Manufacturer: JSC Omsk Transport Engineering Plant - Omsktransmash  
Product type: Armoured Vehicles  
Name: Main battle tank  

The T-80 MBT was developed at the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) under the direction of Nikolai S Popov, with the prototype being designated the Obiekt 219 and fitted with a GTD-1000T turbine engine. This was accepted for service in 1976.

Initial production of the T-80 was undertaken in Leningrad although the first version was not built in large numbers. This was soon followed by the much improved T-80B MBT which had the development designation of Obiekt 219R.

Since 1976 the T-80 MBT has been improved as new technology became available, with the latest versions having a more powerful engine, better armour protection and a defensive aids suite.

In 1996, Cyprus ordered a batch of 41 T-80 series MBTs for its National Guard with all vehicles delivered by early 1997. These were delivered from stock as the only remaining T-80 plant in Russia, at Omsk, has a significant number of T-80U MBTs built for the Russian Army but not delivered because of a shortage of funds.

It has been confirmed that the T-80 series MBTs delivered to Cyprus were fitted with the Brod-1 deep fording equipment and the command tanks (T-80UK) fitted with the TShU1-7 Shtora-1 countermeasure system.

The Republic of Korea took delivery of 33 T-80U MBTs in 1996/1997. Late in 2004 it was confirmed that the Republic of Korea had placed an order with Russia for the supply of three T-80UK command tanks plus spare parts and these were delivered in the same year.

Production of the T-80 has been completed at Leningrad and the other T-80 plant, Kharkov, is now in Ukraine. This facility has built 320 T-80UD MBTs for Pakistan which were delivered between 1997 and late 1999.

Further development of the T-80UD by the Ukraine has resulted in the T-84 MBT for which there is a separate entry under Ukraine. This features a new all-welded steel armour turret with additional layers of armour and explosive reactive armour. Recent information is that there has been no production of the T-80 for some years and that export sales were probably from stock, rather than new-build vehicles.


The overall layout of the T-80 is similar to that of the T-64 MBT series with the driver's compartment at the front, two-man turret in the centre and engine and transmission at the rear. There are, however, many detailed differences.

The glacis plate is of the laminate type for improved protection against kinetic energy and HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) attack and there is a dozer blade carried retracted under the nose of the vehicle.

The driver is seated in the centre and has a single-piece hatch cover that lifts and swings to the right. In front of this are three forward-facing day periscopes, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive night driving device.

The turret is armoured steel with an inner layer of special armour; the gunner sits on the left and the tank commander on the right.

Whereas the T-64 is powered by a five-cylinder, opposed piston, liquid-cooled diesel engine developing 750 hp coupled to a manual transmission with seven forward and one reverse gears, the T-80 has a SG-1000 gas-turbine engine developing 1,000 hp coupled to a manual transmission with five forward gears and one reverse.

The T-80's rear hull top is different from the T-64's in that it has a distinct oblong exhaust outlet in the hull rear.

The T-80 reverted back to torsion bar suspension with each side consisting of six forged steel-aluminium rubber-tyred road wheels, drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and five return road wheels. The rubber-tyred road wheels are in two halves and bolted together.

As the track of the T-80 is slightly wider than the T-64's and has a longer length in contact with the ground, the ground pressure of the T-80 is improved, as is its power-to-weight ratio. The new track design has end connectors and central guide horns.

The road wheel spacing is not identical and there are distinct gaps between the second and third, fourth and fifth, and fifth and sixth road wheels. The side skirt covers the return rollers.

The T-80 has the same 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun as the T-72 with a horizontal ammunition stowage system. This can fire either the AT-8 'Songster' ATGW or 125 mm ammunition of the separate loading type. With the latter, the projectile is loaded first, followed by the semi-combustible cartridge case; all that remains after firing is the stub base, which is ejected. This 125 mm ammunition is common to the T-64, T-72, T-80, T-84 and T-90 MBTs and known types are shown in the table. The 125 mm smoothbore gun is stabilised in both elevation and traverse.

