The Indian Army made a decision for an additional purchase of 400 Russian T-90S main battle tanks, which India is already manufacturing under a license under the local name of T-90S Bhishma main battle tanks until 2028. Russia is prepared to prolonging the license and building up the production of T-90 tanks in India in connection with the Indian government’s decision to purchase more tanks for its armed forces, the federal service for military-technical cooperation told TASS.
The T-90S manufactured in India is called T-90 Bhishma, this version was built based on requests of the Indian Army, equipped with the French Thales-built Catherine-FC thermal sights, and is fitted with Russian Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor (ERA). The main armament of the T-90S MBT 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 gun’s automatic loader will feed both ordnance and missiles offering a high rate of fire (up to 7 to 8 rounds per minute). The T-90S is also able to fire the 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system with a range from 100 m to 4,400 m.
Over 1,025 T-90S main battle tanks are operational in the Indian Army at present. The T-90 was selected because it is a direct development of the T-72 that India already manufactures with 60% parts commonality with T-90, simplifying training and maintenance. The first contract for selling T-90 tanks to India was signed in 2001. The Uralvagonzavod corporation was to provide 124 finished vehicles and another 186 assembly kits for the Indian Defense Ministry. In 2004, Russia and India concluded a contract for the licensed production of one thousand T-90 tanks. In 2017, India agreed to prolong the tank production license.