Tuesday, November 8, 2011

T-80 Better Than M1-Abrams…Really? (Featured post)

Nowadays its easy to generate people’s believe in something. For example, if a daily report on television states that the moon is shaped like a suitcase, as we observed in the night sky is actually nothing more than an optical illusion, then after a while millions of people believe it. And believe it against all odds.

Russians as opposed to West follows a 40-ton class as MBT basis, which leads to many shortcomings...

Country of origin

Name of MBT

Image of MBT

Weight (tonnes)


Challenger 2

click me 62.5
USA M1 Abrams click me 61.3
Germany Leopard 2 click me 62.3
France AMX-56 Lecrec click me 54.5
Israel Merkava Mark IV click me 65
Ukraine/Pakistan T-84/Al-khalid click me 48
Russia T-80U click me 46
Russia T-90 click me 47.5
India Arjun click me 58.5

Indeed believes the same average Russian man in the street to the fact that our tanks are the best in the world. Believes without hesitation. At the same time, however, he had no doubt, for example, that domestic cars are among the worst. About how a country that for decades unable to achieve an acceptable technical reliability of the cars produced, produces the world's best tanks, few people think. Although people still intuitively know that something is wrong.

We have our own rating

Few people think and the question: Who actually decided that our tanks are best in the world? Who else but us thinks so? In any case, according to international ratings, we alone are in patriotic delusion. Neither Soviet nor Russian tanks never rose above the middle of the top ten. But the rankings are compiled by expert professionals who consider many factors, such as overall size & weight. Although these two parameters are fixed in the popular consciousness. In any case in numerous online forums on this topic- Our tanks are better because smaller and lighter, and the gun is the same - one of the marketable features. About how superficial and erroneous this view, can be seen in the most simple examples. Take the Russian (or more correctly, of course, Soviet), the main T-80 -  the most discussed recently in the special media outlets combat vehicle - let us look,by what price its relatively small overall sizes and mass are purchased.

In the domestic sources of tank T-80 is usually compared with their overseas counterparts - "Abrams".This in itself is not surprising - the machine is almost the same age: the T-80 was adopted by only four years before, "Abrams". But most importantly - it is the world's only serial tanks, equipped with gas turbine power plant. So to compare them in this article would seem logical, but doing it in full is not desirable. And not because the author has nothing to say about it. In one of the national periodicals on the history of tank can be read as follows: "The smaller size of the T-80U, but it is shorter than M1A1 by 0.2-0.30 meter (gun forward position) to make it less noticeable on the battlefield. The smaller length of T-80U because its power plant, also located longitudinally, has no heat exchanger.”

A 'bad' M1A1 is considered by the U.S. Army as a main battle tank for the period until 2040, and ‘good’ T-80 in the near future, apparently, will be removed from service Russian army !!

GTD-1250 engine of the T-80U, a smaller and lighter by almost 100 pounds. The best air filtration system is achieved in the GTD-1250 high-purity air (98.5%). It supplies air via motor and nozzle apparatus to high-pressure turbine, which sends it to blow in the logistics units (engine-transmission compartment) in front of the box cavity and drives the first low-pressure compressor (for support). This is achieved by sealing the logistics of dust. The presence of DDT (air intake device) with an input window, located at a height of two meters, allows the engine to feed much more clean air, removing the load on the air cleaner, and install additional hard cap that came with the tank, this increases the height up to 3.5 meters. All this is made possible by the design features of the T-80U. M1A1 because of the advanced turret, which is located under the roof logistics system air feeding installation of DDT is impossible, thus because of lesser ability to clean the air in comparison with T- 80U, American tank is harder to operate in desert conditions."

What can I say? At first glance, it seems all right, but if you dig a little deeper, it is not so obvious. Immediately surprising is the passage about visibility. This is a very widespread thesis, though controversial that size influence tank’s invulnerability. No direct relationship or statistics are there to prove this factor for example, have never heard that tank T-60 because of their small size, was struck less frequently than Tiger, but these days in terms of precision weapons size does not make any difference.

Price of Size

Now for the engine size and power pack. Engine, and logistics in the T-80 is indeed less than the "Abrams", but at what expense? In an effort to obtain acceptable dimensions of the power of the T-80 (required to fit into the overall dimensions of T-64/T-72) tank designers were forced to use single-stage, low-maintenance (tapeless) air cleaner with a large passage dust, as two-stage air cleaners are used in all the tanks of the world, compared to tapeless these are significantly larger in size and require periodic maintenance. Among other design measures to reduce power-plant T-80 tank designers had to abandon the use of heat exchangers for improving fuel efficiency of gas turbine engine (GTE). To obtain the minimum length of the motor was used two-stage turbocharger design scheme consisting of two centrifugal compressors, driven in rotation by single-stage axial turbine.

MTO volume of the T-80 is 3.15 m3, "Abrams" - 6.8 m3. In American machine this is caused by the application of GTE with the axial-flow compressors and by heat exchanger, and also the two-step air cleaner, whose volume about 2 m3. Air filter is equipped with a barrier that can almost completely eliminate dust pass into the engine. When using the "Abrams", however, requires frequent maintenance filter that effectively limits the mobility of the tank at a high particulate air pollution.

It is not entirely understandable, why with cleaning of 98,5 percent of air entering the engine motor T-80U is better on air-cleaning than AGT-1500 “of Abrams”, which ensures hundred per-cent cleaning air. As far as DDT is concerned, it effectively works only with the position of tank’s turret “on 12 hours”, i.e.,along the longitudinal axis forward. In other positions DDT simply does not overlap the window of air-inflow in the roof MTO.

