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T___A posted a topic in Mechanized WarfareThis shall be the general thread for all things soviet tanks. I shall start by posting an article I just wrote for my blog. I would recommend Archive Awarness which is an excellent blog about Soviet tanks and their experiences with other nation's tanks.
BM "Oplot" Ukrainian designers managed to make biggest panoramic sight i ever saw - overall weight of it is reaching 500 kg. Oplot-M, or BM "Oplot" after addoption to service in Ukrainian army, is Ukrainian MBT based on another Ukrainian MBT - T-84 "Oplot", which is Soviet-designed T-80UD with some modifications. BM Oplot was designed by Morozov Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau and produced by Malyshev factory. Chief designer of BM Oplot - Mikhail Dem'yanovich Borisuk (he was born in 1934, BTW). It have several features, separating it from T-80UD, T-90A and T-84. Engine is new 6 cylinder 6TD-2E 1200 HP diesel with lowered smokiness and exhaust toxicity (wich is a problem for Kharkov engines) in new engine-transmission compartment (which is 2 part - lower is for engine itself and upper part is for big airfilters, which are needed because of how much air 6TD "eats"), new sort-of automatical transmission. Tank is equipped with new navigation systems, FCS, panoramic sight for commander with day and night (thermal imager) capabilities, new remotely controlled KT-12.7 12.7 mm HMG for commander, new gunner sights, which bring it to modern level of how tank should be equipped. A lot of that equipment is made not in Ukraine. From the side BM Oplot looks different from Soviet T-64-like MBTs. Main gun is not really different from 2A46 125 mm guns of T-72/ T-80/T-90 series of tanks, 125 mm KBA-3 L48 gun with autoloader for 28 shots (46 in total is carried). Main gun can fire HE, HEAT, APFSDS, GL-ATGMs (Ukrainian "Kombat" missiles). AFAIK part of ammunition is carried outside of the tank, in turret "basket", mounted to the rear part of it. Nothing really fancy here, 5 km range with ATGMs, up to 2.5-2.8 km effective range with APFSDS, which is standart for late Soviet and current Russian MBTs like T-72B3, T-80UE and different models of the T-90. Vehicle is also equipped with Ukrainian version/local variant of Shtora system - "Varta", with additional laser-warning sensors on the turret sides. BM-Oplot use somewhat unusual type of ERA (which is most interesting feature of that tank) - ~layered ERA named "Duplet". It is rumored that it can defeat tandem HEAT warheads like PG-7VR and PG-29V. Vehicle sides are also covered by Duplet ERA. Note that the hull UFP is covered by differently shaped blocks of ERA (long and narrow). How much it is effective is unknown, but designers claim that it can defeat tandem HEAT warheads, EFP and APFSDS projectiles. Upper frontal hull armor layout: Side ERA modules: Overall, BM Oplot is tank with better perfomance than T-80UD thanks to improvements in electronics and FCS, engine, transmission, driver controls, new ERA and better side armor, and in some areas this vehicle can be superioir to T-72B3 (latest Russian serial produced modification of the T-72 MBT, although it wasn't best proposed modification for it). But..., there is always "but" - it is vehicle that Ukraine can not produce in any serious numbers, as their one and only contract with Thai army showed - out of 95 BM Oplot ordered in 2011 only 5-6 were delivered to this day. During trials in Thailand Kombat GL-ATGMs also showed not very good results - AFAIK out of 5 test firings, 2 missiles exploded before reaching targets. Another interesting fact about that tank is that no BM Oplot MBTs are presented on battlefields of Eastern Ukraine - T-64 and T-72s are primary tanks of the VSU. Seems to me Ukraine is either can't service them, or simply can't produce them in a first place. Oplot-BM on trials in Pakistan. No accurate information on results, rumors say that Chinese VT-4 won that competition. Oplot-BMs for Thai army on prooving ground.
