Russian-made equipment and armored vehicles used by East Germany. During the Gulf War, the Americans also acquired a substantial quantity of Russian-made military equipment.

The transfer of captured Russian vehicles from Ukraine to the United States holds several intriguing implications. One reason is that it enables the US military and intelligence agencies to conduct a technical analysis of the vehicle, acquiring valuable information on its design, capabilities, and vulnerabilities. This information can be utilized to develop countermeasures and tactics to neutralize or exploit these vehicles in potential conflicts.

Another reason is that studying captured vehicles can provide insights into the tactics and strategies employed by Russian forces or their proxies, thereby enhancing the training and preparedness of US and NATO forces. Additionally, having physical access to a captured vehicle allows US engineers to reverse-engineer its components and systems, potentially leading to the development of new technologies, upgrades for existing platforms, or countermeasures to neutralize enemy capabilities.

Based on information available on the internet and social media, the T-90A was observed on a vehicle transporter manufactured by the American company Globe Trailers. It was photographed in Roanoke, a town located approximately a hundred kilometers from Fort Polk, where the US Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) is situated. The JRTC’s mission is to ensure the operational readiness of light infantry units in conditions closely resembling reality.

From the tank’s markings, it can be determined that the T-90A belonged to the 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian army when it was captured near Kharkiv in September 2022.

The Russian T-90A, developed and produced by the Russian company Uralvagonzavod, is a main battle tank (MBT). It represents an upgraded version of the T-90 tank, which itself was a modernized variant of the Soviet-era T-72 tank. The T-90A was introduced into service with the Russian Armed Forces in the late 1990s and has been exported to various countries worldwide.

The T-90A boasts several enhancements over its predecessors, including improved armor protection, a more powerful 125mm 2A46M-5 main gun, and an upgraded fire control system. It is also equipped with a 1,000-horsepower V-92S2 diesel engine, providing the tank with a top speed of around 60 km/h (37 mph) and a range of approximately 550 km (342 miles).

In terms of protection, the T-90A combines composite armor, explosive reactive armor (ERA), and the “Shtora” electro-optical active protection system designed to disrupt incoming guided anti-tank missiles. The tank’s low silhouette and advanced camouflage capabilities make it challenging for enemy forces to detect and target.

The T-90A also features the Shtora-1 electro-optical active protection system, which enhances the tank’s survivability against guided anti-tank missiles. Developed in Russia, this system employs sensors and countermeasures to detect, track, and disrupt incoming threats.

Moreover, the T-90A main battle tank is equipped with robust armor to safeguard the crew and vehicle against various threats, including kinetic energy penetrators, shaped charges, and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. The primary armor of the T-90A consists of a composite material comprising layers of steel, ceramics, and other materials. This type of armor offers superior protection compared to conventional steel armor, effectively countering a wide range of threats.

In addition to composite armor, the T-90A is fitted with Kontakt-5 ERA, an add-on armor that incorporates explosive-filled panels. When struck by a projectile or shaped charge, the explosive in the panel detonates, neutralizing the incoming threat and minimizing the penetration of the primary armor. This system proves particularly effective against HEAT rounds and shaped charges.

The T-90A’s armor technology holds US intelligence interest for several reasons. One such reason is to assist US intelligence and military officials in understanding the protection capabilities of Russian main battle tanks by studying the armor composition and effectiveness of the T-90A. This knowledge is vital in assessing the potential threat posed by these tanks and devising appropriate countermeasures.

By examining and reverse-engineering the T-90A’s armor, US researchers can identify innovative materials and design techniques that may be integrated into the development of future US armored vehicles. This could lead to enhancements in the protection and survivability of American tanks and other armored platforms.

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