The HEAT training round is the BP-5 while the current APFSDS-T training round is the BP-6. It is understood that there are at least two new rounds. The 3VBK25 HEAT round has a tandem warhead to defeat targets fitted with ERA. There is also a new APFSDS-T round with a longer penetrator. With a tandem warhead, the first warhead activates the ERA, leaving the path clear for the main HEAT warhead.

A 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is mounted coaxial to the right of the main armament and a 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun is mounted on the commander's cupola. Full details of the 125 mm gun/missile launcher are given in the entry for the T-64B.

The 125 mm gun/missile launcher tube is fitted with a thermal sleeve and a fume extractor.

Banks of 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers are mounted either side of the 125 mm gun/missile launcher, normally five on the left and four on the right.

A total of four AT-8 'Songster' ATGWs are carried and these are identical to those launched by the T-64B MBT deployed many years ago. The missile guidance box is mounted on the right side of the turret roof in front of the commander's cupola and can be removed and stowed inside the vehicle if required.

Standard equipment includes snorkels for deep fording operations, which are carried on the turret rear when not required, an overpressure-type NBC protection system, night vision equipment for all three crew members, unditching beam carried across the hull rear and a laser warning device activated by laser range-finders, laser designators or precision-guided munitions fitted with a laser guidance device. Mounted on the turret rear is a large circular container, which carries two snorkels. The larger one is the snorkel for the gas turbine, with another one being fitted onto the radiator grille by means of two adaptors. This provides an air intake for the gas turbine.

To extend the operational range of the T-80, additional drum-type fuel tanks can be mounted at the hull rear. These can be quickly jettisoned if necessary. Each of these fuel drums holds 300 litres of fuel and is connected to the main fuel supply.

Each of the two main fuel drums at the hull rear holds an additional 200 litres of fuel. An additional third fuel tank may be mounted crosswise on the engine hatch cover. This does not affect the combustion air intake which is directly behind the turret ring. The air intake is covered by two hinged rectangular grilles, which open forward, uncovering a filter inserted underneath.

In the past, there has been considerable confusion on the correct designations for Russian MBTs, including the T-80 series. The designations listed are from Russian sources.


T-80 (1976)

This was the initial production T-80 and used many components of the earlier T-64A MBT including the complete turret. It was powered by the SD-1000 three-shaft turbine engine developing 800 to 1,000 hp but was not built in large numbers.

This model was not fitted with a 12.7 mm NSVT anti-aircraft machine gun, the infra-red searchlight was on the left of the 125 mm smoothbore gun and the gunner had the TPD-2-49 optical sight/range-finder with one of the optical ports on the right side of the turret in front of the commander's position.

Some of the surviving T-80s were later brought up to T-80B standard and fitted with the Kobra tube-launched missile system and additional armour for the hull bow. These retained the T-64A style turret and the infra-red search light on the left side of the 125 mm main armament.


This was in fact the second generation T-80 and had the development designation of the Obiekt 219A.

It was developed in 1982 and was fitted with a new turret, which had the 125 mm gun that could fire the new tube-launched laser-guided Svir missile.

It was also fitted with new sights IG-46 and TPN-4-49-23 and a new stabilisation system for the 125 mm gun. Some variants also had pintle mounts for the 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun.

T-80A is powered by the more powerful GTD-1000M gas turbine and vehicles delivered after 1984 were fitted with the Kontakt-1 ERA. Only a small number of these were built. The later T-80U is very similar but has the later modular Kontakt-5 ERA.

Externally the T-80A with the Kontakt-1 armour is very similar to the later T-80BV but is different in some minor areas. It normally has the pintle mounts for the 12.7 mm machine gun and a different 81 mm smoke-grenade launcher arrangement (4 + 4 on the left side instead of 2 + 2 on either side). In addition, the control box of the 9M112 ATGW is missing.

