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steppewolfRO last won the day on January 20 2017

steppewolfRO had the most liked content!

About steppewolfRO

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 08/10/1977

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    Rugby, Military History, Law
  1. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    Back from vacation and I'll probably resume in week-end. About BDD-type NERA on TR-85 first upgrade prototype, it was based on comparison with T-55s additional armor. It was the only technology available additional armor to copy therefore I doubt what is on the first TR-85 upgrade prototype it was very different hence my conclusion. Mind you, I specified in my first post I don't have technical knowledge/education and I may make mistakes. Thanks for the scan from Jane's , this is new for me and very helpful, especially the upgrade package of T-55 about I knew it was available and some tanks were upgraded but I didn't know what contained. Btw, do you know that in late 80s they planned to upgrade T-34s with with equipment which was replaced on T-55 with Romanian package and give those old tanks to Patriotic Guards as light tanks/fire support vehicle? Plenty of ammo was available in depot so it was no point to phase them out but rather use them for militia units. One prototype was made in 1985, it was stored at Tanks Military School from Pitesti until early 90s when all old tanks were phased out. Sadly, no photo is available.
  2. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    Than why in page 14 are mentioned laser range finders on them? https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP84T00926R000200100004-8.pdf
  3. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    Depends what are these, TR-77 or TR-85. To me it looks like they're TR-77:
  4. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    The tank in the picture is TR-85M1 which is a middle 90s upgrade. This is the first upgrade prototype from late 80s and it is a bit different; it's the first time when additional armor was put on a Romanian tank which also looks different than the one from your picture. The source of info regarding TR-125 is Romanian wikipedia which gives the following: 380 mm stratified RHAe (chassis) 600 mm RHAe with additional armor (turret) I haven't seen pictures with the additional armor however I have seen mentioned in various occasions as being 20 mm. Assuming that from one tank to the other various components were used, I think the most logical explanation is that they used something which was incorporated in TR-85M1A proto from 1987 as these two seemed to be developed in the same time. About additional armor type I'll have to dig in my documents to see from where I got it.
  5. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    It's a typo, thanks! However, TR-77 was supposed to received 800 HP engine as well so I suppose that it could have been named TR-77-800 given the designation habit of Romanian army. The variant with elongated turret was too heavy for 580 HP engine and thus quite slow, albeit the space in the turret was more generous.
  6. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    TR-125 This is a MBT which design started in 1984 and was supposed to replace TR series and T-55s in armored and mechanized units of Romanian Army. In 1979 Romania bought T-72M and equipped a regiment in order to evaluate the product. It isn’t clear if the license to produce T-72s was requested and Soviet refused or we felt confident after making TR-77 and TR-85, however the designing of this new tank, a true MBT started in 1984 and first prototype was made in 1987. It is designed in the same manner as previous Romanian models compared with Soviet counterparts meaning more powerful armor and inspiration from Western MBTs designs, not only from Soviet ones. Very little was known about this prototype until last year when one of it was refurbished by the plant who made them and exposed to Military Museum along with a T-72 nearby, to highlight the differences. Maneuverability: These prototypes used a 900 HP engine designed in Romania with some West-German inspiration but in truth it was a Romanian design. The engineers who made it extensively studied Western engines from other tanks (Maybach 331 from Leopard, Continental AVDS-1790-2 V12 from M60). Other sources claim that it is an illegal clone of MB 838. The vehicle has a modified suspension with seven pairs of wheels, unlike the T-72 and most tanks based on it which have six. This allowed the hull to be stretched by 1 m and installation of a more powerful 850-900 HP diesel engine 8VSA3. The tank features seven road wheels. The engine compartment is slightly longer. Just like the Leopard 1, the TR-125 features two large exhaust grills on the hull sides. Besides suspension and modified hull rear, the TR-125 can also be identified by the heavy side skirts used. They are much more robust than the light rubber ones used with the T-72. The turret was a bit more difficult. There are claims who said it’s just a copy of a T-72M turret including the more modern TPD-K1 sight but there was never recorded such import from Soviet Union and just looking at pictures, the lines of the turret, the disposal of various scopes and equipment is rather different compared with the Soviet tank. TR-125 turret (somewhere in early 90s) T-72M turret: Some technical info: Ground clearance: 425 mm and new tracks design compared with T-72. Length of tracks adherence on ground: 4550 mm Gauge between tracks: 2800 mm Maximum speed: 60k/h Specific power: 18,75 HP/t – it maintains the same as T-72 although is better