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Roman Hughes
Roman Hughes

T-80: A Modernized Version of the T-64


T-80: The Soviet Turbine Tank




The T-80 is a main battle tank (MBT) that was designed and manufactured in the former Soviet Union and manufactured in Russia. The T-80 is based on the T-64, while incorporating features from the later T-72. The chief designer of the T-80 was Soviet engineer Nikolay Popov.




t 80


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The T-80 was the first Soviet tank to mount a gas turbine engine, giving it a top road speed of 70 kilometers per hour and an efficient power-to-weight ratio of 25.8 horsepower per ton. This made the standard T-80B one of the most nimble tanks to come out of the 1980s.


The T-80 entered service in 1976 and was produced until 2001. It was widely exported to various countries, such as Belarus, Cyprus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Korea, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The T-80 also saw combat in several conflicts, such as the First Chechen War, the Yemeni Civil War and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.


In this article, we will explore the history, variants, performance and service of the T-80 tank.


History




The project to build the first Soviet turbine powered tank began in 1949. The first prototype was designed by A. Ch. Starostienko for the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ). However, the available turbine engines at that time were of poor quality and the project was abandoned.


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In 1955, two more prototypes were built at LKZ under the guidance of G. A. Ogloblin. They used a GTD-1 turbine engine producing 1,000 horsepower. In 1957, another team led by Josef Kotin constructed two more prototypes (Ob'yekt 278). They were hybrids between the heavy tanks IS-7 and T-10s, with a GTD-3 turbine engine producing 1,200 horsepower.


In 1963, LKZ started working on a new prototype (Ob'yekt 219) based on the T-64 tank. It used a GTD-1000T multi-fuel gas turbine engine producing up to 1,000 horsepower. During the trials, it became clear that the increased weight and dynamic characteristics required a complete redesign of the vehicle's suspension. The number of road wheels was increased from five to six and new torsion bars were installed.


The Ob'yekt 219 was modified several times until it reached its final form in 1976. It received a new turret with composite armor, a new fire control system, a new gun with an autoloader and a missile system that could fire 9M112 Kobra (AT-8 Songster) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from the barrel. The tank was accepted for service as the T-80.


Variants




The T-80 has many variants that differ in terms of armor, engine, armament and equipment. Some of them are:


T-80B: The first major upgrade of the T-80. It featured new composite armor on the hull and turret, a new fire control system with a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer, a new gun with an improved autoloader and a missile system that could fire 9M112M Kobra-M (AT-8B Songster) ATGMs with improved penetration. It also had a new GTD-1000TF gas turbine engine with increased power output and fuel efficiency. [^4^ - T-80BV: An improved version of the T-80B with explosive reactive armor (ERA) on the hull and turret, a new fire control system with a thermal imaging sight and a laser warning receiver, a new gun with an enhanced autoloader and a missile system that could fire 9M119 Svir (AT-11 Sniper) ATGMs with semi-automatic guidance. It also had a new GTD-1250 gas turbine engine with increased power output and fuel efficiency. - T-80U: The most advanced version of the T-80. It featured new composite armor on the hull and turret, a new fire control system with a thermal imaging sight and a laser warning receiver, a new gun with an enhanced autoloader and a missile system that could fire 9M119M Refleks (AT-11B Sniper-B) ATGMs with laser guidance. It also had a new GTD-1250T gas turbine engine with increased power output and fuel efficiency. It also had improved suspension, communication and navigation systems. - T-80UD: A diesel-powered version of the T-80U. It used a 6TD-1 six-cylinder multi-fuel diesel engine producing 1,000 horsepower. It had similar armor, armament and equipment as the T-80U, but lacked the ERA. - T-80UK: A command version of the T-80U. It had additional communication and navigation equipment, such as a radio relay station, a satellite navigation system and an inertial navigation system. It also had an auxiliary power unit (APU) to power the equipment without running the main engine. - T-80UM: A modernized version of the T-80U. It featured new composite armor on the hull and turret, a new fire control system with a thermal imaging sight and a laser warning receiver, a new gun with an enhanced autoloader and a missile system that could fire 9M119M1 Invar-M (AT-11C Sniper-C) ATGMs with tandem warheads. It also had a new GTD-1250TF gas turbine engine with increased power output and fuel efficiency. It also had improved suspension, communication and navigation systems.


Performance




The T-80 is one of the fastest tanks in the world, thanks to its gas turbine engine. The standard T-80B can reach a top road speed of 70 kilometers per hour and an off-road speed of 48 kilometers per hour. The T-80U can reach a top road speed of 72 kilometers per hour and an off-road speed of 50 kilometers per hour. The T-80UD can reach a top road speed of 68 kilometers per hour and an off-road speed of 45 kilometers per hour.


The T-80 has a powerful armament, consisting of a 125 mm smoothbore gun that can fire various types of ammunition, including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) and ATGMs. The gun has an autoloader that can load up to eight rounds per minute. The gun is stabilized in two axes and has a fire control system that can calculate the target range, speed and direction, as well as the wind speed and direction, temperature and air pressure. The gunner has a day/night sight with magnification and thermal imaging capabilities. The commander has an independent panoramic sight with magnification, thermal imaging and laser guidance capabilities. The tank also has a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and an anti-aircraft 12.7 mm machine gun on the commander's cupola.


The T-80 has a strong armor protection, consisting of composite armor on the hull and turret, as well as ERA on some variants. The composite armor consists of layers of steel, ceramic and plastic that can resist kinetic energy penetrators and shaped charge warheads. The ERA consists of explosive-filled metal plates that detonate when hit by a projectile, creating a shock wave that disrupts the penetration process. The tank also has smoke grenade launchers that can create a smoke screen to conceal its movement or blind enemy sensors. The tank also has an NBC protection system that can filter out nuclear, biological and chemical agents from the air intake.


The T-80 has a good mobility, thanks to its suspension system that consists of six road wheels on each side, connected by torsion bars and hydraulic shock absorbers. The tank also has three track support rollers on each side to prevent track sagging. The tank has an adjustable ground clearance that can vary from 400 to 600 millimeters depending on the terrain conditions. The tank also has a snorkel that can allow it to ford water obstacles up to five meters deep. The tank has a range of 335 kilometers on road and 250 kilometers off-road with internal fuel. It can also carry external fuel drums to extend its range by another 200 kilometers. Service




The T-80 was first deployed in 1976 with the Soviet Army. It was initially intended to be the main tank of the Soviet armored forces, but due to its high cost and complexity, it was mostly reserved for elite units, such as the Guards Tank Divisions and the Airborne Forces. The T-80 was also exported to various countries, such as Belarus, Cyprus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Korea, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.


The T-80 saw combat in several conflicts, such as the First Chechen War, the Yemeni Civil War and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the First Chechen War (1994-1996), the T-80 suffered heavy losses due to poor tactics, inadequate training and maintenance, and enemy ambushes with anti-tank weapons. In the Yemeni Civil War (2015-present), the T-80 was used by both sides of the conflict, with mixed results. In the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the T-80 was used by both the Russian and Ukrainian forces, with varying degrees of success.


Conclusion




The T-80 is


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