The final tank designed before the fall of the Soviet Union, and possibly one of the most contentious, was the T-80 (a main battle tank) which came into service in 1976. While the use of turbine power was one unique feature of the T-80, it also proved to be a source of considerable trouble throughout its career. The power problems aside, the T-80 housed state-of-the-art armament including a fire regulator and multi-layer armor. Unlike its predecessor the T-70.4, the T-80’s track was wider and the suspension was stronger.The T-80 did not get much field experience during the Chechen War, but was used in the 1990s in some of the regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union. Russian Engineer Nikolay Popov was the chief designer of the T-80.
The story of the T80 does not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Active work on this tank and its design continued at one of the plants that was based in the Ukraine. Eventually, a diesel model (the T-84) was developed and successfully exported.
Basic Characteristics for the T-80B and the T-80U
- Designer of the T-80: Nikolay Popov
- Manufactured in Russia and the Ukraine
- Note: As of 2005, over 5,400 T-80s have been built
- Crew: 3
Main Armament for the T-80B:
- 36 rounds for a 125mm 2A46-1smoothboregun
- 4 missiles – 9M112 Kobra ATGM
- Main Armament for the T-80U
- 45 rounds for a 2A46M-1
- 6 missiles -9M119 Refleks ATG
- Secondary Armament included 7.62 mm PKT coax MG, 12.7 mm NSVT (or) PKT antiaircraft MG
- Ground clearance: T-80B - 1.2 ft (or) T-80U - 1.46 ft.
- Fuel capacity
- 240 imperial gallons – internal tanks
- 160 imperial gallons – external tank
- Operational Range
- 208 miles on the road not using external tanks
- 270 miles on the road using external tank
- 43 mph on the road
- 30 mph cross country
The T-80 is still in service today throughout several European countries.