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Sep 20, 2022
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“Special Operations Z”: Russian “Breakthrough” was captured by the Americans near Kharkov

In the photo: T-90M tank

In the photo: T-90M tank (Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / TASS)

The consequences of our tragic retreat near Kharkov during the “special operation Z” in Ukraine in the long run may be even more severe than it seems today.

The fact is that, according to the American edition of Military Watch, during the disorderly withdrawal of Russian troops across the Oskol River, for some unknown reason, our tankmen abandoned the newest and terribly secret tank T-90M “Breakthrough”. As far as can be judged from the published pictures, it fell into the hands of the Ukrainian military in almost perfect condition.

The United States immediately asked Kyiv to send this most valuable trophy to them across the ocean as soon as possible. It is clear that for careful study. Because, having dismantled the T-90M, as they say, “on a screw”, the Americans will have a rare opportunity to look into the technological secrets of the famous T-14 “Armata” carefully guarded by Russia. Our newest fourth-generation tank is still being tested. Who managed to fight in Syria in the so-called “training mode”. But on the battlefields in Ukraine has not yet been seen.

The fact is that the 27th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Sevastopol Red Banner Brigade of the 1st Guards Tank Army, which arrived only in April 2021 in a very limited number (in the open press in the spring of this year, the figure was only 70 combat vehicles), T -90M “Breakthrough”, according to experts of the same “Military Watch”, today is “the most combat-ready in the Russian arsenal.”

Technologically, he inherited many advanced innovations developed by Russian designers specifically for the “Armata”. Given this circumstance, in general, they believe abroad that the T-90M is certainly one of the best tanks in the world. And it is very similar to the promising “Armata”. Only lighter than it (the mass of the Breakthrough is 48 tons versus 55 tons for the T-14). And much cheaper. What, in fact, mainly explains that the T-90M is still in our troops. And “Armata” still consider that there is none.

It is possible that precisely because of this similarity, from the first days of our special operation, a real hunt was organized for the few T-90Ms by Kyiv, probably at the request of the Pentagon. But our losses in these combat vehicles, despite all the efforts of the Ukrainian military and their foreign associates, are still extremely rare. As far as can be judged from open sources, the Breakthrough captured near Izyum is only the second such combat vehicle that the 1st Guards Tank Army in Ukraine has lost. The first was shot down in early May during a counterattack on the village of Stary Saltov, Kharkiv region, occupied by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

On May 4, with great annoyance, the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine and Great Britain simultaneously announced this. Why with annoyance? Because on the photographs of the same T-90M “Breakthrough” published by them in confirmation, little is left of it. The open hatches of the driver and gunner indicate that the crew most likely survived. But the tank itself burned to the ground. Therefore, it is impossible to obtain special technical information from these ruins.

But now – a completely different matter. The tank that the Ukrainians got as a trophy the other day near the same Kharkov looks like a picture in the photo. Even the Cape, a set of means for reducing visibility, thrown over the car, which looks like a spotted, gray tarpaulin, has survived, most recently developed by the Moscow JSC Research Institute of Steel.

For reference: this Russian “Cape” is designed to reduce the infrared visibility of a combat vehicle for homing heads of anti-tank guided missiles by two to three times. And the radar visibility for them is in all ranges up to six or more times.

But even this undoubted Russian “know-how” that fell into the hands of the enemy is not our main technological loss near Kharkov. Because the design of the “Breakthrough” is based not only on many other successful engineering solutions found during the creation of its predecessors – the T-90AM and T-90MS tanks. But he got a lot, as already mentioned, from the top secret so far T-14.

First of all, the gun. Instead of the 2A46M-2 and 2A46M-5 guns on the predecessor tanks of the Breakthrough, a 125-mm 2A82-1M, specially designed for the Armata, was installed on the new vehicle. Its resource has been increased to 900 shots.

Shooting from this can be carried out with very powerful armor-piercing sub-caliber projectiles with a tungsten core “Vacuum-1” (with armor penetration up to 900 mm) or made from low-enriched uranium with the addition of ceramic additives “Vacuum-2” (the same indicator is increased to 1000 mm). And to destroy infantry and light field-type shelters, both the T-90M and the Armata are equipped with high-explosive fragmentation Telniki with detonation on the trajectory, as well as Sprinter guided missiles.

