Russia’s Armed Forces are due to receive over 400 armored vehicles in 2022. "In 2022, the Russian Army’s units and formations are due to receive over 400 pieces of the armor," according to a state media report summarizing a Russian Defense Ministry statement issued on Monday.
"The Army will receive advanced T-72B3M, T-80BVM and T-90M tanks, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, upgraded BMP-2 vehicles with the Berezhok combat module and also BTR-82A armored personnel carriers," the statement added. The Defense Ministry did not elaborate on specific quantities or deployment plans for these upcoming armor shipments.
The T-72B3M is the latest iteration of the T-72 second-generation main battle tank (MBT) platform, bringing a new main gun, additional protection features, fire control system updates, and an upgraded engine. The T-80BVM is the latest revision of the third-generation T-80, which was the world’s second MBT to feature a unique gas turbine engine. Introduced in 2017, the BVM variant comes with Russia’s advanced “Relikt” explosive reactive armor (ERA) and an improved version of the Soviet-era 2A46M 125 mm gun. The T-90M is the latest iteration of the T-90, Russia’s newest mass-produced tank platform. The first T-90M tanks, which now reportedly come equipped with a new optoelectronic system, were delivered to the Guards Tank Army of Russia’s Western Military District in the spring of 2020. The “M” revision likewise brings an updated turret design and Relikt ERA. According to the latest estimates, there are just under forty T-90M tanks active in Russia’s Ground Forces. The vast majority of Russia’s roughly 400 currently-serving T-90 tanks are expected to be upgraded to the T-90M standard by the mid-2020s.
The Defense Ministry press release did not provide fresh details on Moscow’s procurement plans for the T-14 Armata, Russia’s flagship next-generation tank platform. The T-14—which weighs forty-eight tons, is capable of reaching speeds of up to ninety kilometers per hour, and boasts a 2A82-1M smoothbore cannon that’s incorporated into an ambitious unmanned turret scheme—is reportedly in the midst of state trials and not projected to be serially delivered to Russian troops until 2022. The T-14 tank is part of Russia’s new Armata Universal Combat Platform, which also includes the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle that was unveiled during the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.
Russia’s newest procurements come on the heels of an ongoing military standoff between Moscow and Kiev along Ukraine’s eastern border. According to the latest data obtained by the Global Firepower index, Russia operates around 13,000 tanks against Ukraine’s 2,430 units. Although both countries’ tank fleets contain some obsolete Soviet-era models, the pace of Russia’s heavy armor modernization-procurement programs appears to significantly outstrip those of its Ukrainian counterpart.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.
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