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T-80UM1 Bars

THE T-80U-M1 BARS TANK: AS POWERFUL AS A DREADNOUGHT, AS FAST AND COMFORTABLE AS A MERCEDES CAR

    The T-80U-M1 Bars tank is fast and stealthy in any type of terrain. It can perform marches over long distances and can be shipped by any type of transport.

T-80U-M1

Various countries continue to develop new types of defense hardware and technologies. Much emphasis is also placed on the updating of military hardware currently in service. This can be explained by the fact that very large amounts of military equipment are presently held by troops and that there is a clear tendency towards a reduction in the procurement costs of new equipment. There are two other reasons for this: first, the life cycle of military hardware is fairly long, constituting 15 to 20 years, and, second, progress in some areas of human knowledge is so impressive that it permits designers to radically enhance the war-fighting qualities of this or that type of militarty hardware without introducing many changes into its design.

The T-80 tank, which entered service with the Russian Army in 1976, is such an example. Vehicles of the T-80 family are manufactured by the Omsk Transport Machine-Building Plant. According to Igor Sergeyev, Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, the T-80U tanks are currently in service with the most capable "elite" divisions of the Russian Army.

A considerable potential for future upgrades was incorporated into this tank at the design stage and a conceptual requirement to enhance the war-fighting and maintenance capabilities has predetermined a stage-by-stage modernization of the entire family. 

Presently, the T-80U-M1 Bars tank retains the basic design features: the main armament is arranged within a rotary turret, the propulsion plant and transmission are arranged in the hull's rear, and the crew members are seated separately – the commander and the gunner sit in the fighting compartment, and the driver in the driver's compartment. Like all other tanks of this family, the T-80U-M1 Bars tank is fast and stealthy in any type of terrain. It can perform marches over long distances and can be shipped by any type of transport.

Armament

The various requirements imposed on the tank and the wide range of targets, featuring different levels of protection and presenting different degrees of danger to the tank itself, have generated the need to equip the tank with up-to-date weaponry to engage ground and air targets at a distance of up to 5,000 m.
 

 
The armament of the T-80U-M1 Bars tank is represented by a 125mm 2A46M-4 smoothbore gun/launcher stabilized in both planes. Because of the gun's increased rigidity, the firing accuracy has been improved by 20 percent, while major assemblies and parts of the dependable 2A46M-1 gun currently in production have been retained.

The tank's modern fire control system, designated 1A45, includes a laser range finder, a wind sensor, a tank speed indicator, a target speed indicator, a roll angle sensor, ammunition and surrounding medium temperature indicators, and a ballistic computer. In combination with the unique running gear that provides for the smooth running of the vehicle, this system permits the crew to deliver fire effectively while moving cross-country at a speed of 35 km/h with the tank's turret facing in any direction. As regards this parameter, the T-80U family of tanks are unrivalled.

In action, fire is controlled by a gunner, but the gun laying and sighting devices installed in the tank enable the crew commander to determine a high priority target, aim at this target independently of the gunner, and, after pressing the "Target designation" button on the control console, turn the turret as required, bring the gunner's sighting line into coincidence with the target, or take control of the gun ("Override" mode), and engage the target.

The probability of hitting an armored or low-flying target with a laser beam riding missile at a distance of up to 5 km is almost 100 percent. The guided weapons system, designated 9K119, features increased noise immunity and is noted for ease of operation and maintenance.
The T-80U-M1 tank can be outfitted with an IR gunner's sight, called Buran, or a thermal imaging sight (Russian-made Agava-2 or foreign made).

The thermal imaging sight allows the gunner and commander to fire the 9M119 guided missile both during the day and at night.
The tank is equipped with an automatic loader, which provides for a firing rate of 7 to 9 rnds/min. It should be noted here that all foreign tanks, except Leclerc (France), are not outfitted with an automatic loader. The capacity of the carousel conveyor of the T-80U-M1 tank is 28 rounds, while that of the French Leclerc and Russian T-90 is 22 rounds.

Protection
 

Arena active protection system

 
The T-80U-M1 tank is protected against ATGW by:
– combined multi-layer glacis armor plating and combined filler of the turret armor;
– built-in explosive reactive armor protection of the hull and turret, and side skirts fitted with explosive elements;
– the Arena active protection system;
–  the Shtora-1 optronic countermeasures system.

The use of the built-in explosive reactive armor protection system on tanks in the 1980s considerably enhanced their protection aganst shaped-charge projectiles. However, as the explosive elements of this system detonate, a certain portion of the tank's main armor becomes unprotected.

Over the past 10 to 20 years, many countries have been involved in the development of active protection systems for tanks, but only Russia has brought developmental work to fruition and launched production. Arena is one such system. For its performance characteristics there are no other systems in the world that can compare with Arena. This system is designed to protect the tank against antitank grenades and missiles fired by all types of infantry weapons, as well as ground and air-launched ATGMs flying at a speed of 70 to 700 m/s, regardless of the type of control systems and warheads.

The Arena system is switched on/off from the commander's control console. Once Arena is switched on, all subsequent operations are performed automatically. Apart from the basic automatic mode of operation, exceptionally, the commander can control the system manually, for example, when it is necessary to destroy obstacles or for close-in protection against infantry. 

