The Oplot-M main battle tank (MBT) was designed and developed by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
It is manufactured by Malyshev Plant, a military equipment manufacturer operating as a subsidiary of state-owned entity Ukroboronprom.
The MBT is a combat tracked vehicle that can destroy ground-based and low-flying, low-speed aerial targets, while offering superior protection and high mobility for troops.
Orders and deliveries
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence inducted the Oplot-M MBTs into service in 2009.
In September 2011, the Royal Thai Army placed an order with Ukrainian arms trading company Ukrspetzexport for 49 BM Oplot-T MBTs. The Oplot-T is an export version of the Oplot MBT.
Thailand received the first five tanks in November 2013. The delivery of the final batch of Oplot-T tanks was completed in 2018.
A BM Oplot tank was delivered by Ukrspetsexport to the US in October 2021, under a contract.
The BM Oplot MBT was offered as a potential solution to replace the old T-55 MBT of the Peruvian Army during the SITDEF international exhibition of technology in defence and prevention of disasters in Peru in 2019.
Oplot-M main battle tank design
The Oplot-M (Modernised) or BM Oplot is an upgraded version of the T-84 Oplot MBT. The tank has a conventional layout with the driver’s compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear, accommodating a crew of three members.
The driver sitting in the centre is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right. The commander on the right and the gunner on the left have single-piece hatches.
The Oplot-M tank has a length of 9.7m (including the forward-facing gun), a width of 3.4m without removable side skirts, and a height of 2.8m. The combat weight of the tank is 51t.
The tank is designed to operate at temperatures ranging between -40°C and +55°C.
Observation and fire control of the MBT
The vehicle has three forward-facing periscopes in front of the driver’s cupola. The centre periscope can be replaced with a night driving device.
The fire control system includes a gunner’s day sight, commander’s PNK-6 panoramic sighting system, PTT-2 thermal imaging sight, anti-aircraft sight and anti-aircraft machine gun control system.
The panoramic sighting system enables aiming and firing from a remote-controlled machine gun to destroy aerial targets. The tank is also equipped with LIO-V ballistic computer, armament stabiliser and other systems.
The advanced fire-control system enables the gunner or commander to lay and fire the main armament on the move. The stationary and moving targets can be hit with a high first round hit probability.
Armament of the Ukrainian tank
Oplot is armed with a KBA-3 125mm smoothbore gun, a KT-7.62 (PKT) coaxial machine gun and a KT-12.7 anti-aircraft machine gun. The main gun is fed by a loading system equipped with conveyor, automatic loader and control system.
The ammunition includes high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding-sabot (APFSDS), high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and gun mount (GM) rounds.
The main gun can also fire a laser guided missile against battle tanks, armoured vehicles and hovering helicopters within the range of 5,000m. The missile can be fired on the move against travelling targets.
The tandem warhead fitted on the missile can defeat targets equipped with explosive reactive armour and advanced spaced armour.
Oplot has 46 rounds of ammunition for the main gun, of which 28 rounds are placed in the automatic loader. Other ammunition types carried are 1,250 rounds for KT-7.62 machine gun, 450 rounds for KT-12.7 machine gun and 450 rounds for AKS submachine gun.
Self-protection of the Oplot-M
The protection system integrates passive armour, explosive reactive armour and tank protection means. The Oplot tank can withstand an explosion of up to 10kg trinitrotoluene (TNT) under the tank track and up to 4kg TNT under the driver’s compartment.
The turret and hull are fitted with Zaslin multi-layer active protection armour and Duplet built-in anti-tandem-warhead explosive reactive armour (BATW-ERA) for optimum protection against APFSDS, high-explosive squash head (HESH), high-explosive plastic (HEP) and HEAT-type projectiles.
Both sides of the driver’s compartment are fitted with explosive reactive armour panels for extended protection. The hull sides are hinged with large rubber skirts to withstand the attacks of man-portable anti-tank weapons.
The modular explosive reactive armour package can be easily replaced or upgraded according to the future requirements.
Oplot features a Varta optronic countermeasures system for deceiving incoming missiles and anti-tank guided weapons. The system integrates laser warning sensors, infra-red jammer and smoke / aerosol screen laying system. The vehicle has overpressure-type NBC protection system and can be fitted with track mine-clearing systems.
Engine and mobility of KMDB’s tank
Oplot-M is powered by a 6ТD-2 multifuel, six-cylinder, liquid cooled diesel engine which delivers a maximum power of 882kW.
The engine provides a maximum on-road speed of 70km/h and a range of 500km with additional fuel tanks. The battle tank is also equipped with a diesel-electric auxiliary power unit to supply power to onboard systems when the main engine is turned off.
Oplot-M is equipped with torsion bar type suspension. Either side of the six dual rubber-tyred road wheels are provided with idler at forward, drive sprocket at the rear, and track support rollers.
An in-built motion control system enables automatic shifting of the transmission system and smooth turning capability.
The first, second and sixth road wheel stations are fitted with hydraulic shock absorbers. The tank can negotiate a gradient of 32° and side slope of 25°. Equally, the tank can ford a depth of 1.8m without preparation and a water depth of 5m using deep water fording equipment.