armored thus heavier. Weight: 48 ton Autonomy: 550 km (660 km with additional barrels) Engine: 8VSA3 diesel, eight-cylinder, turbocharged Transmission: hydro-mechanical, automatic Suspension: Torsion bar The tracks are double-pin and resemble with T-80/T-64 rather than with T-72/T-62 tracks. In 1989 it was in development a new engine of 1100 HP but it was interrupted and finally dropped in the middle 90s along with the entire TR-125 program. Armor: Turret armor is composite and have the following thickness, without any additional armor: Fontal: 400 mm Lateral: between 100 – 320 mm Back: 55 mm Top: 30 – 45 mm Chassis armor: - Frontal superior plaque (stratified): 200 mm - Fontal inferior plaque: 80 mm - Lateral: 55 mm - Back: 45 mm - Floor: 20 mm Tungsten was one of the metals used in armor composition, Romania being a producer (7000 tons/yearly at the level of 1989) and this was used also for ammunition penetrators or other type of ammo (bomblets for cluster bombs). There are no official reports about the composition of armor but an engineering calculation of weight compared to the volume and surfaces of TR-125 suggests that it weight more than it should and it may be because of the density of the alloy used in armor. The armour has been massively improved thanks to stratified and composite armor on the turret and armored side skirts instead of rubber. Most sources claim this armor to be 570mm RHA, and if we assume it is RHAe against KE, then according to Wikipedia (that isn't entirely reliable but should be in this case), the TR-125 has even better armor than the T-72B that has 520–540 mm against KE on the turret. Also the composition of the armor was quite complex and Chinese expertise was used along with some rare/uncommon materials such as tungsten, rubber, ceramics etc. Much of the equipment of the plant that produced it was provided by China. Wiki gives the following values but to my knowledge there’s no official Romanian source which provide this values so it may be only an estimation: 380 mm RHAe stratified (chassis) Over 600 mm RHAe composite (turret) Gun/FCS/Ammo: The turret and the loading mechanism were developed by ICSITEM research institute from Bucharest, while the chassis was designed by ACSIT–P 124 from the F.M.G.S. (FMGS stands for "Fabrica de Mașini Grele Speciale" - Special Heavy Equipment Factory) division of the "23rd August" (now known as FAUR) factory from Bucharest. The gun was hydraulically stabilized in two planes. The equipment included laser rangefinder, a new carousel for automatic loading of the gun (which had a rate of at least 8 rounds per minute), ballistic computer, laser illumination warning system and automatic launch barrels smoke grenades in the event of activation of the laser sensors. The 125mm A555 smoothbore tank gun was developed by Arsenal Reșița factory. After the project was abandoned the guns were sold to Poland which was developing at that time PT-91 Twardy. Contrary to the rumors, it was a very good weapon with excellent performance. Since it wasn't operational due to 1989 events mainly there is not clear info about the penetration value. The gun was heavily tested and compared with T-72M gun performance and over 2200 meters it was clearly much much better. It was designed some sort of black box for testing and based on the data gathered the tank was fine tuned for every type of ammo or distance since, as I mentioned, the Romanian tanks were built around gun and FCS and guided missiles such as Kobra, Svir etc. were not on the list of acquisitions. It is important to highlight the political situation when this tank was manufactured. After 1985 Ceausescu was continuously speaking about disarmament and believed that Romania had to set an example by reducing military spending, including research and design of new models and these new projects continued only after pressure from the Ministry of Defense and often too zealous politicians made harder the design and development of various products. For example, the cannon was originally considered a fiasco because it does not have the same performance at 5000 m and 2000 m. In fact it was a very good gun and it was one of the first parts of this tank which was approved for full production. Used to be many anecdotes about Communist politicians without technical knowledge involvement in various industry branches, sadly some of them started from true stories. Also some sources claim poor mechanical parts however, those were inherent issues with a prototype. For example, one of the engineers who developed the engine stated in an article that main issue come from the fact that after 1985 any import of industrial products was forbidden and it was an obsession to manufacture everything in the country. For example, the engine lacked quality simmerrings (rubber gaskets?) and after hundreds of kilometers started to lose oil but after a hard bureaucratic effort import ones were used and the issues of the engine were solved. Than the claim that German engine was illegally obtained is probably false. It’s only mentioned in one of Pacepa’s books but nobody remember such an espionage action. The M60 engine is said to be obtained from Israel. Regarding ammo, it was manufactured a 125 mm round stabilized trough tail wings, both cumulative and HE and a sub-caliber round when the project was stopped although the gun and ammo was deemed as ready to enter production (so not a prototype anymore). TR-85 already had an APFSDS round available in 1989. Autoloader was copied from T-72 one and has a rate of fire of 8 rounds/minute and allegedly it was locally improved and jamming didn’t occur so often as with T-72. To be continued.
  7. steppewolfRO

    Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

    TR-85-800 Next Romanian tank, with much better performance was the TR-85-800, which was presented first in 1982. The design started in 1978 and it was built until 1986. In it a redesign of TR-77-580. It solved the issues of the first tank built by Romania, mainly the engine and some fine tunning (mechanical problems, stratified armor in frontal glacis, FCS). It had an 830 HP engine, with improved features. Production was 100 tanks per year. I’ll mainly describe the improvements over TR-77-580. To keep the post concise I'll only highlight the improvements. This is the first batch presented at a military parade in 1984 Armor: The armour of the TR-85M1 tank has a maximum thickness of 200 mm (composite frontal/multilayered) for the hull and 320 + 20 mm (composite) add-on armour on the turret (for upgraded variant). The 20 mm add-on armour is BDD-type NERA for the TR-85M1 upgrade. For the armor new machinery from China was acquired and used at the "23 August" Mechanical Plant so even it has the same thickness as TR-77 probably it was made of better alloys/compositions. I couldn't find any data regarding the composition of the armor of Romanian tanks. Gun: It is about the same gun as TR-77 but it was further improved with retrofitted with a bore evacuator and has a thermal sleeve. Ammo used was the same as TR-77 and also an APFSDS before buying license for Israeli M-309-10 (Jane’s link referring to the round that Israeli one replaced is no longer available but I suspect it used tungsten since Romania is extracting this metal which was widely used in military field before 1989 when we had an industry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TR-85#cite_note-M309-10 TR-85-800 during 1989 events: The gun received a new thermal sleeve and the FCS is now the Ciclop, developed with Chinese help, with a copy of the Yangzhou LRF and vastly improved stabs. Maneuverability: It has an 830 HP engine, hydraulic transmission, built in a similar way with Western tanks, in the same block. On wiki page it is mentioned that the designers inspired from technology acquire by secret services led by infamous Mr. Pacepa (spy defector) but in fact the engine was developed locally and in the design process Romania was assisted by German (MTU engine), Israeli or Chinese engineers. This improves the poor 50 km/h top speed of TR-77 to a very decent 60 km/h. Not as fast as most NATO tanks, but still as fast as a T-72M. TR-85M1A – 1988 This was the first modernization program of the TR-85 with new technologies which were under development for TR-125. The turret received more 20mm of composite armor (allegedly included tungsten), so armor would be improved. The tank received a new Ciclop - M FCS the first version of the modernized version of Ciclop which was later made for TR-85M1 and the turret rear has been elongated to facilitate ammo storage and loading. Also it has a the day-night vision system with built-in laser rangefinder into the sighting lunette and stabilized sighting line, installation of illumination laser and radar warning IAIL from which later it was developed the system from TR-85M1, various periscopes. Some equipment was in development in 1989 and was kept until Army decided to develop the new version with French expertise (basically Leclerc stuff) in middle 90s. However, some of the equipment used was Romanian. Here are some pictures with various devices (the exposition was closed in late 90s for good) and there is no info available with what happened with all those devices. Please note that I barely find info about what are those devices so I might be wrong as I'm not an engineer. This is raw data I compiled from various sources and discussions; the websites of producer, which are different companies nowdays only show devices in actual form and not what was made in 80s/90s. TR-85-800 M1A IAIL-1 It was composed of three blocks detection, block signaling device operation and control panel wiring. Total weight was 30 kg, acceptable to those times, and unheeded to the total weight of a tank (installation IAIL-E helicopter weighed much less, requiring no shielding