T-80B (1978)

After two years of production, the T-80 was replaced by the T-80B (development designation Obiekt 219R) which had the 9K112 Kobra missile system which fired the 9M112 Kobra (US/NATO designation AT-8 'Songster') radio-controlled missile, which was also fired by the T-64B MBT. It also had improvements to the computerised fire-control system including the installation of a laser range-finder.

The IA33 fire-control system includes the IG42 range-finder sight with an electronic control panel, 1V517 tank ballistic computer, 1G43 fire selector panel, 2Eh46M weapons stabiliser and input sensors for windspeed, tank speed, cant and bearing, all of which are updated at regular periods.

The T-80B also has a modified turret incorporating a new-generation composite K ceramic armour, which provides improved protection against HEAT and APFSDS penetrators.

The T-80B was powered by the SG-1000 gas turbine developing 1,000 hp but from 1978 this was replaced by the GTD-1000TF turbine engine rated at 1,100 hp.

T-80BK (1978)

This is the commander's model of the T-80B with additional communications equipment and it is not fitted with the Kobra radio guided missile system. The complete round is called 3UBK20.

T-80BV (1985)

Further development of the T-80B, under the designation of Obiekt 219RV, resulted in the T-80BV, which externally is recognisable by the addition of first-generation Kontakt explosive reactive armour to the hull and turret for improved battlefield survivability. The design and function of the explosive reactive armour is identical to that of the T-64BV MBT.

The installation of the explosive reactive armour gave the T-80BV a very high degree of battlefield survivability against anti-tank weapons fitted with a single HEAT warhead.

The T-80BV has a combat weight of 42.5 tonnes, maximum road speed of 70 km/h and a road range of 370 km.

T-80BVK (1985)

This is the commander's model of the T-80BV with additional communications equipment.

T-80U (1985)

This is essentially the second-generation T-80 series MBT with the 'U' in the designation standing for uluchsheniye in Russian, or improved in English.

This had the development designation of Obiekt 219AS with the Kirov plant being responsible for the hull and the Kharkov plant (which is now in the Ukraine) being responsible for the turret and armament.

This has improved armour protection, the updated 125 mm gun and a new fire-control system that allows the tank commander or gunner to aim and fire the main 125 mm armament.

Main armament is the latest 125 mm 2A46M-1 smoothbore gun with stowage for an additional seven rounds of 125 mm ammunition when compared to the T-80BV. A built-in muzzle reference system is provided which enables the crew to boresight the gun without leaving the vehicle. The 125 mm gun can fire the 9M119 Refleks (US/NATO designation AT-11 'Sniper') semi-automatic laser beam-riding missile out to a maximum range of 5,000 m.

The fire-control system is designated the Type 1A45 with the stabiliser being the 2Eh42 and the ballistic computer the 1V528. The gunner has a stabilised Irtysh (IG46) day sight stabilised in two planes with a magnification of ×2.7 and ×12 which also includes a laser range-finder and missile guidance channel.

The gunner also has a roof-mounted Buran-PA thermal sight stabilised in two planes with a separate eyepiece, with the tank commander being provided with a monitor so that he can see the thermal image of the gunner's sight.

The tank commander has a roof-mounted, stabilised in vertical plane PNK-4S day/night sight, which incorporates the TKN-4S night vision device. The sight has a day magnification of ×5.1 and a night magnification of ×7.5. The commander also has five day periscopes/vision blocks.

All of the T-80U and T-80UM series have the 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun installed on a pintle mount, the T-80UD had the same weapon in the commander's cupola that allowed him to aim and fire the weapon under complete armour protection.

The original production T-80U was powered by the GTD-1000TF gas-turbine engine developing 1,100 hp, although this was replaced on later production vehicles by the GTD-1250 gas turbine developing 1,250 hp. In addition, a GTD-18A gas-turbine auxiliary power unit is mounted at the rear of the hull on the left side and this allows the vehicle to run key subsystems of the vehicle without the main turbine engine running. The T-80U has an air-cleaning device that provides for automatic dust removal. According to the manufacturer, this ensures long marches over dusty and sandy terrain. It also features one-point refuelling, which is claimed to reduce the time taken to refuel the vehicle.

