The T-90 medium tank started out as a heavily modified variant of the T-72B. The primary goal of the entire program was to improve the T-72B to T-80U/UD level. It was developed in 1988 in Nizhny Tagil by the Uralvagonzavod design bureau, led by Vladimir Ivanovich Potkin, under the designation of Object 188 along with another experimental tank called Object 187. In early 1989 the vehicle successfully passed state trials, proving to be very reliable, and on 27.3.1991 the Soviet Ministry of Defense recommended that it become the next main battle tank of the Soviet army. This decision proved fruitless, however, as the results of Operation Desert Storm once again raised the question as to whether the T-72 should actually be modernized. Another delay was caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union on 26.12.1991.
The original T-90 was mass-produced between 1992 and 1998. The entire production run history is somewhat unclear as at one point production apparently ceased due to Russian military budget cuts. Nevertheless, by 2012 the Russian military listed around 1335 T-90 tanks of all variants, of which 500 T-90 and T-90A tanks went to the Russian army and the rest were exported.
- New improved welded turret (the original one was cast)
- New more powerful engine (1000hp V-92S2)
- Improved gun stabilizer and modern thermal viewer (earlier Buran-M, later ESSA)
- Newer gun model (2A46M-5)
Apart from these two main variants, there were also several export variants. The T-90 (in its T-90S version without the Shtora APS) was widely exported to India.
The T-90 is also a successful export item with multiple countries using the export variants (notably the T-90S). The largest user by far is India, which opted to buy (and partially license-produce) the T-90S over its own protracted Arjun MBT program. Other customers include Azerbaijan, Algeria (operating the improved T-90SA variant), Turkmenistan and, allegedly, Uganda. India also, allegedly, approved the purchase of more than 300 T-90MS Tagil tanks in late 2012.
In Armored Warfare
In Armored Warfare the T-90 Vladimir is a tier 8 main battle tank. Equipped with a powerful 125mm gun, this tank deals a lot of damage with each shot, although it is currently going through a rebalance process to slightly reduce the gun damage while compensating this with an increased rate of fire to provide more balanced damage output. While not as well armored compared to other tier 8 main battle tanks, the T-90 is nevertheless protected by a solid set of explosive reactive armor that is complemented by the Shtora APS. The APS is not currently available in the game and the developers will introduce it after the APS system overhaul. The T-90 has also a low silhouette and while its smaller size makes it harder to hit, the gun blast of the powerful smoothbore is quite noticeable, making the vehicle easy to spot when in combat.