Specific fuel consumption of AGT-1500 is much smaller than the GTD-1250 - 202g/hp-hr to 240g/hp-hr, which ultimately provides a 60-ton "Abrams" cruising range of 395-440 miles against 350 in 46-ton T-80U. To achieve a similar figure in T-80U three 200-liter fuel drums are attached to its roof. In connection with the topic being discussed about the alleged high-fire "Abrams", we note that these drums contains diesel fuel and aviation kerosene which are far from safe. That's probably why so few military photos of the tank T-80U with barrels - it seems that the troops simply avoid installing. For the "Abrams", by the way, the additional external fuel tanks in general are not provided.

This is the price of a half the size of the power pack. Sadly, such examples are quite a lot. Of course, it is easier and more patriotic to announce that our tank is better. For the simple reason that it is ours.Objective assessment requires a lot of time and effort, but the result may not be too good. Simply list the shortcomings of enemy tank and not our flaws. How not to notice, in general, joyless outcome: a 'bad' M1A1 is considered by the U.S. Army as a main battle tank for the period until 2040, and ‘good’ T-80 in the near future, apparently, will be removed from service Russian army. It is officially recognized that provisions for its modernization has been exhausted.

We went our own way

Here, it is a question: Is T-90 better? Its modernization is not exhausted? What else can be done as part of its design, layout, dimensions? Well, replaced the cast welded turret, put the French thermal imager, the engine more power, have made some more improvements. But it didn't bring us a futurist tank, rather a featured T-72 (yes, this is not a reservation, because the T-90 - neither more nor less than a deep modernization of T-72B, instigated in the late 80's) to more or less acceptable and conforming to the late twentieth century. Well, what next? Next we need a new tank. In this connection it is worth asking: why did this happen? Why does the Russian (Soviet) tank building is essentially a dead end?

To answer this question we will have to unwind the film  far time ago - before the Second World War. Yes, it all started then. If you do not go into details, we can say that by the end of the war the main participating countries came to ‘two-tank structure’ of its armored forces. Particularly well, understood in the USSR - the average T-34-85 and IS-2 heavy tank. In the U.S. average Sherman and the heavy M26 "Pershing" wormed its way into the light tank M24 "Chaffee". The most amazing thing is that the founders of this two-tank structure were Germans. For some reason, Wehrmacht had three tanks, two secondary - Pz.IV and "Panther" and heavy "Royal Tiger". But it is the German classification. If you take a look at it the other way and ignore the "Royal Tiger" as the Americans M24, the German two-tank scheme - it is just Pz.IV and "Panther." Under the "curtain" of the war two-tank structure began to emerge in the UK. Not according to the classification, but in fact there is also formed a duet - "Comet" and "Centurion". However, two-tank scheme after the war did not last long. Everywhere except in the USSR.

In Germany, it is all clear – two-tank structure disappeared with the tanks. And in the U.S. and UK in the late 40's heavy tanks 40-ton class M26 and "Centurion" reclassified as medium and medium-sized tanks; the 30-ton class ("Sherman" and "Comet") were totally refused. Future tank building in these countries followed a 40-ton class as the basis for basic combat tank. There has been only one very brief digression from the general line - in the late 50's were created heavy tanks M103 (USA) and "Conqueror" (UK) of about 55-ton class. But these machines were quickly abandoned, finally giving way to the main tank. In other Western countries, sometimes via skipping steps, or experimenting, tried to create MBT of 30-ton class, such as Germany and France. But have finished all the same. If you look at countries - producers of tanks, they all eventually embarked on the U.S. and the UK. The only exception is "license" states such as China and India.

And, of course, as always, we just went our own way. Soviet Union did not reclassify medium tanks and saved them as heavy tanks. Mass production of 30-ton class continued. Moreover, the two-tank structure served the longest - until the mid-70s (various tank types were built.) Finally, medium tanks were abandoned, in favour of MBTs.

The situation is exacerbated by rampant desire to separate from industry to create the most-powerful tank.That is better than any other armored and armed machine, the fastest and most passable, with the smallest size. But miracles do not happen. As we have learned in T-80. The desire to reduce the tank size has resulted in a reserved volume that nothing more can be accommodated. That's reminiscent of Russian tanks Christmas tree. A typical example in this respect - Ukrainian MBT T-84 “Oplot-M", demonstrated in 2009. A distinctive feature of the exterior of the tank commander is a panoramic sight, a sort of "water tower" on the roof of the tower. Moreover, the size of this scope are roughly analogous to that of the same "Abrams". But in "Abrams" two thirds of sight are found under the armor, while the Oplot-M - 2/3rd above the armor with all resultant consequences. Under the armour Oplot-M have no place for this panoramic tower, restricted by the volume limitation of domestic tanks from which it is derived-T-80UD. T-90 if equipped with an analogous sight, will too suffer with the same consequences. Very conveniently we discuss about the theoretical advantages of our tanks in connection with the presence in them of optical-electronic suppression; but practically they can be deprived of this advantage by one machine gun burst.

What is the solution? Yes, in general, it lies on the surface. You just have to lower your esteem and create a new tank, the same as everyone. Judging by everything, understanding in this question both in servicemen and in developers exists. Otherwise would not appear on the exhibition in Omsk in 1999 and 2001 tank "Black Eagle". Clearly, this was nothing more than a running model. But on the whole line of thought is correct. What will happen next, let's see.

Michael Baryatinsky


Another propaganda crap..
Abrahms was tested by Pakistan in Zia's era & was rejected because of poor performance in desert terrain. Same can't be said about T-80s

He must have missed the Iraq wars!!! Weren't they fought in a desert terrain????

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