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The T-80 Is Russia’s Most Overrated Tank
译者:unknown     发布时间:2018-10-15     超过 0 位网友阅读



The T-80 Is Russia’s Most Overrated Tank



The T-80 is a glaring lesson in why heavily-armored tanks can hide major weaknesses. Once considered a premium tank by the Russian military establishment, T-80s suffered savage losses to lightly armed guerrillas during the First Chechen War. The tank's reputation never recovered.


It wasn't supposed to be this way. The T-80 was the last main battle tank to come out of the Soviet union  . It was the first Soviet tank to mount a gas turbine engine, giving it a top road speed of 70 kilometers per hour and an efficient power-to-weight ratio of 25.8 horsepower per ton.

这不应该是这样。 T-80是最后一个苏联时代设计定型主战坦克。这是第一个安装燃气涡轮发动机的苏联坦克,它的最高时速为70公里/小时,有效功率/重量比为每吨25.8马力。

This made the standard T-80B one of the most nimble tanks to come out of the 1980s.


The Chechen rebels' combat prowess and poor Russian tactics was more responsible for the T-80's losses than the inherent design. Though, it did have one major flaw. But in the end, it was too expensive and guzzled too much fuel. The Russian military grew to favor the more economical T-72 series instead.

对T-80的损失到底是车臣叛乱分子的战斗能力还是俄罗斯的恶劣战术更应负责任 ,而不是固有的设计。虽然,它确实有一个主要缺陷。但说到底,T-80太昂贵了,消耗燃料太多。俄罗斯军方渐渐倾向于更经济的T-72系列。

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The T-80 was an evolution over its predecessor, the T-64. As the most modern tank design of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the T-64 was a departure from the Soviet penchant for simple armored vehicle designs, such as the T-54/55 and T-62.


For instance, the T-64 was the first Soviet tank to replace human loaders with mechanical autoloaders, reducing the crew from four to three. The T-64's second trend-setting innovation was the introduction of composite armor, which layered ceramics and steel together to provide superior resistance compared to only steel.

例如,T-64是第一个用机械式自动装填机取代人力装弹的苏联坦克,使机组人员从四人减少到三人。 T-64的第二个引领潮流的设计创新是引入了复合装甲,它将陶瓷和钢材层压在一起,与单一钢材相比,提供了出色的防护性能。

Further, the T-64 had lightweight, small diameter all-steel road wheels in contrast to the large, rubber rimmed ones on the T-55 and T-62.


The first mass produced variant, the T-64A, mounted the huge 125-millimeter 2A46 Rapira main gun, which was so popular that it came included on all subsequent Russian tanks … up to the T-90. Remarkably, the T-64A packed all of this potential into a petite 37-ton package?relatively light for a tank of this size.

第一个大规模生产改进型号T-64A装备了巨大的125毫米2A46 Rapira主炮,它非常受欢迎,以至于它被安装到了随后的所有俄罗斯坦克中......直到T-90。值得注意的是,T-64A将所有这些潜力都打造成了一个小巧的只有37吨重的坦克中,对于这种尺寸的坦克来说相对较轻。

But as marvelous as these innovations were, the T-64 had a sensitive 5TDF engine and unusual suspension?both prone to breaking down. As a result, the Soviet army deliberately assigned the tanks to units stationed close to its manufacturing plant in Kharkov.


Even worse, rumors circulated that the T-64's new autoloader chomped off the arms of crew members who strayed too close. It's a plausible scenario given the T-64's tiny internal space.


While fixing the T-64A's automotive maladies, the Soviets developed an interest in developing a new tank with a gas turbine engine. Gas turbines have high acceleration and an efficient power-to-weight ratio, can start quickly in cold weather without prior warm-up?a necessity in Russia's frigid winters?and they're lightweight.


On the downside, gas turbines guzzle fuel and have higher susceptibility to dirt and dust owing to their voracious air intake compared to conventional diesels.


The original base model T-80 didn't enter active service until 1976?much later than planned. The Soviet tank industry had its hands full working out the T-64A's kinks and gearing up for producing the T-72 as a cheaper backup option. At the same time, the Soviets were building more T-55s and T-62s for Arab allies which had lost hundreds of tanks during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.


The early-model T-80s also had their problems. In November 1975, the USSR's then defense minister Andrei Grechko blocked the tank's production because of its wasteful fuel consumption and few firepower advancements over the T-64A. Five more months passed before Grechko's successor, Dmitriy Ustinov, authorized the new tank to go into production.

