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T-80U Tank #5

T-80U Main Battle Tank

T-80U Tank #4
Unveiled / Entered Service
T-80U Tank #3
In Service
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Steel Aces Play for free
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The Russian T-80U Tank was the second major upgrade of the T-80 Main Battle Tank series and is the most common production model exported and featured in the media. It featured improvements in firepower, armor and mobility.

The T-80U could be identified quickly by the new large Kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armor mounted on the hull sides (which have handles along the bottom) and front x3 large protruding bricks on the hulls upper glacis as well as x4 Smoke Grenade Launchers mounted on the turrets sides.

It also has the same rubber matting along the hulls front as the T-80BV. These keep the dust  kicked up by the vehicle from getting into the air-cooling intakes of the engine.


The T-80U was in short, a T-80B hull married to a new turret with other improvements. This turret was developed for an improved version for the T-64B Tank. It featured an enhanced Fire Control System and armoured protection. It was decided to marry the new turret to the hull as a quicker option, rather than trying to integrate the upgrades into a T-80B turret.

The new turret was known as the Obiekt 476 or Izdeliye 9A and when integrated to the T-80B hull, resulted in the Obiekt 219A. A second project called Obiekt 219V saw the integration of the GTD-1000TF gas turbine engine and a new barrel fired ATGM, the 9M119M Refleks.

The final T-80U (U = usovershenstvovanniy: improved) design aka Obiekt 219AS, was the Obiekt 219A with the engine and ATGM capability of the Obiekt 219V. An initial batch of 20 vehicles for field trials (1983) saw the T-80U accepted into Russian Army service in 1985, followed by serial production in 1987.


The T-80U retains the 2A46M-1 125mm smoothbore main gun of the T-80B. The 125mm ammunition load has increased to 45 rounds. The T-80U uses the 1A45 fire-control system with the 1G46 Gunners Sight. This has an integrated 9S515 laser system for guiding the Refleks ATGM, which has increased the vehicles lethality up to 5km’s. Refleks guidance is laser-beam riding. The T-80U retains the Luna IR Search light.


The T-80U featured a new laminate frontal armour. Additional protection was provided by a new universal Kontakt-5 Explosive Reactive Armour. This was not an appliqué ERA package, but was integrated into the T-80U hull upper glacis and front sections of the hulls sides as well as the turret front and roof during the manufacturing process.

Kontakt-5 was not only more effective against Shape-Charged projectiles, but reduced the effectiveness of Kinetic Energy Penetrators (SABOT rounds) by 20-30%.


Russian T-80U Tank

The T-80U is now powered by a 1250hp GTD-1250 gas turbine engine. The manufacturers (KLIMOV) website, states that its development started in 1986, meaning the initial GTD-1000TF engine used during the vehicles development and on the pre-production tanks, was replaced by the GTD-1250 sometime after 1986.

Variants and Marks


Russian T-80U Command Tank The T-80UK
Russian T-80U Command Tank The T-80UK

Command Version of the T-80U, it featured additional radio equipment, land navigation system, but most importantly the Shtora “Soft-Kill” Active Protection System. This has x2 laser jammers mounted on the turrets front.

These jam the laser designator of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles like the American TOW, once the system detects a laser is “painting” the vehicle. It reacts by traversing the turret to the source of the laser so it’s jammed.

The system can also fire passive countermeasures to obscure the vehicle from detection whilst it withdraws. The T-80UK was not only exported, but served as a demonstrator for further enhanced T-80 models for the export market after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


T-80UD Tank

The Gas Turbine engine concept proved popular in some respects in terms of mobility, but had a negative effective on fuel consumption and engine service life. There were a number of projects experimenting with diesel engines as an alternative to the Gas Turbine. The Ukrainian manufacturer (Kharkov) of the T-80U built their own version using their own multi-fuel, two-stroke turbo-piston 6TD-1 6-cylinder diesel engine, which generated 1000hp.The T-80UD would go on to be developed into the T-84. READ DEDICATED VEHICLE PAGE.


Armoured Recovery Vehicle based on the T-80U chassis.


T-80UM-1 Tank with Arena “Hard-Kill” Active Protection System
T-80UM-1 Tank with Arena “Hard-Kill” Active Protection System

An export model offered by Omsk (T-80 Manufacturer) prior to its bankruptcy. It featured the Arena “Hard-Kill” Active Protection System. Arena has the ability to detect incoming threats like ATGM and launches a projectile into the path of the threat to destroy it. The vehicle remained at the demonstrator phase and was not exported.


T-80U Drozd APDS aka T-80UM-2

Another export model that featured the older Drozd “Hard-Kill” Active Protection System. The vehicle remained at the demonstrator phase and was not exported.



  • Cyprus – Ordered x4 BREM-80U ARV and x41 T-80U tanks, delivered in 1996-97. Identical second order delivered 2010-12, all surplus Russian Army stock.
  • Pakistan – Supplied from Ukraine, x270 T-80U and x50 T-80UD delivered between 1997-1999. In 2021 it was reported Pakistan had approved Ukrainian state company UkrOboronProm to overhaul their fleet. In 2023 it was also reported Pakistan was considering gifting Ukraine some of their T-80UD tanks to support their defence against the Russian Invasion and occupation.
  • Russia – Several thousand built of varying models. Majority went into storage after the Cold War and First Chechen War. Since 2017, 100+ T-80B have been upgraded to the T-80BVM model in batches of 50. Its  expected for 2023-2024, additional T-80BVM orders of similar sizes to be placed due to losses in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
  • South Korea – Two deliveries of T-80U made in 1996-97 and 2005-06 totalling x43 vehicles, which its believed are used as the opposing force in training exercises
  • Ukraine – An unknown number have been captured during the ongoing 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Combat History

1994 – 96: First Chechen War

The T-80 had a mixed success during the war. Its weak spots were exploited and targeted by Chechen rebels using RPG’s whilst the tanks were operating in built up areas. The high level of T-80 losses was used as an excuse not to operate gas turbine engine tanks in the future and the T-80 was not used in subsequent Russian conflicts until the 2022 Invasion Of Ukraine.

2022 to current: Invasion Of Ukraine

The T-80 has been used by both the Russian Federation and Ukraine through out the war. Russian T-80 tanks, including the T-80BVM, have proved susceptible to Western Anti-Tank missiles such as the Javelin and NLAW. Ukraine has captured immobilised Russian T-80 and pressed them back into Ukrainian service.


Main Gun
125mm Smoothbore 2A46M-1 / Elevation -5 to +14
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, commanders 50 cal machine gun
Ammunition Storage
x45 125mm, x1250 7.62mm, x300 12.7mm
1250hp GTD-1250
Manual (4 forward/ 1 reverse gears)
Top Road Speed
70 km/h
Road Range
335 km
Fuel Capacity
1840 Litres
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
1.8m Fording, 5m with snorkel kit
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
Ground Clearance
43.7+ tonne combat
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Laminated, Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Driver