The T-80 main battle tank has been in production since the late 1970s. KBTM of Omsk, Russian Federation, manufactures the T-80U for general use in infantry and tank units and the T-80UK command tank and XKBM, Kharkov, Ukraine, manufactures the T-80UD and the T-84, the Ukrainian variant of the T-80UD. 320 T-80UD tanks were ordered from Ukraine by Pakistan for $650m.
Deliveries began in 1997 and shipping was 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 M-80 tanks include Cyprus (27), Belarus (90), Egypt (14), China (50), Azerbaijan (25), Yemen (31) and Ukraine (271). About 1,400 tanks are in active service in Russia and about 3,100 are in storage.
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 ERA (explosive reactive armour) 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 thermal sleeve, which can fire between 6 and 8 rounds/minute. Loading is hydro-mechanical with a 28 round carousel container. 45 rounds are carried.
The gun fires separate loading projectiles which have semi-combustible cartridge case and sabot. Ammunition can be AP (armour piercing), APDS (armour piercing giscarding sabot), HEAT (high-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, 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.
The tank fire control system is the 1A42 which includes 1V517 ballistic computer, two-axis electrohydraulic weapon stabiliser, rangefinder sight stabilised in two axes as well as a GPK-59 hydro-semicompass 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 also 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 hydraulic servo-system for increased mobility. The track and suspension system is fitted with RMSh track and rubber-tyred road wheels, torsion bar suspension with hydraulic telescopic double-acting shock absorbers. Maximum speed of the vehicle on road is 70km/h and across county is 48km/h.
The T-80UK tank provides command and control capability for field commanders and enable 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 infrared jammer, laser warning system, grenade discharging system and a computerised control system. Operational range is 200m.
The tank has a combined symmetric dipole antenna for both UHF and HF communications. This increases 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. T-80UK also has a more advanced fire control system, automatic loader for the gun, built-in turret ERA and TNA-4-3 navigational aid.
The presumed version of the T-80U was 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 relocation of the ammunition to the turret bustle for improved survivability.
Other improvements included a computerised fire control system, thermal imaging sights for commander and gunner, and the Arena active countermeasures system.
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