早期型号的T-80也存在问题。 1975年11月,当时的苏联时任国防部长安德烈·格列奇科阻止了坦克的生产,因为其浪费的燃料消耗和火力相比T-64A上几乎没有提升。在Grechko的继任者Dmitriy Ustinov上任5个月后授权新坦克投入生产。

The original T-80's production line continued for two years?not long?as it was already outclassed by the T-64B tank, which featured a new fire control system that could fire 9M112 Kobra missiles from its main gun. More serious, the T-80 was nearly three-and-a-half times more expensive than the T-64A.

最初的T-80生产线持续了两年,不久之后它被T-64B坦克所取代,后者配备了一种新的火控系统,可以从主炮中发射9M112 Kobra导弹。更糟糕的是,T-80比T-64A贵了近三成半。

The T-80B succeeded the baseline model in 1978. As the most advanced “premium tank” in the East, the Soviets beginning in 1981 assigned most T-80Bs to its highest risk garrison?the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.

T-80B于1978年成功实现了基础定型。作为东部最先进的“高级坦克”,1981年开始苏联将大部分T-80B分配给其面临北约最高军事威胁的驻军 - 苏联驻东德的军队。

Its high speed earned it the nickname “Tank of the English Channel.” In Soviet war game calculations, T-80Bs were able to reach the Atlantic coast within five days?assuming that they didn't run out of fuel.


This new variant borrowed from the T-64. In addition to firing conventional sabot, shaped charge and anti-personnel fragmentation shells, the T-80B's 125-millimeter 2A46M-1 smoothbore gun could launch the same 9K112 Kobra missiles.

这个新的改进型号借鉴了T-64。 T-80B的125毫米2A46M-1滑膛枪除了发射常规弹头,塑形弹药和杀伤人员碎片弹外,还可以发射相同的9K112 Kobra导弹。

Since this anti-tank guided missile was considerably more expensive than regular tank shells, the tank only carried four missiles compared to 38 shells. The missiles were intended to swat down attack helicopters or ATGM-capable vehicles beyond the range of the T-80B's conventional gun rounds.


A coaxial 7.62 x 54-millimeter PKT and 12.7 x 108-millimeter NSVT Utes machine gun for the commander's cupola rounded off the tank's anti-personnel weapons.

炮塔上的同轴7.62 x 54毫米PKT和12.7 x 108毫米NSVT Utes机枪是坦克装备的反步兵武器。

While the T-80B boasted advanced composite armor, it had even greater protection through its Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor, or ERA. Arranged in the same horizontal layers as late production T-72A tanks, ERA-equipped T-80Bs were called T-80BVs.


In 1987, the T-80U succeeded the T-80B in production, if not absolute numbers.


Externally, the T-80U mounted Kontakt-5 reactive armor. This was an improvement over Kontakt-1?which used an add-on array of explosive filled shingles. Instead, Kontakt-5 was a factory applied set of plates pointing forward to maximize the deflection angle of incoming rounds. Kontakt-1 was only useful against shaped charge warheads, while Kontakt-5 added resistance to kinetic energy sabot rounds as well.

在外部,T-80U安装了Kontakt-5反应式装甲。与Kontakt-1相比,这是一个改进,它使用了一个装满炸药的反应装甲的附加阵列。相反,Kontakt-5是反应装甲的前面板指向偏转角度以最大化优势抵消了前方来袭弹药的侵彻力。 Kontakt-1仅用于对付异形弹头,而Kontakt-5对动能弹头也增加抵抗力。

Internally, the T-80U traded the T-80B's 1A33 fire control system for the more advanced 1A45. The engineers swapped out the Kobra missiles with the laser-guided 9K119 Refleks guided missile?a more reliable, longer range and harder hitting weapon. T-80Us crammed in seven more rounds of 125-millimeter shells than the T-80B.

在内部,T-80U替换了T-80B的1A33火控系统,用于更先进的1A45。工程师用激光制导的9K119 Refleks导弹替换了Kobra导弹,这是一种更可靠,射程更远,射程更远的武器。与T-80B相比,T-80U又多了七发125毫米炮弹。

But the T-80U didn't last long in production. Its new GTD-1250 turbine was still too fuel hungry and maintenance heavy. In its place came the diesel powered T-80UD. This represented the last T-80 variant to be produced in the Soviet union  . It was also the first of its kind to see action outside of a training school … if “action” meant blasting tank shells into the Russian parliament to settle the October 1993 constitutional crisis.


