The T-90SM Tank

The T-90SM Tank Description


The Russian T-90SM is almost a completely new tank, with an improved chassis and new modular turret  developed for the export market. It has new armour, a new main gun, new ammo storage, new Fire Control Systems, new engine and new countermeasure suite, to name a few.

The T-90SM Tank Names aka T-90MS

First unveiled in 2011, its had a number of different names, in both the West and in Russia. it was initially called the T-90MS as well as the Uralvagonzavod MS. From 2013 it was called the T-90SM, as well as T-90S Modernized, as well as T-90C M or T-90CM and also SM-modern modernezirovat in Russian.

Developed and manufactured by Uralvagonzavod, the company call it the T-90SM and T-90S Modernized.

The T-90SM Tank Operators


A prolific importer and licensed manufacturer of the T-72 and T-90S has expressed an interest in buying 354 T-90SM in late 2012. It appears that the Indian army has the money as it creating new tank regiments for the Chinese border and need additional tanks, however there are conflicts on going that the more Arjun Mk2 tanks should be bought. Despite all of this, there is no clear confirmed order.


In February 2015 it was announced that a desertised version of the tank had successfully passed trials in Kuwait.

The T-90SM Tank Firepower

The T-90SM has the latest version of the 2A6M 125mm smoothbore series, the 2A46M-5. The main gun enables the vehicle to fire 4 types of ammunition to engage targets at varying ranges.

1. HEF (High-Explosive Fragmentary) to a range of 12km
2. GM (Guided Missile) the Refleks anti-tank missile to a range of 5km
3. APDS (Armour-piercing discarding sabot) to a range of 3km
4. HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) to a range of 3km

It has a fire rate of 8 rounds per minutes thanks to its autoloader, which carries 22 rounds of the 40 stored in the vehicle. The main gun now has a new stabilization system ensuring high hit rates whilst firing on the move.

The T-90SM Tank: The Fire Control System is state of the art

The Fire Control System is the latest state of the art technology. The vehicle has a new ballistic computer fitted with various sensors including a new muzzle reference system, video imaging processing equipment, a new fully stabilized multi-channel gunners sight, which includes thermal, day and missile guidance channel as well as a laser range finder with a full tracking capability.

When firing Refleks ATM, which is laser guided, the gunner has an automatic tracking system when firing Refleks at which point the missile is fully automated and the gunner does not have to guide the missile on to the target.

The Commander Independent Sight also is fully stabilized with a thermal, and day channels as well as a laser range finder. His sight is fully digitlised providing clear imagery of a target up to 5km with a full tracking capability.

A third television sight is also provided, should both the commanders and gunners sights be knocked out (this was done to a Challenger 2 Tank in the invasion of Iraq in 2003). All this new FCS and sighting technology brings the T-90SM up to a 3rd generation Hunter Killer Main Battle Tank.

The T-90SM Tank: Remote Weapon Station

The secondary armament is a Remote Weapon Station fitted with a 7.62mm Machine Gun. It is located on the Commander Independent Sight and Stabilised in both axis carrying 800 rounds. It has a full 360 degree traverse and 45 degree elevation for attacking low flying helicopters and is operated by the commander using his CIS. The vehicle also has a standard coaxial MG.

The T-90SM Tank Protection

Building on the Russian tank doctrine off a smaller and low silhouette makes a harder target to hit, the T-90SM has internal thermal shields to reduce its thermal signature. Its modular armour includes ERA that  not only covers the frontal arc of the turret and hull, but extends along the sides of both sections of the tank as well as turret roof and cage armour is fitted to the rear of the hull protecting the engine compartment.

The countermeasure suite sensors detect if a laser range finder (used by tanks and anti-tank missiles launchers to aim at a tank) is pointing at the vehicle, it then alerts the crew and slays the turret round in the direct the laser is coming from.

The system fires an aerosol grenade that detonates creating a screen that is opaque to infrared light protecting the vehicle.

The T-90SM Tank

The T-90SM has an increased situational awareness to close threats thanks to 4 TV cameras mounted on the roof covering all angles of the vehicle.

The ammunition stowage is also new. Similar to the American Abram’s and Leopard 2, a new armoured bustle with blow out panels has been added to the rear of the turret for storing ammunition and the autoloaders armour has also been increased to eliminate the problem of ammunition cook off associated with old Russian autoloader tank design.

The internal crew compartment has a fire suppression system and been lined with spall liners to catch fragmentation splinters caused by a High Explosive ammunition.

It also has a collective PKUZ-1A NBC protection system for the crew and Electromagnetic protection system.

The T-90SM Tank Mobility

The T-90SM Tank At IDEX 2013

The additional equipment and protection of the T-90SM has increased the overall weight compared to the T-90S, so a new 1130 HP V-92S2F Diesel engine and automatic transmission has been installed with strengthening of the chassis.

Top Road Speed 60 km/h
Max fording depth 1.8m
Max deep fording with USCE 5m

The T-90SM Photo Gallery

[unitegallery T90SMtank]

The T-90SM Tank Optional Equipment

The T-90SM can be fitted with the latest communications equipment and Battlefield Management System with real time navigation,  depending on the operator nations FBCB2 capability. The T-90SM can be fitted with air-conditioning in crew compartment  and an auxiliary power unit.

The T-90SM Desertised

The vehicles engine power has been increased, equipped with a new air conditioner and strengthened the armor of the motor and transmission compartment, and also mounted a 12.7 mm machine gun on the tank’s turret and made a number of other modifications.


Special thanks to our fellow TankNut & Contributor Rustam Bogaudinov for the information contained on this page.