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


A new Russian MBT called Black Eagle (Chiorny Oriol) made a brief appearance during a demonstration held in Omsk in September 1997.

Subsequently it was revealed that the turret installed on Black Eagle was only a mock up as the actual prototype will not be complete until the second half of 1999.

It is also understood that this vehicle is being developed for the export market rather than the Russian Army which has no funding to procure new MBTs on any significant scale.

Late in 1998 brief details of an evolutionary development of the T-80 MBT, called the T-80UM2, were released. In appearance the T-80UM2 seems almost identical to the Black Eagle MBT and it is assumed that the two vehicles are the same. Some sources have indicated that the T-80UM2 is part of the development programme that will lead to the Black Eagle.


The T-80UM2 MBT is essentially an upgraded T-80U MBT chassis fitted with a new all welded cast steel turret incorporating advanced armour with additional armour protection being provided for the hull and turret.

The overall chassis layout of the T-80UM2 is almost identical to the standard T-80U MBT covered in a separate entry.

On the hull front and turret, Kaktus explosive reactive armour (ERA) is installed which gives protection against both chemical energy (High Explosive Anti-Tank) and kinetic energy (KE) attack. The track skirts are also of the Kaktus type with anti-fragmentation screens being provided around the lower part of the turret front.

The turret crew positions have been reversed when compared to the current production T-80U as on the T-80UM2 the gunner is seated on the right and the commander on the left, both are provided with new roof hatches.

The T80UM2 retains the 125 mm 2A45M smoothbore gun of earlier T-80 series MBTs but a new automatic loading system has been installed in the turret bustle with blow out panels above.

By moving the ammunition stowage from below the turret to the turret bustle the survivability of the T-80UM2 is considerably improved. During the fighting in the Middle East (T-72) and more recently, Chechnya (T-72 and T-80), many MBTs were lost when the ammunition below the turret exploded, normally removing the complete turret.

In addition, the rate of fire of the 125 mm gun is probably higher, because as with the previous automatic loading system, the loader had to first load the projectile and then the semi-combustible charge. All that remains after firing is the sub-cartridge case.

The installation of the bustle mounted automatic loader will also enable the 125 mm gun to fire more advanced fixed ammunition with higher armour piercing capabilities than current types. These, when compared with the latest Western types, have shorter length to diameter ratios.

So far there is no hard evidence that Russia has developed a new generation of 125 mm ammunition of the complete round type.

A 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is mounted coaxial with the 125 mm main armament and the roof-mounted 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun can be laid onto the target and fired from under complete armour protection.

A computerised fire-control system is fitted to the T-80UM2 which allows stationary and moving targets to be engaged with a high first round hit probability while the vehicle is stationary or moving.

The gunner's stabilised sight has day and thermal channels and a laser range-finder that feeds information to the fire-control computer. The commander has a roof mounted day/thermal sighting system so allowing the vehicle to carry out hunter/killer target engagements.

The Ainet automatic fuze setting system for the 125 mm fragmentation ammunition is also installed and this allows the crew to set the fuze of a 125 mm high explosive fragmentation projectile so that it detonates above the target for maximum impact.

Mounted on the turret roof is the DV-EBS wind sensor which feeds information to the fire-control computer.

The T-80UM2 is powered by a GTD-1250G turbine developing 1,250 hp coupled to a modified transmission. It is understood that in future this turbine may be replaced by a more fuel efficient diesel engine.

According to Russian sources, the T-80UM2 MBT is 58 per cent more effective than the standard production T-80 MBT.

As well as being fitted with additional armour protection, the T-80UM2 is also fitted with the roof-mounted Arena active defence system. This can detect, track and neutralise incoming anti-tank weapons before they come in contact with the vehicle.

Standard equipment for the T-80UM2 includes a Tuman rapid action fire detection and suppression system, RPz-86M anti-radar coating, advanced electro-optical counter measure equipment, air conditioning system, secure digital data communications system and satellite navigation system.

Long range fuel tanks can be fitted at the rear to increase the operational range of the T-80UM2 and an unditching beam can also be carried at the rear. A self-entrench device is mounted under the nose of the vehicle and various type of plough and roller type mine clearing systems can be quickly fitted at the front of the hull.


Prototype. Not yet in production or service.

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