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T-80

Main battle tank

T-80 MBT

The T-80 was the first production main battle tank, fitted with a gas turbine engine

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1976
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 42 t
Length (gun forward) 9.47 m
Hull length 6.78 m
Width 3.53 m
Height 2.3 m
Armament
Main gun 125 mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm, 1 x 12.7 mm
Elevation range - 5 to + 14 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 2 000 x 7.62 mm, 300 x 12.7 mm
Mobility
Engine GTD-1000T gas turbine engine
Engine power 1 000 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 335 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2.85 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m

 

   The T-80 main battle tank is a further development of the T-64, which had a number of significant drawbacks. It was also a more capable alternative to the T-72. The most significant features of the T-80 over the T-72 are its gas turbine engine and ability to fire anti-tank guided missiles (T-80B and later variants) in the same manner as ordinary rounds. The T-80 was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1976 however original version was not built in large numbers. With the introduction of the T-80 the Soviet Union operated 3 different main battle tanks, the T-64, T-72 and T-80. All of these tanks had similar design and broadly similar capabilities, though the T-80 was the most capable. However mayor components of these 3 tanks were not interchangeable. It was a tough task for the Soviet Army to support all of these 3 different tank types altogether. Currently Russia operates a total of 4 500 T-80 main battle tanks of all variants. Due to expensive maintenance most of these tanks are in reserve. Some official sources reported that all T-80 series MBTs were to be removed from active service by 2015. However recently Russian MoD signed a contract for refurbishment and upgrade these tanks in order to keep them in operational service. Currently Russian Army operates T-90 MBTs and overhauled or upgraded versions of the T-72. The main reason is that these tanks with conventional diesel engines are less expensive to operate and to maintain than the T-80s. Other operators of the T-80 and its variants are Belarus (92), China (200), Cyprus (41), Kazakhstan, South Korea (80), Syria (320) and Ukraine (271).

   The T-80 has a composite armor at the front arc. The T-80 tanks were originally painted olive drab.

   The tank is armed with a fully-stabilized 125 mm smoothbore gun. It is fitted with an autoloader. As mentioned before, the T-80B and later variants can launch Kobra anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary munitions.

   Secondary armament consists of 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun.

   The T-80 has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   This tank is fitted with the GTD-1000T gas turbine engine, developing 1 000 horsepower. Basically it is a modified helicopter power plant. Advantages of such engine are its compact dimensions, high power output and ability to start when the temperature is as low as -40C. As a result the T-80 was much faster than the T-72 and T-64, and had superior cross-country performance. However its gas turbine engine has a number of drawbacks. Most notable is a high fuel consumption. It can consume up to 750 liters of fuel for 100 km driven. Other drawbacks are troublesome maintenance and high unit price. The T-80 is also fitted with auxiliary power unit, powering all systems, when the main engine is turned off. Suspension of the T-80 was improved comparing to that of the T-64.

 

Variants

 

   T-80B, first version of the original T-80 produced in large numbers. It entered service in 1978. This tank is capable of launching Kobra anti-tank guided missiles (Western reporting name AT-8 Songster) in the same manner as ordinary rounds. The missiles have radio guidance and a range of up to 4 km. These missiles extend effective range of the tank, as its gun is not particularly accurate at long ranges. Latter variants of the T-80 also had this capability to launch guided missiles.

   T-80BK, command version of the T-80B, with additional radios, navigation equipment and some other specialized equipment. In order to free up space for this specialized equipment this variant lost capability to fire anti-tank guided missiles. Also a number of rounds carried for the main gun was reduced. Production of the T-80BK commenced in 1984 and ceased in 1990. A total of 256 tanks of this type were built.

   T-80BV, T-80B fitted with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor for a higher level of protection. This add-on armor increases protection against HEAT rounds. In 2011 a total of 66 refurbished Belarusian T-80BV tanks were sold to Yemen. Later these tanks saw combat.

   T-80BVK, command version of the T-80BV, with additional communication equipment.

   T-80U, improved and better protected variant. It was fitted with new Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor. It is estimated that armor protection of the T-80U is equal to 900 mm against HEAT rounds and 1 100 mm against projectiles. The T-80U MBT was originally produced with the GTD-1000TF gas turbine engine, developing 1 100 hp. Tanks produced in the early 1990s were fitted with a more powerful GTD-1250 gas turbine engine, developing 1 250 hp. This tank was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1985. This version was produced until 1992.

   T-80UK, command version of the T-80U.

   T-80UD, has gas turbine engine replaced by a conventional diesel engine, developing 1 000 hp. Otherwise it is similar to the T-80U. This tank was introduced in 1985 and adopted by the Soviet Army in 1987. It was planned to become the main MBT of the Soviet Army. However its production ceased in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. These tanks are currently in service with Russia and Ukraine. A number of Ukrainian T-80UDs were exported to Pakistan in the late 1990s.

   T-90 uses complete turret with all weapon systems of the T-80U, mounted on a well proven chassis of the T-72 tank with a diesel engine, which is more fuel efficient. The T-90 was developed after collapse of the Soviet Union and officially adopted by the Russian Army in 1993. Its low-rate production commenced in 1994. Currently the T-90 is the most modern main battle tank, used by the Russian Army. Also it is among the best 10 main battle tanks in the world.

   T-80U-M1 Bars, has a Shtora-1 countermeasures system, which significantly reduces the chance of being hit by enemy anti-tank guided weapons with semi-automatic guidance, and more powerful engine. It was intended for export customers, but received no production orders.

   T-80U-M2, another improved version of the T-80U. As with the T-80U-M1 it was also aimed mainly at export customers. However it had a new cast  turret and used a Drozd-2 active protection system instead of the Arena. Only a single tank was built and it never reached production.

   T-80UE-1 is an upgraded version of the T-80U, fitted with a thermal sight. This version was officially adopted by the Russian Army in 2005.

   T-80BVM is a recent upgraded version of the T-80BV, fitted with Relikt explosive reactive armor and some other improvements. This upgraded version was first publicly revealed in 2017.

 

 

 
T-80 MBT

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T-80 MBT

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T-80 MBT

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T-80BV MBT

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T-80BV MBT

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T-80BV MBT

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T-80BV MBT

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T-80U MBT

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T-80U MBT

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