Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ukraine receives upgraded T-80 tanks

According to Jane's IHS the Ukrainian army has taken over the first 8 T-80 tanks modernized by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) on 15th July 2015 (15 days ago, I am certainly having troubles writing .

The tanks are fitted with Kontakt reactive armor and will serve for "anti-terror operations", which means that they are intended for fighting in the East-Ukraine against the separatists. Other sources than Jane's (i.e. Ukrainian sources) claimed that these tanks were for an air-mobile unit, which does not take part in any combat operations in the east of the country.

The "new" tanks for the Ukranian army
The Ukrainian ministry of defence however has stated, that these tanks will serve with n unit of the airborne forces.
Other than adding Kontakt ERA, other not further mentioned changes were done to turret and hull structure.

Source: Jane's IHS

This tanks show in which a desolate situation the Ukrainian army is - the T-80 used are outdated and the modernization is a joke. They are far worse than the modernized T-64BM Bulat or the current T-84-based Oplot tanks.
The use of Kontakt-1 ERA (which does provide only very limited amounts of protection compared to more modern ERA systems) and the retaining of the old infra-red sights certainly shows that the lack of money and/or production capacity in the Ukraine is a real problem. These tanks were "modernized" (refurbished seems to be more appropriate) to a technology level of approximately 1984!

That said, it appears that tank vs tank combat is highly limited in the Ukrainian conflict. Still viable protection against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles is not offered by the modernized T-80 tanks.
The fire control unit of the old T-80(B) is probably accurate enough against structures and infantry, when firing from slow move (25 kmph) or from static positions..

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