Thursday, July 16, 2020

Russian T-80 tanks to receive ‘soft packages’ with explosive reactive armour

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The latest modification of the T-80 tank will receive so-called ‘soft packages’ with explosive reactive armour, according to the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

The improved version of the Soviet-design tank, known as T-80BVM, is reportedly fitted with the Relikt 3-rd generation explosive-reactive armor (ERA) in standard kits and also in soft or flexible packages.

The new ‘soft packages’ offers major improvements in capabilities compared with standard bricks. The tank soft kit is a durable fabric package, attached by belts on the main side armor at a distance of 10-15 centimeters. Inside these ‘packages’ are exactly the same elements of explosive reactive armour as usual. Moreover, the soft ERA (exactly as it is called in Russia) is hung only on the sides of the armored vehicle, while all the same ‘bricks’ are used on the turret and frontal armor.

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The main reason for the use of soft ERA is that in urban environments, it is necessary for a tank to come into contact with any solid surface (a corner of a building, walls) the elements of a classic ERA are torn off the sides, leaving unprotected areas.

Soft ERA in this regard is better, though small, and can survive such a collision. If not, it doesn’t matter. It is possible to hang a new ‘packages’ in a matter of seconds, while the bricks are holding onto bolts and in order to replace them will have to remove the damaged element and reinstall the new one.

Open sources suggest that T-80BVM also to receive received a new auto-loader, allowing it to use new anti-tank ammo: Svinets-1 and Svinets-2 740 mm rounds. Although little is known about these rounds, media reports suggest that one of them is made of an alloy, based on depleted uranium.

This version of the Russian T-80 tank received advanced Sosna-U gunner sight (which is also used in Russian T-90s) and upgrades to various systems, including the engine.

According to media reports in recent months, T-80BMV tanks will be started to arrive for the Russian Army this year.

Similar soft ERA variant on T-72B3.
Photo by Vitaly Kuzmin

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