The T-80 main battle tank was introduced in the late 1970s. KBTM of Omsk, Russian Federation, was responsible for the production of its advanced versions, such as the T-80U for general use in infantry and tank units, and the T-80UK command tank.
The T-80UD and the T-84 versions are manufactured by XKBM in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 320 T-80UD tanks were ordered from Ukraine by Pakistan for $650m. Deliveries began in 1997 and were completed by early 2002. South Korea purchased 33 T-80U and two T-80UK tanks from Russia in August 2002, and deliveries were made during 1996-2005.
Other countries that operate the T-80 tanks include Cyprus (27), Belarus (95), Egypt (14), China (50), Azerbaijan (25), Yemen (31), Ukraine (271) and Kazakhstan. More than 1,400 tanks are in active service in Russia, and approximately 3,100 are in storage.
Omsktransmash, a subsidiary of Rostec Corporation, delivered T-80BVM tanks, an upgraded version of the T-80BV main battle tank, to the Russian Army in December 2019. The company also developed the T-80BVM, an advanced version of the T-80 family. The Ukrainian armed forces captured six T-80BVM tanks near Kharkiv, Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in March 2022.
T-80UM2, a prototype main battle tank fitted with the hard-kill Drozd-2 active protection system, was reportedly destroyed by the Ukrainian armed forces during the Russia-Ukraine conflict in March 2022.
T-80U main battle tank armament
The T-80U carries the 9M119 Refleks (Nato designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system, which is fired from the main gun. The range of the missile is 100m to 4,000m. The system is intended to engage tanks fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA), as well as low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5km. The missile system fires either the 9M119 or 9M119M missiles, which have semi-automatic laser beamriding guidance.
The tank is fitted with a 125mm 2A46M-1 automatic smoothbore gun with a thermal sleeve, which can fire between 6 and 8 rounds per minute. Loading is hydro-mechanical, with a 28 round carousel container. 45 rounds are carried.
The gun fires separate loading projectiles, which have a semi-combustible cartridge case and sabot. Ammunition can be armour piercing, armour piercing discarding sabot, HEAThigh-explosive anti-tank, and HE-FRAG high-explosive fragmentation.
Armament also includes a 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7mm Utes (NSVT-12.7) air defence machine gun.
The tank is protected by a combination of explosive reactive armour at the front, and gill type armour panels elsewhere. Other countermeasures include quieter running, a gas-turbine engine (which exhausts smokeless gases), improved heat insulation of roof and hatches, ventilation of the engine-transmission system, cooling system, smoke-laying system and smoke discharging system.
Fire control and observation
The tank fire control system is the 1A42, which includes a 1V517 ballistic computer, two-axis electrohydraulic weapon stabiliser, and a rangefinder sight stabilised on two axis, as well as a GPK-59 hydro-semi compass azimuth indicator, and an azimuth indicator for the turret rotation. This system permits firing on the move.
The gunner has the 1G46 day sight and an infrared sight.
The T-80U’s gas turbine engine is the GTD-1250, which produces 920kW (1,250hp). The GTD-1250 is a three-shaft engine with two cascades of turbo compression. There is also an independent GTA-18 auxiliary power unit for use when the tank is stationary.
The tank has a planetary power transmission with a hydraulic servo-system for increased mobility. The track and suspension system is fitted with RMSh track and rubber-tyred road wheels, and a torsion bar suspension with hydraulic telescopic double-acting shock absorbers. The maximum speed of the vehicle on road is 70km/h and across country is 48km/h.
T-80UK command tank
The T-80UK tank provides command and control capability for field commanders, and enables communications with superior command. It is similar to the T-80U, but has a number of additional features. It is fitted with the Shtora-1 countermeasures suite, also fitted on the T-90 tank. Shtora-1 is produced by Electronintorg of Russia. This system includes an infrared jammer, a laser warning system, a grenade discharging system, and a computerised control system. Its operational range is 200m.
The main battle tank has a combined symmetric dipole antenna for both UHF and HF communications. This increases in range when the tank is stationary, up to 40km for the R-163-50U radio, and 350 km for the R-163-50K radio. An AB-1-P28 1kW benzene generator is provided to power communications when the tank is stationary. The T-80UK also has a more advanced fire control system, an automatic loader for the gun, built-in turret ERA, and TNA-4-3 navigational aid.
The T-80UM2, also called Black Eagle or Chiorny Oriol, was designed to engage targets while stationary or on the move. However, the Black Eagle project was cancelled, and its development was stopped due to financial issues.
The demonstration of the prototype tank was held in Omsk, in September 1997. The tank had a new all-welded cast steel turret, with ERA on the hull front and turret, an automatic loading system, and the relocation of the ammunition to the turret bustle for improved survivability.
Other improvements included a computerised fire control system, thermal imaging sights for the commander and gunner, and the Arena active countermeasures system.
The advanced T-80BVM version features 125mm cannons and an improved 1,250hp gas turbine engine. Reinforced with slat armour and a modular active protection system, the upgraded tank is mounted with a multi-channel gunner sight, a vision device for the mechanic driver, and an armament stabiliser.