Hello, my friends and Kharkovites, take a sit and be ready for your brains to start to work - we are going to tell you a terrible secret of how to tell apart Soviet tanks that actually works like GLORIOUS T-80 and The Mighty T-72 from Kharkovites attempt to make a tank - the T-64. Many of capitalists Westerners have hard time understanding what tank is in front of them, even when they know smart words like "Kontakt-5" ERA. Ignoramus westerners! Because you are all were raised in several hundreds years old capitalism system all of you are blind consumer dummies, that need big noisy labels and shiny colorful things to be attached to product X to be sold to your ignorant heads and wallets, thats why we will need to start with basics. BASICS, DA? First - how to identify to which tank "family" particular MBT belongs to - to T-64 tree, or T-72 line, or Superior T-80 development project, vehicles that don't have big APPLE logo on them for you to understand what is in front of you. And how you can do it in your home without access to your local commie tank nerd? Easy! Use this Putin approved guide "How to tell appart different families of Soviet and Russian tanks from each other using simple and easy to spot external features in 4 steps: a guide for ignorant western journalists and chairborn generals to not suck in their in-depth discussions on the Internet". Chapter 1: Where to look, what to see. T-64 - The Ugly Kharkovite tank that doesn't work We will begin with T-64, a Kharkovite attempt to make a tank, which was so successful that Ural started to work on their replacement for T-64 known as T-72. Forget about different models of T-64, let's see what is similar between all of them. Almost all T-64s have 1 thing in common - chassis. It includes Kharkovites-made suspension and Khrakovites-made engine compartment. Let's begin with suspension! Look at those puny all-metal stamped aluminium rollers with huge gaps between each other, those are rollers not for a real tank! They are so narrow! Definitely to work as self-digging knifes when tank lose tracks, to make tank stuck in the even smallest amount of dirt. Who thought that this laughable design will work well on a combat vehicle fighting off-road? Only those dirty crazy Kharkovites! Look and remember those puny rollers for APCs that somebody mounted on 40 tons tank! Central hexahedron (3) with 6 bolts, 10 slight cavities/ round "dents" (2) around it just to increase a price of each roller so Kharkovites could take more money from country and visible swing arm (1) that holds this engineers metal joke - they are give away of T-64 tank. But what if you can't see sides? Well, our guide got you covered here! From the rear you are looking for 2 things: 1 is engine exhaust, it is wide and located almost on top of the engine compartment rear plate, and it looks like harmonica, which is probably what was used to reverse-engineer by lazy Kharkovites. 2 is engine compartment rear plate, there is not much details on it if it is T-64. This is usual for T-64 because of their crazy engine that only mad man could mount inside of the tank. From the front you are also looking at 2 visible details: Luna IR light (1) is located on the left part of the tank (if we are looking from the tank) and single driver periscope (2), as Party told - for each driver - a periscope. Not only visible featues can help you to identify this terrible tractor that was disguised as a tank - the engine sound of it will inform everybody around that this vehicle is near you! If you hear sounds similar to sounds of Soviet motor bicycle - that is either Soviet motor bicycle or T-64 (which is not that different from Soviet motorbicycle speaking between us). Was it hard? No! To spot dirty Kharkovite T-64 - look at rollers, if they are puny and gaps between them are big = T-64. If from the rear you see wide grills on upper part of rear plate = T-64 (except T-80UD). If Luna IR light is on the left side of turret (looking from T-64) and periscope for driver is one and only per Party request = T-64 (with exception of first model of T-64 and Ukrainian T-64s, which our incrtedible guide will may or may not bother to cover in next chapters). T-72 - the Mighty weapon of Workers and Peasants to smash westerners Unlike tank look-alike, made by Kharkovites mad mans, T-72 is true combat tank to fight with forces of evil like radical moderate barbarians and westerners. Thats why we need to learn how identify it from T-64 and you should remember it's frightening lines! Look at this suspension - this is how a real tank suspension looks like! Look at those big wide powerfull rollers to support armor and weapons of Mighty T-72: T-72 rollers is different from T-64s, even if (1) is still hexahedron, T-72 desingers didn't wanted to