In addition, the developers claim that the new weapons allowed both the T-90M and T-14 to increase the accuracy of fire by 30 percent. And the range of aimed fire from our 2A82-1M is seven kilometers. Against five kilometers from the best armored fighting vehicles of the North Atlantic Alliance. Which, ceteris paribus, makes the outcome of a duel with any of the products of the German Rheinmetall or the American General Dynamics largely a foregone conclusion. And regrettable for the enemy.

It is not yet known what from this newest arsenal fell into the hands of the Ukrainian military near Kharkov along with the captured Russian tank. But it is likely that, alas, they got something from the ammunition of the formidable machine captured by Kyiv.

Surely the most lively interest among American engineers and the military will now be aroused by the welded turret of the Breakthrough, which is fundamentally different from its predecessors from the T-90 family, well-known in the world for a long time. The design of this stealth tower is revolutionary. Latticed screens protect the stern and its lower part. The ammunition rack was removed from the fighting compartment. Some of the shells are in the automatic loader. And part – in the removable aft part of the tower.

There’s a lot more that Americans have never seen before. For example, the Kalina automatic fire control system (FCS). By combining information collection sensors, a tactical information and control system and equipment for data exchange between the commander and gunner (the so-called “hunter” – “killer” principle), the crew of the “Breakthrough” is much better than on any other tanks, aware of happening on the battlefield.

The “eyes” of the T-90M are a multi-channel sight with thermal imaging, television, sighting and rangefinder channels, as well as a control channel for a rocket fired from its own cannon.

But, perhaps, the most valuable “prize” for our ill-wishers after the incident will be the nodes of the Afghanit dynamic protection complex. Which was specially developed for “Armata”. But, as they say, due to the delay in testing the T-14, they began to install it on the first Breakthroughs.

“Afganit” is equipped with ultraviolet direction finders, infrared cameras and extended range AFAR radars. All this is to warn the crew about threats not only from the ground, but also from the air. Little of. “Afganit” is integrated with the mentioned Kalina FCS for an almost instantaneous aggressive fire response in the event of an enemy attack on a guarded tank.

Target designation for a detected threat is issued to the T-90M commander almost instantly. At the same time, an aerosol grenade is automatically thrown towards the enemy, hiding the object of attack behind clouds of thick white smoke.

Well, if all this does not help, Relikt, a system of modular dynamic protection, adopted relatively recently, in 2006, will come into action. It increases the projectile resistance of the already almost impenetrable armor of the Breakthrough by 20%. And anti-cumulative protection – twice.

In a word, we have before us a reliably armored and almost “indestructible” Russian monster. Able to manage the battlefield even under the most crushing enemy fire. Not yet the T-14 “Armata”, but its close likeness.

It’s all the more offensive that one of our military allowed this – without exaggeration! – the miracle of domestic military equipment, safe and sound, to fall into someone else’s, but terribly “inquisitive” hands. Of course, the right person should be punished for this. And in the harshest way. At least for the fact that, running away from his own tank for some unknown reason, he did not even try to destroy this “Breakthrough” entrusted to him.

However, in fairness, it is worth recognizing that in the course of large-scale hostilities, technological losses similar to our current ones are almost inevitable. For others, they also happen quite regularly.

Like, for example, the same Americans in Syria in 2018. Then, on the night of April 14, this country was attacked by a flock of Tomahawks fired from US Navy ships in the Mediterranean and Red Seas. For technical reasons, two cruise missiles did not reach the targets and crashed to the ground intact. Then found by the Syrians. Then they are carefully collected, carefully packed and sent to their allied Moscow.

Our General Staff immediately declared that it was very grateful to all the participants in this story for such a valuable “gift”. Next is Advisor to the First Deputy General Director of the Concern “Radioelectronic Technologies” Vladimir Mikheev admitted that new electronic warfare systems will be created taking into account the data obtained during the study of trophies received from Syria.

A well-known military expert, reserve colonel Mikhail Khodarenok said about the same thing. But much more gracefully: “A textbook on materials science, a textbook on technology, fell on us from the sky. The achievements of American engineers will certainly be taken into account in the further creation and modernization of Russian weapons of a similar purpose. For example, cruise missiles “Caliber”.

So – it happens. What is the conclusion? Our designers need to move forward as soon as possible. And to prepare for “Armata” something better and more threatening than “Afghanit” and “Kalina” that fell into the clutches of the United States. And other “Relics”.

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