NIZHNY TAGIL (Urals), July 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's armed forces will start receiving new-generation tanks superior to the famed T-90 main battle tank (MBT) "after 2010," a government official said on Thursday.
At present, there are over 25,000 MBTs in service with the Russian Ground Forces. However, relatively modern T-80 and T-90 models account for only 30 percent of the current fleet of tanks and even these tanks require constant upgrades to incorporate modern weaponry, protection and electronics systems.
"The T-90 MBT will be the backbone of the armored units until 2025. T-72's and T-80's will not be modernized and will be eventually replaced by new-generation tanks, which will start entering service after 2010," Sergei Mayev, head of the Federal Service for Defense Contracts (Rosoboronzakaz) told a news conference.
The new-generation MBT, which still does not have a designation, will feature better firepower, maneuverability, electronics and armor protection than the T-90 MBT.
Its speed will increase from 30-50 kph to 50-65 kph (19-31 mph to 31-40 mph).
According to some sources, the new tank may be equipped with a 152-mm smoothbore gun capable of firing guided missiles with a range of 6,000-7,000 meters.
In comparison, the T-90 MBT has a 125-mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, which can fire AT-11 Sniper anti-tank guided missiles with a range of 4,000 meters.
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This war would most probably not be precipitated not by direct actions of the Russian or Ukrainian governments. The more likely cause is the clash of rival armed volunteer groups on the streets of eastern Ukraine, which would lead to the progressive involvement of armed forces on either side.