According to the Jane’s, the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) has received the first batch of T-90S main battle tanks (MBTs) from Russia. At least 32 new MBTs in baseline and command (T-90SK) version of the T-90S were delivered to Vietnam. The contract on tank deliveries was signed in 2016 and is planned to be completed in 2019. The Vietnam People’s Army operates a mix of Soviet-designed main battle tanks, most of which were acquired from different countries producing variants under licensed agreement such as Poland (T-62s, T-55 and T-54) and China (T-59s). The T-90S tanks are likely to be used as replacements for the aging T-55s, few of which remain operational.
In July 2017, the Russian News Agency TASS has announced that Russian Company Uralvagonzavod will supply 64 T-90S/SK main battle tanks to Vietnam with an estimated price tag of $250 million. The order comes amidst growing focus placed on the country’s air force and navy as Vietnam’s security planners pay ever-increasing attention to China’s actions in nearby waters. The decision to purchase a whole new batch of T-90 main battle tanks, considered one of the most modern third-generation tanks currently being commissioned, is definitely based on careful consideration of the PAVN’s means and ends, and its doctrine more generally.
The T-90S is one of the latest development in the T-90-series of Russian tanks and represents an increase in firepower, mobility and protection. It is in service with the Russian, Iraqi and the Indian Army. The T-90S tank is protected by both conventional armour-plating and explosive reactive armour (ERA). The T-90S is fitted with the Shtora-1 defensive aids suite which is produced by Electronintorg of Russia. This system includes infrared jammer, laser warning system with four laser warning receivers, grenade discharging system which produces an aerosol screen and a computerized control system.
Main armament of the T-90S includes one 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, stabilized in two axes and fitted with a thermal sleeve. The gun tube can be replaced without dismantling inside the turret. The T-90S is intended to engage tanks fitted with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour) as well as low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5km. The missile system fires either the 9M119 or 9M119M missiles which have semi-automatic laser beam riding guidance and a hollow charge warhead.