Russia is involved in discussions with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait over the delivery of its third-generation main battle tanks, the T-90, the CEO of Russian state corporation Rostec was quoted saying in an interview Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they show great interest in our tanks and we are discussing the possibility of acquisition by these countries,” Sergey Chemezov told Russia-24, a state-run news network, according to Sputnik International.
The T-90 is Russia’s main battle tank, an evolved hybrid of the T-72 and T-80. Weighing almost 48 tons, the T-90 is much lighter than its U.S. counterpart, the M1A1 Abrams, which weighs 68 tons. It was designed to incorporate the reliability of the T-72, with the more advanced turret of the T-80.
Propelled by a liquid cooled, four-cycle, 12-cylinder diesel engine, the T-90 boasts of a gyro-stabilized 125MM smooth bore cannon, also capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles. The battle tank also packs a .50 cal and a 7.62 cal machine gun, both of which are externally mounted, unlike the A1 Abrams.
Russia also sells the tanks to India, with the South Asian country planning to increase its arsenal of battle tanks with an additional 464 advanced T-90 tanks for deployment at its border with neighbor Pakistan, Indian media reported late last year.
After talks between Russia and Iran broke down over the delivery of the T-90, Iran kicked off the mass production of its Karrar tank, which is reportedly a copy of T-90’s most advanced modification, the T-90SM.
“Initially, Iran planned to buy Russian T-90SM tanks, and there were several meetings between Russian and Iranian delegations. But finally the Iranian defense minister said that Tehran would develop its own tanks. Its technical specifications are kept secret,” retired Maj. Gen. Vladimir Bogatyrev, chair of the Board of the Russian National Association of Retired Military Officers, told Radio Sputnik.