More Russian T-90 Tanks & MRLS Bring Extra Punch to Aleppo Offensive

Top-of-the-line Russian T-90 tanks were this week being lifted by air and sea from bases in Russia to the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartus, DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources report exclusively.
Giant Antonov An-124 Condor cargo planes have been landing the tanks at the Khmeimim air base, while Russian civilian freighters are putting into Tartus with more T-90 tanks and 107mm MLRS combat vehicles.
Their arrival marks a further major expansion of Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian conflict.
The T-90 tank weighs 46.5 tons and has a range of 375 kilometers, with an average speed of 45 km per hour under battle conditions or 65 km per hour on roads (as DEBKA Weekly reported last year)
It has three layers of defensive plating: composite armor plates on the turret; Kontact-5 third-generation explosive reactive armor on its front, sides, and turret that reduces penetration by kinetic energy bombs; and the “Shtora,” or curtain, an electro-optical active protection system for jamming the systems of hostile antitank missiles.
The T-90 also has 12 smoke mortars, a 125 mm cannon and AT-11 Sniper guided antitank missiles. The tank has proven itself in recent battle in Russia’s Georgian and Chechnya arenas against forces not unlike the Syrian rebel militias.
Our sources add that this week the T-90s made their first appearance on the northern Syrian front, where the Russians are pressing hard for a quick defeat of rebel forces.
The newly-arrived 107mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) combat vehicle is also highly suitable for fighting conditions in the North, by virtue of its high mobility, endurance and ability to hit targets between 8 and 11 kilometers away.
Introduced in 2014, this combat vehicle has two launchers on its rear section that can each fire 12 107mm rockets when fully loaded, with two rockets per second when using automatic or remote systems. It also has GPS and autonomous navigation systems.
Moscow consigned its first T-90 tanks to Syria in December 2015,and, DEBKA Weekly’s military sources report, decided to hand them over to Syria’s elite 4th Armored Division, which has played a key role in the Aleppo operation in the last two weeks. Its commander, Bashar Assad’s younger brother, Gen. Maher Assad, spends most of his time in Damascus and has left the fighting to his junior Maj. Gen. Mohamed Ali Durgham.
Moscow decided to rush more tanks to Syria after discovering that the small number ofT-90s already in the field came out safely from the antitank weapons in the hands of rebel militias.

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