Algeria is receiving additional T-90 tanks from Russia, with deliveries commencing in November. The Algerian People’s National Army has already received over 300 T-90s and signed an agreement to assemble another 200 under license.
Last month photographs emerged of a T-90 being offloaded from the Liberian-registered roll-on/off cargo vessel Ocean Pride at the Algerian port of Oran. The vessel set out from Ust-Luga on Russia’s Baltic Sea coast on 12 November and arrived at Oran in Algeria on 25 November, according to IHS Maritime data. It then returned directly to Ust-Luga and left again on 11 December with Algeria listed as its destination.
It is not clear if the deliveries are part of a new contract or an existing one, or a modification to the assembly agreement. Assembling the tanks locally works out to be more expensive than buying them complete from Russia.
In 2014 Algeria signed a contract for the license assembly of around 200 T-90 main battle tanks with Russian arms exporting firm Rosoboronexport. According to Moscow Defence Brief, the deal is worth around $1 billion. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti said that this follows on a contract for the delivery of 185 T-90S tanks, delivered between 2006 and 2008 in a deal worth $1 billion. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), another 120 T-90S tanks were delivered between 2012 and 2013 under a 2011 deal worth $470 million.
The T-90 is a modernised version of the T-72, but although developed from the T-72, it uses a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore tank gun, a new engine, and thermal sights. Standard protective measures include a blend of steel, composite armour, and Kontakt-5 explosive-reactive armour, laser warning receivers, Nakidka camouflage and the Shtora infrared anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) jamming system.
Algeria is acquiring a significant amount of military hardware as it continues with the massive overhaul of its military. According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, some of Algeria’s imports in 2013 included ten armoured combat vehicles and 101 Russian main battle tanks (obviously T-90S tanks), 24 Fuchs vehicle kits from Germany, 60 73 mm HATGL recoilless rifles and 214 light machineguns from Bulgaria and eight air-to-surface missiles from South Africa.
Algeria is buying around 1 200 Fuchs APCs from Germany, which will assemble them in the North African nation, and is also jointly producing the NIMR vehicle in conjunction with the United Arab Emirates.