be like dirty Kharkovites, so they made a detail different by adding a big bulge in the center. Not feeling enough, they added 6 additional bolts (2) around center 6 bolts, just to be sure that Kharkovite tank parts are not compatable with their mighty tank! But this was not enough, so Ural workers added a rubber bands (3), to gain superior riding comfort for proletariat crew, compared to those barbaric Kharkovites, that force true socialists and defenders of the Fatherland to ride in the tank with all-metal rollers! How could Soviet leaders not see such obvious attempt of sabotage of Soviet army fighting capabilities - using all-metal rollers in a modern tank?! Only Ural workers are true socialists making their best to propel Soviet army into the bright Future of Communism in rollers covered in rubber! From the rear: 1 is empty, nothing intresting, just armor and usefull tools, like every tank should have. 2 - see round armor plate in the middle with 5 big manly bolts holding it? This is give away of the T-72 - it is internal fan armor cover. Because T-72 engine is battle-proven diesel based on legendary V-2 engine from GLORIOUS KV-1, instead of small engine with giant airfilters that nullify advantages of smaller engine and doesn't fix disadvantages of that crazy engines that only out of their minds Kharkovites could use for a combat vehicle that was expected to fight the Last war of Humanity, we should also know engine compartment batter than T-64's engine deck. Engine exhaust (1) is located on the left spectrum of political views side of the tank, with air intakes (2) sucking air to keep capitalist-hating engine alive to propel Soviet army into bourgeois army and crush them with mighty rollers with rubber bands to increase comfort of the crews and those, who are crushed. Used air is pushed out of the tank via grills (3), to warm up atmosphere and to make green Euroweaklings cry. From the front: A Soviet soldier stopping T-72s from premature invasion of nearby capitalist "freethinking" decadent oppression state. Luna IR light is on the right side of the tank turret, to make driver exit much safer, as he doesn't need to be in front of the tank co-axial MG, unlike those Kharkovite crappy tanks that don't care about Soviet soldiers! And a single driver periscope, as Party promised! A roar of T-72 diesel engine sounds like what normal tank should have, instead of engines, stolen from your local motorbike gang. So, to spot T-72 look for mighty rollers to crush enemies, IR light on the right with engine exhaust on the left side, poluting air with particalce of Socialism, that will infect lungs of EuroWeaklings airheads, and big round armored cover on the rear, to hold a powerfull airsystem fan inside of T-72. If fan is left without big chunk of stell holding it in place, it will fly right out of engine compartment towards suprised heads of nearby owners of the means of production that are not under Proletariat State control, chopping their heads to benefit the opressed Working class! The GLORIOUS T-80 - a Weapon to Destroy and Conquer bourgeois countries and shatter westerners army And now we are looking at the Pride of Party and Soviet army, a true tank to spearhead attacks on decadent westerners, a tank that will destroy countries by sucking their military budgets and dispersing their armies in vortex of air, left from high-speed charge by the GLORIOUS T-80! The T-80 shooting down jets by hitting them behind the horizont The T-80U use Lenintation device to levitate above ground and see end of capitalists invaders hordes T-80U making their way to US soil by driving out of a pass through planet core of the Earth from USSR bases to US lands of immorality. T-80 is last and most advanced Soviet MBT, a true pinnacle of Soviet Planned Economy and result of wise policy of the Party. Soviet Guards needed a Superior weapon to wipe out hordes of imperialists, which herded their workers and peasants into Malls and Hypermarkets to suck their hard-earned money for another shiny thing that they don't need and distract their attention by TV talk shows about their cheating husbands and elections of another man, who already was payed by capitalists and exploiters of working class! The only way to combat sex and drugs culture of the West is hard steel and gas turbines of the East! In order to create a superior weapon to T-72 (yes, there is such a weapon!) Leningrad