The driver's seat is now attached to the roof of the tank rather than the floor and to the left of the driver's seat are pillars. Both these features strengthen the hull in the event of the vehicle running over a mine.

The Kontakt explosive reactive armour of the T-80U provides protection against both APFSDS and HEAT attack over the frontal arc.

The turret roof between the commander's and gunner's hatches has been provided with additional protection against top attack weapons and a collar of rubber skirts hangs from the turret front which is believed to reduce the signature of the T-80U and deflect top attack bomblets.

The upper part of the suspension is covered by side skirts with the forward part either side of the driver's position providing additional armour protection.

The capacity of the internal fuel tanks is 1,090 litres with an additional 680 litres being stowed in five fuel tanks above the tracks. The vehicle can also be fitted with three auxiliary drum-type tanks at the rear of the hull carrying another 200 litres each, bringing the total capacity to 2,370 litres.

Like all members of the T-80 MBT family, the T-80U is fitted with an NBC system, a fire detection and suppression system, 81 mm smoke grenade dischargers, the ability to lay a smoke screen by injecting fuel into the exhaust, a front-mounted dozer blade, an unditching beam at the rear, internal and external communications equipment and the ability to be fitted with mineclearing equipment, for example the front-mounted KMT-6.

For the export market an air conditioning system is offered as an optional extra.

The T-80U series MBTs produced from 1990 were fitted with a more powerful gas turbine engine, and Brod-1 deep fording kit.


This is understood to have been a preproduction model of the T-80U and was still equipped with the Russian 9K112 Kobra radio guided ATGW system.

T-80UD (1988)

This was developed at the Malayshev Plant in Kharkov and has the turbine replaced by the 6TF two-stroke diesel developing 1,100 hp, a different transmission and driver controls and built-in second-generation explosive reactive armour. The D in the designation stands for diesel and this version retains the ability to fire the AT-11 laser-guided missile. This version had the development designation of Obiekt 478. It is estimated that only about 200 of these were delivered to the Russian Army with 300 still in the Ukraine when the USSR broke up. Production of the T-80UD continued in the Ukraine for Pakistan.

Early versions of the T-80UD were still fitted with the Kontakt-1 first generation ERA. Externally these resemble the T-80A but do not have the pintle mounts for the 12.7 mm machine gun. The fuel drums are mounted on the engine deck and not on the rear corners. The name Beryoza (or Birch Tree) was only used for the Ukrainian variant, not the T-80U.

T-80UK command tank

This is the command version of the T-80U MBT and has the following additional features:

  • Communications equipment consisting of UHF station, UHF receiver, HF station, UHF and HF aerials and an 11 m telescopic mast, the latter increases the range of the tank when it is deployed in the static role. Range is up to 40 km for the R-163-50U radio and 350 km for the R-163-50K radio. An AB-1-P28 1 kW generator is provided to power the communications equipment when the tank is stationary

  • Navigation equipment consisting of TNA 4-3 position indicator, plotting board, gyro course indicator, control panel and aiming circle

  • Installation of TShU1-7 Shtora-1 countermeasures system which is covered in the entry for the T-90 MBT. It should be noted that all of the T-80UK command tanks supplied to Cyprus were fitted with this system

  • Internally the T-80UK also features a modernised fire-control system, aiming sight, ballistic computer, commander's hatch control unit, loading mechanism and banks of 81 mm electrically-operated smoke-grenade launchers either side of the turret

Due to the additional amount of communications equipment carried, this version only carries 30 rounds of 125 mm ammunition. A total of 750 rounds of 7.62 mm and 500 rounds of 12.7 mm machine gun ammunition is also carried. It is also provided with a time fuze system, which allows the 125 mm HE-fragmentation projectile to be detonated above the target.

In addition to being in service with Russia, this is known to have been exported to Cyprus and South Korea.

T-80UDK command tank

This was a command variant but only one example was built.

