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T-80 Tank

The T-80, manufactured by Transmash of Omsk, appeared as production model in 1984, retaining the basic features of the T-64 series (including the 125mm smoothbore gun with autoloader). Major innovations included the first Soviet use of a gas turnine engine, providing increased speed and power, and the first use of a laser rangefinder providing major improvements in fire control. The T-80 is very similar in appearance to the T-72. It incorporates features common to both the T-64 and T-72, especially in weaponry. Easily distinguishable features of this tank as compared with the standard T-72 are the attachment of side skirts and twelve turret-mounted grenade launchers with seven on the left side and five on the right side.

The T-80 was the first Soviet operational tank to be powered by a gas-turbines, with a GTD-1000 gas-turbine engine developing 1100 hp. The road wheel spacing is not identical, with distinct gaps between the three pairs of road wheels. To extend the operational range of the T-80, additional fuel tanks can be mounted at the hull rear, which can be quickly jettisoned if required. A large circular container mounted on the turret rear carries two snorkels for deep fording operations. The larger one provides an air intake for the gas-turbine, with the other being fitted onto the radiator grill.

The T-80 was also the first production Soviet tank to incorporate a laser range finder and ballistic computer system. The original night sight is the II Buran-PA (800-1300 meters range). The 12.7-mm MG NSVT has both remote electronically operated sight PZU-5 and gun-mounted K10-T reflex sight. The night sight cannot be used to launch the ATGM. The daysight can be used at night for launching ATGMs if the target is illuminated. A variety of thermal sights is available, including the Russian Agava-2, French SAGEM-produced ALIS and Namut sight from Peleng. Thermal sights are available for installation which permit night launch of ATGMs. There are thermal sights available for installation which permit night launch of ATGMs.

The T-80 uses the same 125-mm gun and horizontal ammunition system as the T-72, though the fire control system is an improvement over that fitted to earlier Soviet tanks. The BK-29 round, with a hard penetrator in the nose is designed for use against reactive armor, and as an MP round has fragmentation effects. The more recent BK-27 HEAT round offers a triple-shaped charge warhead and 50 mm more penetration. The electronic round fuzing system for Ainet rounds is available for other tanks. This round uses technology similar to that for French Oerlikon's AHEAD rouns. The round is specially designed to defeat targets by firing fragmentation patterns forward and radially, based on computer calculated settings from the laser range-finder and other inputs. Targets are helicopters and dug in or defilade priority ground threats, such as ATGM positions. Rate of fire is 4 rd/min. If the BK-29 HEAT-MP is used, it may substitute for Frag-HE (as with NATO countries) or complement Frag-HE. With three round natures (APFSDS-T, HEAT-MP, ATGMs) in the autoloader vs four, more antitank rounds would available for the higher rate of fire. The ATGM may be launched while moving slowly (NFI). The AT-8 can be auto-loaded with the two halves mated during ramming; but the stub charge is manually loaded.

When fitted with explosive reactive armor [ERA] the T-80 is virtually immune over its frontal arc to penetration from all current NATO ATGMs which rely on a HEAT warhead to penetrate armor. On the turret of the T-80, the panels are joined to form a shallow chevron pointing. Explosive reactive armor is also fitted to the forward part of the turret roof to provide protection against top attack weapons. The explosive reactive armor does not provide any added protection against APDS or APFSDS attack.

The challenge facing the Omsk factory is how to get its output onto the international market. Three weapons exhibitions held in Omsk produced minor results. But after participation in international displays in Adu Dabi in the Arab Emirates, Geneva, Cairo, Le Bourget in France and Farnborough in England the T-80U tank captured contracts from number of countries.

It is believed that China had ordered 200 T-80Us in late 1993.

As of late 1997 the well-publicized sale of 320 Ukrainian T-80UD MBTs to Pakistan appeared to be dead in the water. A total of only 35 T-80UDs had been delivered to Pakistan in two separate batches in March and May 1997. These 35 tanks were reportedly drawn from Ukrainian Army stocks and had capabilities below the level agreed to by the two countries. According to Moscow's Kommersant Daily, this apparently caused the Pakistani government to cancel the sale. The Russian government has been publicly against this sale from the very beginning, and has repeatedly refused to supply Ukraine with critical components needed to build the T-80UDs. While the more modern Ukrainian T-84 MBT is 80% Ukrainian-made, the T-80UD is a largely Russian product. Pakistan had been assured by Ukraine that the contract for the T-80UDs would be honored in spite of pressure and lack of support from Russia. Without Russian support, its likely that the only T-80UDs to be seen in Pakistan will be those few already paraded through Islamabad.


