Referred by many sources as the “modernized T-90S”, I prefer to use the title “T-90MS” for this tank to avoid confusion with the export version of the T-90A. This modernized T-90 retains the chassis, but has a brand new turret, as well as other new features that give it improved protection, firepower, and mobility. The brand new turret, a major distinction, uses the brand new Relikt reactive armor, which is designed to replace the Kontakt-5 reactive armor used on older T-90 tanks, will help the tank withstand attacks from all current and future anti-tank weapons.
Another major (and much needed) improvement was the addition of a separate bustle in the back of the turret for the ammo with blow-back panels. During the Chechen campaign, Russian T-72 and T-80 tanks were found to be vulnerable to attacks by RPG’s that managed to penetrate the turret and detonate the ammo, instantly killing the crew. The T-90MS has the new В-92С2 diesel engine which is rated at 1130 HP. To improve the tank’s offensive capabilities, the T-90MS is equipped with the Kalina fire control system, which is rumored to be equal to the best foreign systems of this type. The T-90MS has an automated single control system, a system for the automatic tracking of targets, satellite navigation via GLONASS/GPS, and the option of a new (currently unknown) high-powered 125mm main-gun.
Despite all the additions, the T-90MS has gained no more than 2 tons in weight, still maintaining a weight of under 50 tons. It is not clear at this time whether the Russian military will purchase the T-90MS or if T-90A tanks will be upgraded with elements from the T-90MS. I personally believe this tank would be a step in the right direction for the Russian military, as the Armata project (the planned replacement for the T-90) might not be available anytime soon, if at all.