T-80UE tank

This is a T-80UK with some of the command elements removed while retaining the TshU1-7 Shtora-1 counter measures system.


This is powered by the 1,250 hp gas turbine and has a number of other improvements including the Brod-M deep fording kit and Agava M1 computerised fire-control system which incorporates a thermal imaging sight for the gunner, with the tank commander being provided with a monitor screen to see the gunner's target image. The new gunner's sight is the Agava-M1 and the weapon system can now use the latest 9M119M laser-guided missile.

Some T-80UM vehicles have the 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun removed from the commander's cupola and repositioned on a pintle-type mount on the roof to the left of the commander's hatch. The US Army calls this the T-80UM Model 1993.


This is also referred to as the T-80UM1 Bars (Snow Leopard) and is fitted with the more advanced Arena (or Kazt) Defensive Aid Suite (DAS). This has also been fitted to a number of other armoured vehicles such as the BMP-3 infantry combat vehicle.

The Arena DAS includes a mast-mounted multidirectional millimetre-wave radar system mounted on the roof of the turret towards the rear, which senses incoming missiles.

This information is passed to the onboard computer, which then activates one of the explosive panels mounted around the lower part of the turret so knocking out the approaching missile or rocket. The munitions are arranged in an arc around the front, sides and towards the rear of the turret.

Arena has been designed to increase the battlefield survivability of MBTs against attack from missiles and rockets fitted with a HEAT warhead and is claimed to have a reaction time of around 0.05 seconds.

The system is fully automatic and is said to provide a high level of protection through about 300 with a dead area to the turret rear.

The T-80UM1 is also fitted with a GTD-1250-G turbine engine, air conditioning system, roof-mounted DV-EBS wind sensor, Buran-M stabilised gunner's day/night sight, RPZ-86M anti-radar coating, increased power stabilisation system for the 125 mm 2A46M-4 main armament, KAKTUS explosive reactive armour system, Tuman rapid action fire detection and suppression system, anti-fragmentation screens made of Kevlar type material, NSTV 12.7 mm remote-controlled machine gun, Ainet automatic fuze setting system for 125 mm high-explosive fragmentation ammunition and the 45M fire-control system which includes a day/thermal sighting system of Russian or foreign origin.

The fire-control system is designated the 1A45 and includes a laser range-finder, wind sensor, tank speed indicator, target speed indicator, roll angle sensor, ammunition and surrounding temperature sensors and a ballistic computer. The commander can also lay and fire the 125 mm main armament.

A GTA-18 gas turbine engine is installed which allows the tank to run all of its systems with the main engine shut down.


This designation was originally applied to a T-80 chassis fitted with a new turret armed with a 125 mm gun fed by a bustle-mounted automatic loader.

More recently this designation has been applied to the T-80U fitted with the Drozd-1 (Thrush) defensive aids suite.

This was first installed on T-55 series MBTs of the Russian naval infantry and is covered in this entry.

The first-generation Drozd-1 only covered the frontal arc but the latest Drozd-2 uses smaller munitions, improved sensors and can cover a full 360 arc.

More powerful turbine engine

The late production T-80U is powered by a GTD-1250 turbine developing 1,250 hp, which is manufactured by the Kaluga Engine Building Plant. This in turn is an enhanced version of the GTD-1000T turbine that entered production in 1985.

Further development by the Klimov Plant State Unitary Enterprise, who developed these gas turbines, resulted in the 1,500 hp version which has already been successfully tested outside of an MBT. According to the company this could be further up-rated to 1,800 hp without changing its dimensions.

Trials vehicles

There has also been a number of T-80 MBT trials vehicles. These include the Obiekt 219A with a larger turret with a higher level of armour protection, and increased ammunition load. It was powered by the GTD-1000M gas turbine.

The Obiekt 219RD had its turbine replaced by the A-53-2 diesel, which had the same speed as the production tank but an increase in operational range.