The T-80B and -BV variants are often misidentified as T-80. They are visibly different and bear other distinctions, such as T-80B/-BV capability for launching AT-8/ Songster ATGM.


Designations T-80U SMT (Soviet Medium Tank) M1989
Date of Introduction 1987
Current Using Countries China Cyprus Pakistan Russia South Korea Ukraine
Crew 3
Combat Weight (mt) 46.0
Chassis Length Overall (m) 7.01
Height Overall (m) 2.20
Width Overall (m) 3.60
Ground Pressure (kg/cm 2 ) 0.92
Automotive Performance
Engine Type 1250-hp Gas turbine (multi-fuel), diesel on T-80UD
Cruising Range (km) 335 km/600 km with extra tanks
Speed (km/h)
Max Road 70
Max Off-Road 48
Average Cross-Country 40
Max Swim N/A
Fording Depths (m) 1.8 Unprepared, 5.0 w/snorkel, 12.0 with BROD-M system
Radio R-173, R-174 intercom
Armor, Turret Front (mm) Against 120-mm ammunition
Applique Armor (mm) Side of hull , over track skirt
Explosive Reactive Armor (mm) Kontakt-5 2nd Generation ERA
Active Protective System ARENA is available
Mineclearing Equipment Roller-plow set and plows available
Self-Entrenching Blade Yes
NBC Protection System Yes
Smoke Equipment Smoke grenade launchers (4x 81-mm each side of turret), and 24 grenades. Vehicle engine exhaust smoke system.
Main Armaments
Caliber, Type, Name 125-mm smoothbore gun 2A46M-1
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 7-8 (lower in manual mode)
Loader Type KORZINA separate-loading autoloader, and manual
Ready/Stowed Rounds 28 in carousel/17 stowed (manual loaded)
Elevation () -4 to +18
Fire on Move Yes (gun rounds and ATGMs)
Auxiliary Weapon
Caliber, Type, Name 7.62-mm (7.62x 54R) Machinegun PKT
Mount Type Turret coaxial
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 2,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 800
Night 800
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 250 practical / 650 cyclic, 2-10 round bursts
Caliber, Type, Name 12.7-mm (12.7x108) AA MG NSVT
Mount Type Turret top
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 2,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 1,500
Night 800-1,300
Fire on Move Yes
Rate of Fire (rd/min) 210 practical/ 800 air targets in bursts
ATGM Launcher
Name 2A46M-1 tank gun
Launch Method Gun-launched
Guidance SACLOS, Laser-beam rider
Command Link Encoded infrared laser-beam
Launcher Dismountable No
FCS Name FCS 1A42
Main Gun Stabilization 2342, 2-plane
Rangefinder Laser
Infrared Searchlight Yes
Sights w/Magnification
Day 1G46/PERFECT, 3.6/12x
Field of View () INA
Acquisition Range (m) 5,000 (70%P-hit for ATGM)
Night AGAVA-2
Field of View () INA
Acquisition Range (m) 2,600 (gun rounds only)
Commander Fire Main Gun Yes
Caliber, Type, Name
125-mm APFSDS-T, BM-42M
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 3,000-4,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 2,000-3,000
Night 800-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) 590-630 at 2,000 meters
125-mm HE-Shapnel Focused-fragmentation, Ainet
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 5,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Day 4,000
Night 800-1,300
Tactical AA Range 4,000-5,000
Armor Penetration (mm) INA
125-mm Frag-HE-T, OF-26
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 5,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Night 800-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) INA
125-mm HEAT-MP, BK-29M
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 4,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Night 800-1300
Armor Penetration (mm) 650-750
125-mm HEAT, BK-27
Maximum Aimed Range (m) 4,000
Max Effective Range (m)
Night 800-1,300
Armor Penetration (mm) 700-800
Other Ammunition Types Giat 125G1 APFSDS-T, Russian BM-42 and BM-32 APFSDS-T. The Russians may have a version of the BM-42M with a DU penetrator.
Antitank Guided Missiles
Name AT-11/SVIR
Warhead Type Shaped charge (HEAT)
Armor Penetration (mm) 700 (RHA) behind ERA/800 conventional
Range (m) 5,000
Warhead Type Tandem shaped charge
Armor Penetration (mm) 800 (RHA) behind ERA /870 conventional
Range (m) 5,000

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, January 16, 2000 7:50:52 AM