Arena provides protection for a moving or stationary tank in any weather and in any combat environment, irrespective of the angle of impact of the enemy's weapons. The data-processing radars and sights feature a high level of noise immunity. They do not respond to false and random signals, and come into action only in situations where there is a serious threat to the tank or when a weapon fired by the enemy is heading directly towards the tank.

The active protection system doubles Bars' lifetime, and if the tank is used in peace-keeping operations or to control local conflicts, its lifetime is tripled or quadrupled. Application of the Arena active protection system in combination with the Shtora-1 optronic countermeasures system enhances the tank's protection three to five times.

The T-80U-M1 Bars tank is equipped with a quick-acting highly sensitive chemical and radiological reconnaissance system used in place of the GO-27 device installed on virtually all other Russian-made armored vehicles. This system requires lower maintenance.

The new system is compact and easy to operate. A built-in check feature makes it possible to promptly test the system's status and obtain information about its major units.

An automatic firefighting system is capable of smothering a fire within 150 ms.

The tank's signal communications facilities include an R-163-50U radio set and an R-163UP radio receiver. Both operate in the very-short wave band in a noise-detune mode, where an array of preselected frequencies are scanned automatically to find the one which is less affected by interference. The tank's signal communications facilities also include a telecoded information transmission channel and signal communications facilitities operating with preselected subscribers.

Maneuverability and speed

The T-80U-M1 Bars tank is propelled by a 1,250 hp multifuel gas-turbine engine equipped with hydrostatic transmission. The specific power of 27.2 hp/t provides for the vehicle's high maneuverability and is much greater than that of foreign and other Russian tanks.
As the torque potentialities of this engine are much higher than those of the diesel engine, the probability of its sudden stoppage under an excessive load is excluded and the frequency of gear shifts when the tank moves on rough terrain is reduced.
 

GTD-1250 gas-turbine engine

 
High dynamic and acceleration characteristics allow the tank to escape a danger zone quickly. The tank accelerates up to a speed of 
50 km/h within 17 to 19 s and makes a 3 to 5 m jerk within 1 or 2 seconds, which would cause a projectile fired by the enemy to richochet from the tank. Experience of using T-80U tanks in action indicates that some of them withstood up to five projectile and guided missile hits and continued with their mission. Compared to the T-80U, Bars is simpler and easier to operate and maintain. Within the near future, the tank will be equipped with a 1,400 hp heavy-duty engine.

The hydrostatic transmission is designed to considerably increase the tank's maneuverability, speed, and the reliability of final drives. Thus, a 12 percent gain is obtained when the tank moves along a regular route at an average speed and a 33 percent gain is obtained in a single turning motion. The turning radius is controlled steplessly, due to which fact the number of gear shifts in the final drives has been reduced sharply. The tank's run has become smoother and, consequently, the firing accuracy has increased.

Fuel consumption has dropped by 5 to 10 percent, while the lifetime of separate assemblies has increased as follows:
– transmission – by 30 percent;
– running gear – by 50 percent.

The vehicle is steered by means of only three controls: a handwheel, a throttle pedal, and a brake pedal. The limited number of controls allows the driver to concentrate his attention primarily on the road, terrain, and battlefield, thus maintaining his working capacity for a long time. The force applied by the driver to the controls is reduced four times and the driver's fatigue on long marches is also less.

The tank's multifuel (diesel oil as basic, kerosene as substitute, and gasoline as auxiliary fuel) capability considerably simplifies the material support of tank units.

An auxiliary gas-turbine unit, designated GTA-18, rated at 18 kW, powers all of the tank's systems when the vehicle's main engine is shut off.
In defense, the use of the auxiliary gas-turbine unit materially reduces the tank's IR signature, reducing the possibility of its detection by enemy thermal imaging devices.

Assessment of the tank's fuel consumption in a combat operation indicates that it is much lower than on tanks equipped with a traditional diesel engine using no auxiliary power unit.

Crew's comfort

During the operation of military hardware in diverse climatic conditions, particularly in the tropics, where ambient temperature and humidity are high, the Russian military hardware drastically loses its war-fighting qualities because of the lack of air-conditioning systems. Engineers of the Krios Research and Production Enterprise, who took part in the development of air conditioning systems for the Mir orbital station, have developed an air conditioning system for tanks.

The air conditioning system installed on the Bars tank features high reliability under excessive physical loads and is maintainable in field conditions.

The air conditioner developed for Bars supplies cooled air to each crew member individually, and so only the work spaces, rather than all of the tank's interior, are cooled. Compared to general circulation systems, the advantages of this system consist in a higher effectiveness and the possibility of using ventilated vests in combination with fire-resistant suites. Moreover, in addition to the air-cooling function, this air conditioning system dries incoming air, which is particularly important for countries with hot and moist climates. At halt, when the main engine is shut off, the air-conditioning system can draw power from the GTA unit.

The T-80U family of tanks can be equipped with rubber-padded tracks for movement on concrete and asphalt roads. 

The T-80U family of tanks are available in different versions to suit the client-country's conditions and possibilities.


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