Upgraded T-80U

It has been proposed that the T-80U series MBT could be upgraded in a number of key areas to improve its capabilities and battlefield survivability. The improvements can include:

  • Installation of the 125 mm 2A46M4 (M5) gun with increased accuracy and firing the 125 mm BM-44M APFSDS-T projectile with a length-to-diameter ratio of 22:1

  • Fitting the TShU1-7 Shtora defensive aids suite system

  • 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun fitted with remote control

  • Shtora system laser warning device

  • Drozd-2 active protection system radar complex

  • Drozd-2 active protection system mortar complex

  • Type 902B smoke grenade launchers

  • New generation dynamic armour protection complex

  • Thermal shroud covering the power pack

  • Roof-mounted wind sensor

  • Installation of thermal sighting system

  • Installation of a more powerful engine developing 1,000 hp (KD-34 or V-92)

  • New fire suppression system (3EhTs13 Iney)

  • SEhMZ system to protect tank from anti-tank mines fitted with a magnetic fuzing system

T-80U for Cyprus

Cyprus took delivery of a total of 41 T-80U MBTs including 14 T-80UK command tanks which have been issued to one tank regiment. In addition Russia supplied four armoured recovery vehicles, four armoured vehicle launched bridges, ammunition and spare parts.

The vehicles are fitted with the Brod-1 deep fording equipment and the command post vehicles are fitted with the TshU1-7 Shtora-1 countermeasure system.

These vehicles are now being fitted with a new thermal sighting system that has been developed by an international consortium consisting of Peleng of Belarus and Thales Optronique of France.

BREM-80U armoured recovery vehicle

To support the T-80U MBT, the Transport Machine Building Design Bureau has developed the BREM-80U ARV with the prototype being built by the Plant of Transport Machine Building.

The baseline T-80 turbine powered chassis is retained in the BREM-80U ARV but a new all-welded steel armoured superstructure has been added at the front for the crew and the winch equipment. This provides protection from small arms fire and shell splinters.

The main winch has a capacity of 35 tonnes but using snatch blocks this can be increased to 140 tonnes. An auxiliary winch is also provided.

The crew of four consists of the commander, mechanic/driver, fitter and wedger/rigger, a fifth seat is provided for an additional crew member.

Mounted at the front of the hull is a hydraulically operated blade. This can be used as a dozer blade or an anchor blade when the winch or crane is being used.

The hydraulically operated crane is pivoted at the left side of the hull and folds back along the right side of the hull when not required. The jib crane is of the telescopic type and has a maximum lifting capacity of 18 tonnes.

Armament consists of a 12.7 mm machine gun with a bank of eight 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers being mounted at the front of the vehicle on the left side.

Command Staff Vehicle

This proposed vehicle is based on a T-80U chassis and is designed to provide control and communication functions within motorised rifle and tank divisions as well as at brigade, regiment and battalion level.

The chassis is very similar to that used for the BREM-80U ARV and features a new raised superstructure towards the front which provides space for the commander and driver plus two to four staff members. Additional communications equipment is fitted.

Armament consists of a roof mounted 12.7 mm machine gun while mounted either side are banks of 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers firing forwards. An NBC system is fitted as is a front mounted dozer blade.

As far as it is known the Command Staff Vehicle has not entered production or service.

Armoured Transporting Loading Vehicle

This has a similar chassis to the command staff vehicle and has been designed to resupply tanks with 125 mm ammunition (projectile and charge) with a total of 135 rounds being carried. The MBTs would draw up alongside of the armoured transporting and loading vehicle with the ammunition being transferred to the MBTs via a chute.

It has a combat weight of 46 tonnes, a crew of two and a maximum road speed of 70 km/h. It is fitted with an NBC system and a front mounted dozer blade.

As far as it is known, the Armoured Transporting Loading Vehicle has not entered production or service.

152 mm 2S19 self-propelled gun

The 152 mm 2S19 self-propelled gun is based on a modified T-80 chassis but with a T-72 series diesel engine. As of early 2008, this had not been exported.

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