blocks for receivers). The plant was fueled by the wiring of the tank, operate continuously 24 hours. System was capable of warning against laser designation, the wavelengths of 0.4 to 1.1 micrometers, 12 directions horizontally and 3 in Vertical plan. Inertial navigation system for tanks. I could find only one photo of parts of a later development, a receptor Various sighting and night vision systems for armoured units and infantry. Observation device Observation device Periscope binocular telescope to the gunner or commander Passive night vision system another type of night vision system Aiming / sighting device for gunner Periscope with anti-laser filter for gunner/commander Modular light amplifier periscope CICLOP-M FCS Laser telemetry is integrated into the SCF which was made in Romania and only the light sources for laser were imported; Not sure what is it, may be the laser range finder with integrated sighting/aiming device? Videos with non-upgraded TR-85s are quite rare, here is one:
  8. The idea to produce a Romanian MBT was considered after 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and it started at the beginning of 70s when Romanian Communist Party embarked in an effort of industrialization of the country. Along with MBTs, an entire variety of armored vehicle was produced ranging from APCs and IFVs to SPGs. I'll start with tanks and I will gradually add posts to this thread. Keep in mind that I am not a specialist and I am open to advice/suggestions. There is very little reliable info available online, some sources give contradictory information but I’ve selected the info from reliable sites and included some considerations of military personnel who served on this tank or worked in the said factories(mainly from http://www.rumaniamilitary.ro website articles and comments); I tried to avoid internet articles, some are poorly documented and contain mistakes and even urban legends. Pretty often Romanian TR tanks series are mistakenly considered T-55s local copies which is quite wrong. Although Romania received the license of T-55 from USSR, it never produced this tank but rather imported it from USSR and Czechoslovakia due to WP internal rules of importing equipment of each other. The Czechoslovak products were preferred due to their better quality/reliability. TR-77-580 The first Romanian tank project yielded results in 1972, as a strategic part of the national defense doctrine. One of the reasons for which Romania’s political leadership accelerated industrialization was for military purposes, including tanks. The first Romanian tank was supposed to be medium one, with a 500 hp engine and was to be named with the TR designation, an acronym for Romanian Tank. The factory was supposed to be located in Marsa, in Sibiu county, in Romania’s western area however subsequently staff and production were moved to ‘August 23rd’ Enterprises in Bucharest where it were put into use various machines received from China. Another reason was the fact that Romanian Army did not considered T-55s as suitable for its doctrine and they requested a better armored medium, with better cabin for crew, better armor, NBC, anti-nuke protection and more ammo stored and better firepower. The only chapter were the first series (TR-77-850) failed was the maneuverability since the tank was 11 tons heavier and only the second generation engine of 850 HP solved this issue (middle 80s). The fist experimental model, the TR-77, came out in 1976, as a pre-mass production. After tests, the TR-77-580 came out and that same year, mass production started, with a target of 210 tanks a year. Compared with T-55, Romanian TR-77-580 had a stretched hull and an extra road wheel on each side to be able to fit the new engine, but the first series received the 580 HP engine and only later the 800 HP was gradually added. Just by looking at the tank, you may be mistaken that it was either a T-54 or a T-55, however this is basically a T-55 on steroids with double the armor, lengthened hull, a domestic anti-tank gun that looks similar to the D-10T (which was continuously improved and developed until 90s), and two extra pairs of roadwheels that are smaller