designers mounted a more powerfull engine - the gas turbine engine, to their new tank. This engine was able to propel that 45 tons tank to higher speed than average Soviet worker car, so engineers of the best Design bureau of the Soviet Union created new suspension, even superior to T-72 suspension! This suspension is at first looks similar to T-72's, but make no mistake - it is different. Let's look at T-80 rollers first! Central bulge is still here, but now with even more bolts around it - 10 + another 10! This roller also have rubber bands, but T-80 was so faster than both T-64 and T-72 that creators added rubber on tracks too! T-80 is charging to future of Earth-wide Communism on rollers covered in rubber moving at trucks, covered in rubber for smoother ride to Ultimate social system that Humanity ever known! Not only T-80 have different rollers, but they are located differently from T-64's puny jokes and T-72's imperialists skull crushers: Note distinctive "paired" rollers in the middle. If you notice them your brains will "sort out" 4 others in their own "pairs" like this: Even if rollers in pair 3 have relatively big gap between each other, this will not break overal pairing of rollers. This will help to you to tell T-80 apart from others, less powerfull tools of spreading socialism into your bedrooms. If your brain can't do that - ask your doctor if you had a brain injury, or you are sick with the "Arrogance of Westerners" syndrome, discovered by great doctor of the Soviet Union - awarded by the Order of Stalin Ivan Milyukhin Robinovichev. From the rear: From the rear you are looking at engine exhaust (1), located closer to the center of rear armor plate. This exhaust in bigger in vertical plane and narrower in horizontal plane than T-64's, and it is also located lower that T-64's exhaust. T-80's superior exhaust is much closer to square than T-64's badly-designed and poorly made harmonica that works like exhaust only because Kharkovites drilled it enough times to let gases out of it to poison warriors of Motherland with their partially burned mixture of exhaust gases and diesel fuel fumes. T-80 superior engine, as all real Russians, can use vodka to work and it needed different engine compartment than Kharkovites-made one, so they designed a new engine compartment: And again, you are looking for 1 thing - air intakes (1) that on the GLORIOUS T-80 are located near turret rear. The rest of engine deck is flat and can work as sleeping place for soldiers of the victorious Soviet Army, keeping them warm in cold nights of the Cold war. From the front: Because Soviet Guardsmens are best warriors of the Socialism, the Party leadership created a new 5 year plan to give to each guardsmen tank driver not 1, not 2, but 3 vision periscopes (2),to increase ability of drivers to see next capitalist, running in fear, to crush him with T-80s unstoppable trucks. To help to see capitalistic profit-soaked vehicles and profit-dreaming faces of imperialists in the night, T-80 is equipped with Luna IR light (1), mounted on the right side of the turret (looking from the tank). And here, the Kirov factory workers care for Guardsmen can be seen - Luna light block exit for driver to the right from gun, so drivers could exit tank on the left side of main gun, without co-axial MG looking in their backs with it's cold and possibly ready to fire barrel, something that saboteurs from Kharkov ignored in their careless mock-up of the real tank. Another way to ID T-80 is sound of furious GTD-1000 or GTD-1250 engines, very characteristic and will remind sounds of airplanes for many people. A whistling sound of pure hatred to American and NATO invaders, it can't be mistaken with sound of Kharkovites-build motorbicycle engine of the T-64 and roar of T-72 Ural diesel. So, to spot Superior tank you should see if big wide rollers have too many bolts and if they are arranged in 3 "pairs" per side. From the front, 3 driver periscope will give away a Superior Leningrad tank, while a big squar-ish exhaust, located near the center of rear armor plate, will indicate a gas turbine engine, that only Superior tanks like T-80 use (unlike inferior T-80UD, a Kharkovite abomination and attempt to violate the Spirit of the Communism, the power of T-80 ideology by putting their revolting 5TD/6TD engines that were created during schizophrenic seizures of the Main Kharkovite madman).