TechRussian T-90M tanks in Ukraine may be armed with devastating Telnik missiles, sources allege

Russian T‑90M tanks in Ukraine may be armed with devastating Telnik missiles, sources allege

Launch of the Telnik missile
Launch of the Telnik missile
Images source: © Bulgarian Military
8:59 AM EST, February 5, 2024

Moscow has not yet officially confirmed the integration of these missiles into T-90M Proryv tanks. However, according to sources that the Bulgarian Military references, all Russian vehicles gathered in Ukraine are supposed to house Telnik rounds.

It's important to note, though, that in October 2023, evidence surfaced suggesting the use of 3VOF128 tank rounds by the aggressor's army. At this point, the Kremlin did not disclose that applying this principle is part of all T-90M's armoury.

Over time, with increasing challenges in penetrating Ukraine's defense and substantial losses of heavy vehicles, the Russians may have reevaluated their stance. The decision to arm the latest tanks with these innovative missiles, which reportedly aim to cause not only physical but also psychological harm, could be a strategic move. This psychological damage is derived from the traits of the ammunition above. Telnik missiles are designed to detonate at a specific location post-launch and release submunitions, showering the adversary with fragments.

These missiles target expansive regions, annihilating everything in their path while also inducing psychological trauma. The instant airborne detonation of the missile paired with the scattering of numerous fragments can induce terror and disorientation.

"The unnerving aspect is that the psychological toll may persist" - our source reports. The Bulgarian Military contends that the impact of the explosion can have long-lasting effects and contribute to mental health issues among soldiers. This can potentially limit their participation in frontline combat and subsequently impede the maintenance of allied positions.

The Telnik above missiles correspond to the dimensions of a standard 125 mm 3OF26 fragmentation and destruction projectile. However, this round poses a formidable threat due to a system that allows remote detonation of 3VOF128 mid-flight. It's challenging to evade because Telnik covers the affected area with nearly 13.2 pounds of auxiliary ammunition (cone-shaped fragments). It's estimated to be eight times more efficient in incapacitating enemy forces than the aforementioned 3OF26.

It's noteworthy that the employment of the 3VOF128 artillery shell is only feasible in certain tanks. In 2023, only the T-90M Proryv was suited to this ammunition, and this can be attributed to the fact that the fuze of the warhead necessitates data transmission from the tank's fire control system. Last year, only the most advanced Russian T-90Ms were fitted with this equipment.

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