in diameter. Armor: Unlike the T-55, the TR-77 got a thick stratified armor with 320mm on the turret front, and 200mm of armor on the hull (2 100mm plates), along with armored side skirts unlike the rubber side skirts of the T-55AM. This is already superior to the nominal armor of any other tank of its category with just RHA, and stratified armor is of course even better. The armor was theoretically better than the M60A1, T-62, Leopard I, and even the Chieftain. The use of a frontal 200 mm was at first controversial, and had a direct impact on the weight, of around three tons. Chief feature of the series is more than double the armor of T-55 using new technologies. At 200 mm thickness, it surpasses M60 even if only laminated type of armor; turret has 320 mm stratified which makes it one of the best armored tanks compared with most Western models of the same era. Gun: The TR-77-580 is armed with Romanian rifled 100mm A308 which is a variant of the 100mm anti-tank gun (M1977/A307) which also had a naval version (A430). It used 100mm BM 412 Sg ammunition that some sites claim that it is APDS but it’s mainly said to be a form of APFSDS ammunition. This ammo come later into service, at the same time with TR-85 (which was developed in middle 80s based on the experience acquired with TR-77 and using Chinese help). Other ammo used was BK-412 as HEAT ammunition, OF 412 as HE. It has a stabilizer, electric horizontally and hydraulic vertically. The gun itself was very resistant and it wasn’t uncommon to shot 250 rounds to a single exercise which I think says a lot about its durability. Rate of fire is from 7 to 15 rounds per minute, limited only by loader and muzzle velocity is 900 m/s for HE and 1400 m/s for APFSDS-T. Maneuverability: During its development, TR-77-580 was designed for a 830-860 hp engine allegedly derived from the Leopard I. Also Romanian engineers studied Israeli Centurions captured by Syria. This was partially the reason why the tank was lengthened and why it has 2 more road wheels than the T-55 and later it was upgraded with new engine and these variants were named TR-800/TM-800. For the first series it was used a local copy of the T-55’s V-55U engine which put out about 580 HP hence the name of the tank. The TR-77-580’s road wheels are evenly spaced out while the TR-800/TM-800 and the TR-85 has 2 widely spaced out wheels in the front while the back 4 are very close together. The delay in development of the 860 HP engine made the acceleration weaker than T-55s one. Probably mobility wise it is on par with Chieftain. Variants: TR-77-580 – Basic variant, chief feature of the series is more than double the armor of T-55 and is stratified. At 200 mm thickness, it surpasses M60 and deserves 12 FAV; turret has 320 mm stratified; It could be seen in the first pictures from this post. TR-77-580M – One of the first upgrades was to a LRF and ballistic computer; here is a pic with a TR-77-580 TR-77-580M1 – Main feature was its back elongated turret for better accommodation of crew, more ammo stored which would result in a better ROF than T-55s (9 rounds per minute). The pic shows one stripped of equipment and ready to be phased out; The number of tanks of this variant was small because they considered that it needs the 800 HP engine first. It was tested in 1979 by 912th Tank Battalion in Murfatlar although other sources claim is a late model. In middle/late 80s this model received 830 HP engine. The models in the photos are now exposed in a military units (not active anymore) and are stripped of equipment (skirts, boxes, MG, periscopes, IR projector, thermal sleeve and bore evacuator on the gun). Starting in 1983, a decision was made to raise the number of produced tanks to 500, once the new TR-85 model came out. By 1985, only 406 Romanian TR-77-580 tanks were made. To resume this tank weighed 42 tons, had a 580 hp Diesel engine, a top speed of 50 km/h, and a range of 380 km. It had an electric-hydraulic stabilizing system and 200 mm armor on frontal glacis and 380 mm stratified one on turret. Its armament was a 100 mm cannon that could fire six shots a minute, two machine guns and a crew of 4.
  9. steppewolfRO

