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This 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. 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! 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