The December 1994 separatist war in Chechnya was the first action for the T-80 where the shooting was going both ways … and it was an epic disaster.


When rebels in Chechnya declared their country's independence, Russian president Boris Yeltsin ordered troops to bring the former Soviet republic back to the fold by force. These troops took T-80Bs and BVs with them. The soldiers had never trained with the T-80 before. Ignorant of the new tank's gluttony for fuel, they ran their engines dry while idling.


The Russian advance into the Chechen capital Grozny was a near massacre for the invaders?nearly 1,000 soldiers died and 200 vehicles were destroyed from Dec. 31, 1994, to the following New Year's Day evening. As the most advanced vehicle in the Russian assault force, the T-80B and T-80BVs suffered horrific losses.


While impervious to direct frontal hits, dozens of these tanks were destroyed in catastrophic explosions, their turrets blowing off after sustaining multiple strikes from the Chechen rebels' RPG-7V and RPG-18 rocket launchers.


It turned out?the T-80's Korzhina autoloader had a fatal design flaw. The autoloader stored ready propellant in a vertical position, with only the tank's road wheels partially protecting it. RPGs striking the T-80 in the sides above the road wheels were likely to set off the propellant, resulting in the tank's explosive decapitation.


In this respect, the T-72A and Bs?which received the same kind of punishment?had a marginally higher probability of surviving flanking strikes because their autoloaders stored propellant in a horizontal position below the rims of their road wheels.


A second major fault of the T-80, like previous Russian tanks, was minimal gun elevation and depression. The tank's gun could not fire back at rebels shooting from upper story rooms or basements.


To be fair, T-80 casualties were more likely the fault of ill-prepared crews, inadequate training and disastrous tactics. Such was the haste of Russia's rush to war that T-80BVs entered Grozny without the explosive filler in their reactive armor panels, making the armor useless. It was even alleged that some soldiers sold off the explosive inserts to supplement their salaries.


The Soviet army had long forgotten the hard lessons of urban warfare from World War II. During the Cold War, only Spetsnaz commandos and the Berlin garrison had trained for serious city fighting. Expecting little resistance, Russian forces drove into Grozny with infantry buttoned up inside their BMP and BTR transports. Their commanders got lost because they didn't have proper maps.


Since Russian soldiers were reluctant to exit their transports and clear buildings room by room, their Chechen adversaries who knew the weaknesses of Russian vehicles from Soviet-era conscription were free to turn the tanks and other armored vehicles into crematoriums.


It was easy for the Russian high command to blame the T-80's design for the Chechen disaster?as opposed to clumsy operational planning and tactical inadequacies. But ultimately, it was a lack of money which caused the cheaper T-72 to displace the T-80 as the preferred choice for Russia's export sales and its post-Chechen wars.


When the Soviet union   collapsed, Russia lost the T-80UD production plant in Kharkov to the newly independent Ukraine. The T-80U factory at Omsk declined into bankruptcy, while the Leningrad LKZ plant no longer made the earlier T-80BV.


For Russia to have three tank types?the T-72 (A and B), T-80 (BV, U and UD) and T-90 (a rebrand of the T-72BU) made no financial or logistical sense. Each tank had the same 125-millimeter 2A46M gun and similarly performing gun-launched missiles. But they all had different engines, fire control systems and chassis.


In simpler terms, these tanks offered commonality in capabilities but diversity in spare parts, rather than common spare parts and diversity of capabilities. Since the T-80U was far more expensive than the T-72B, it was only logical for a cash-strapped Russia to favor the T-72.


But Moscow continued to experiment with its T-80s, adding active protection systems?which use millimeter-wave radar to track incoming missiles before launching explosive countermeasures. The resulting T-80UM-1 Bars was revealed in 1997 but did not enter production, probably again because of budget cuts.


Russia did not use the T-80 during the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000, or the brief 2008 conflict with Georgia?as far as we know. T-80s have so far not joined the war in Ukraine.



...and this is why it is so hard to be scared of any of Putin's new wonder weapons. Russia is attempting to move to a Western style professional army but it is not going well and is behind schedule. They still depend on an undisciplined conscript army. The T-80 was the wonder weapon of the time and once in battle its shortcomings came out

.这就是为什么要害怕普京的新奇迹武器的原因。俄罗斯正试图转向西方式的职业军队,但进展不顺利,进度落后。他们仍然依靠一支无纪律的征兵队伍。 T-80是当时的优秀的武器,曾经在战斗中出现缺陷。

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