    Developing Situation in Moldova

    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/putin-s-old-moldova-map-alarms-romania-01-18-2017 Just another topic of the eternal discussion on how to dismantle Romania.
  10. steppewolfRO

    Wargame Thread

    Hah, I didn't noticed you reply either. Meanwhile the Maglan was nerfed and it makes rather balanced. What hurts a lot Israel is lack of long range AA and you might have problems with Ka-52s or Mi-28 or newer ATGM planes like Su-27M but still is one of the best nation in game. ATGMs and planes may ruin game balance. Meanwhile Yugoslavia and Finland were added. Yugos are quite strong and overmodeled in some areas like the heavy recon tank, Super Galeb and 2005 Bumbar missile. Airmobile/moto openings aren't the best. Finland imo is awful ; although they have some strong units, it lacks in many areas since Finland have some interdiction trough Paris peace treaty to acquire some categories of military equipment (e.g. bombers). Imo Finland was added mostly due to lobby of numerous Finnish players rather than in merit and it was added to REDFOR since there was more open space to add nations. Finnish Moto/Baltic Front Moto might be an interesting deck tough. However, it's hilarious to have the best F-18 ASF in the game in Finnish Redfor decks.
  11. No prob, glad to help ! maybe I'll have time to read this forums more often, end of year was horrific. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!
  12. steppewolfRO

    Sounds of Romania

    More Jazz from 70s-80s. This time Marius Popp Panoramic - 1977 Gordian Knot - 1983
  13. steppewolfRO

    WoT v WT effort-thread

    Well, one day I'll have to try this game
  14. steppewolfRO

    2016 Presidential Election Thread Archive

    What I wrote to you was this: However, on GOT, I can see the Dragon and Jon's wildling's army with bear skins joining forces on a rush toward the Iron Throne so I can agree that a wall wouldn't have any meaning to keep Dornish out. What do you mean by keeping the White Walkers out? They're already in. On elections now, the anti-system clown won. It doesn't say much about the future diet over there but I am optimistic because occasional diarrhea is normally better than chronic constipation.
  15. steppewolfRO

    2016 Presidential Election Thread Archive

    Well, I didn't thought to compare US with Iron Islands or other tiny realm that's why I picked Cersei and White Walkers. Cersei is Queen without any legitimacy, so was HRC in polls, media etc. @Belisarius: I also noticed a change of tone in his speech, it was conciliatory which gives me reasons to hope that not all those silly things he said in campaign won't actually happen. I still don't like this guy at all although I do sympathize with Republicans generally from my distant foreign observer. I won't suddenly change my view on him now that he won. Last evening it was a party at Bucharest Hard Rock Cafe, Election night, organized by the embassy. I talked with a friend who was there (he rates himself as an independent, never votes) and he said the hit of the night was "I will survive" and it looked like Titanic. Few thoughts discussed in Romania during this electoral campaign: - US is the only serious warrant of security for Romania and the partnership is paramount and some consider is even more important or assuring than NATO membership; also Romania is one of the most pro-american countries in Europe. - HRC was main option due to her engagement to support US allies; anyway, even with Trump declaration, people seem pretty relaxed since there is an agreement between parties to spend at least 2% from GDP on defense and this is a decision taken from some years, first acquisitions being already made/decided (F-16s, Sigma corvettes, Spike missiles) while others are on debate (new APC, new MBT, more jets, SPGs, new MLRS etc.) - We discovered we aren't the only people who have two choose between the lesser damaging personality. - Moderate trust in US system checks and balances. - Horror, we don't have an anti-system or extremist candidate/party to have the slightest chance to make it into the Parliament or into a significant public office with parliamentary elections one month away so again we aren't on the same step with the Western world.