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The Indian Army, with its robust fleet of T-90 tanks, stands at a critical juncture where adopting innovative tactics and upgrades could significantly enhance its combat effectiveness. Recent developments in Russia’s own handling of the T-90 tanks present valuable lessons and opportunities for India. Russia has replaced the traditional cope cage on its T-90M tanks with two armor plates, a tactical shift that aims to improve protection and operational efficiency. This move provides a compelling case for the Indian Army to consider similar adaptations for its T-90 fleet.

The cope cage, initially introduced as an added layer of protection against anti-tank missiles and drones, has now been replaced by two armor plates on the Russian T-90M tanks. This modification stems from a continuous evaluation of battlefield performance and the evolving nature of threats. The armor plates offer improved protection, particularly against modern anti-tank munitions, while also addressing the weight and mobility concerns associated with the cope cage.

The primary advantage of adopting the dual armor plates is the enhanced protection they offer. In modern warfare, where anti-tank weapons are increasingly sophisticated, ensuring the survivability of tanks on the battlefield is paramount. The dual armor plates have demonstrated superior resilience against these threats compared to the cope cage.

The additional weight of the cope cage can impede the tank’s mobility, a critical factor in combat scenarios. By replacing the cope cage with armor plates, the overall weight of the tank is better managed, enhancing its maneuverability. This improvement is crucial for the Indian Army, which operates in diverse terrains ranging from the deserts of Rajasthan to the mountainous regions along the northern borders.

Maintenance and operational efficiency are also key considerations. The cope cage, while effective, adds complexity to the tank’s design, potentially increasing maintenance requirements. Armor plates, being simpler and more integrated into the tank’s structure, can reduce maintenance burdens and increase operational uptime.

Just as Russia has adapted its T-90s based on real-world combat feedback, India should systematically evaluate the performance of its tanks in various operational scenarios. This feedback loop can drive iterative improvements, ensuring that the T-90s remain at the cutting edge of armored warfare.