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Modern Romanian Armor (Tanks, APCs, IFVs).

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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. 

 

mVuPStW.jpg?1

 

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.

 

4T9Ifcd.jpg?1

 

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. 

 

ebiDXeu.jpg?1

 

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 

 

ICp7bRg.jpg?1

 

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. 

 

fyhbc5S.jpg?1

 

88PkUEU.jpg?1

 

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.

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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 

 

Reje1Hy.jpg

 

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. 


 

TR-85-800 during 1989 events:

Rzxloc1.jpg?1

 

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. 

 

JcBa9xS.jpg

 

OiPL4dt.jpg?1

 

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. 

 

lm337qC.jpg

 

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

Pwyc7Ew.jpg

 

SAoL8Yj.jpg

 

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.

 

tPBQuZ8.jpg

 

Inertial navigation system for tanks. I could find only one photo of  parts of a later development, a receptor

 

83WKUnp.jpg

 

Various sighting and night vision systems for armoured units and infantry.

 

RzsUnoA.jpg

 

Observation device

 

EuQWBp1.jpg

 

Observation device

 

5jXVaJJ.jpg

 

Periscope binocular telescope to the gunner or commander

 

ppT7YOR.jpg

 

Passive night vision system

 

1kE3Aic.jpg

 

another type of night vision system 

 

VyUTyYy.jpg

 

Aiming / sighting device for gunner

 

CXzz02p.jpg

 

Periscope with anti-laser filter for gunner/commander

 

gNW2dtX.jpg

 

Modular light amplifier periscope

 

BPnuBQ0.jpg?1

 

CICLOP-M FCS

Laser telemetry is integrated into the SCF which was made in Romania and only the light sources for laser were imported;

 

cFlNhZ5.jpg

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:

 


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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.

 

 

41YrZFC.jpg?1

 

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)

OuTGX8Y.jpg

 

T-72M turret:

xNNiUCQ.jpg

 

 

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.

 

ZCgUSVC.jpg?1

 

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.

 

rFpATzv.jpg?1

 

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.

 

3EMcHpO.jpg?1

 

tPvsMqK.jpg?1

 

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.

 

0T0kjEY.jpg?1

 

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.

 

C8tZ7wx.jpg

 

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. 

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I'm a huge fan of Romanian tanks and I have some info you may be interested in. My friend bought a copy of Jurnal 1978-1988 for me by General Tiberiu Urdăreanu. The earliest mentions of the TR-125 originated in late 1978, early 1979. This could be the fault of the editors though. I would like to see your sources because I'm a very skeptical guy if you wouldn't mind.

 

Perhaps we could chat more about this in private?

 

Lastly, the term "TR-77-800" seems a bit dubious. Mind if you can share the source?

 

Also, the pictures are missing

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That is interesting information. However I am not so sure about the claimed protection levels and armor thickness. How does a 20 mm thick "BDD-type NERA" look? The Soviet BDD armor is not exactly the common type of NERA and requires lots of thickness. The coverplate of the BDD turret armor is between 60 mm and 80 mm thick, the "NERA" consists of four to five 5 mm steel plates with 20 mm polyurethane layers inbetween.

 

Also is the applique armor only covering this little area of the tank?

 

1246277060_1332_FT14428_tr85m103ul3.jpg

 

Is there any more information on the TR-125's armor? It seems to be thinner than the armor of the T-72M1 and T-72B, so I am wondering how the estimations for armor protection should be higher. Sure it's heavier, but it also has a longer hull and uses heavier side skirts...

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I'm a huge fan of Romanian tanks and I have some info you may be interested in. My friend bought a copy of Jurnal 1978-1988 for me by General Tiberiu Urdăreanu. The earliest mentions of the TR-125 originated in late 1978, early 1979. This could be the fault of the editors though. I would like to see your sources because I'm a very skeptical guy if you wouldn't mind.

 

Perhaps we could chat more about this in private?

 

Lastly, the term "TR-77-800" seems a bit dubious. Mind if you can share the source?

 

Also, the pictures are missing

 

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. 

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That is interesting information. However I am not so sure about the claimed protection levels and armor thickness. How does a 20 mm thick "BDD-type NERA" look? The Soviet BDD armor is not exactly the common type of NERA and requires lots of thickness. The coverplate of the BDD turret armor is between 60 mm and 80 mm thick, the "NERA" consists of four to five 5 mm steel plates with 20 mm polyurethane layers inbetween.

 

Also is the applique armor only covering this little area of the tank?

 

1246277060_1332_FT14428_tr85m103ul3.jpg

 

Is there any more information on the TR-125's armor? It seems to be thinner than the armor of the T-72M1 and T-72B, so I am wondering how the estimations for armor protection should be higher. Sure it's heavier, but it also has a longer hull and uses heavier side skirts...

 

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. 

 

fUDXUGg.jpg

 

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. 

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I heard from dubious sources that the TR-77-580 with the elongated turret was some sort of early prototype which is possible though it's a bit hard to believe. There is also this TR-77-580 with the raised engine deck which I believe was made so it can use the 830 hp MTU engine.

 

ZfVq3NU.jpg

nmhZ0Jo.jpg

 

You can see that the engine deck is raised. It could be an early iteration of the TR-77-580M1, as you put it.

 

I do have an issue with the TR-77-580M. That is a TR-85-800. The engine looks like it, it has the laser range finder, side skirts, road wheels, etc. I don't believe any TR-77-580s ever received the laser range finder that were in service. Even the M1 doesn't have the range finder.

 

There is a Romanian propaganda movie/documentary??? that has TR-85-800s. Unfortunately, the soundtrack was copyrighted so we can't hear the movie but you can still see it,

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTVFZcbq9Bk

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

 

ZAfTHN2.jpg

 

8kASIBu.jpg

 

I see no reason to think they're TR-77-580s. I haven't seen any that TR-77-580s looks like that. However, there is one piece of evidence that suggests that those pictures are TR-85-800s. The first two road wheels are further spaced apart compared to the 4 behind them that are clustered up. Also, the roadwheels are the type that aren't spoked. Also, those grids on the front hull are also another givaway.

 

 

Compare this TR-85-800 with the ones you posted. I ripped this out from the MapN RO's facebook. It is clearly a TR-85-800

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Than why in page 14 are mentioned laser range finders on them?

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP84T00926R000200100004-8.pdf

 

i have actually already seen that document. It is typical for documents on foreign tanks to be inaccurate in some places when they have never acquired any of the equipment themselves. But there could have been testing with those the laser range finder on the TR-77-580. it wouldn't surprise me. There is just no evidence for it,

 

But my main point was that those pictures are TR-85-800s. Just compare the two.

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That is interesting information. However I am not so sure about the claimed protection levels and armor thickness. How does a 20 mm thick "BDD-type NERA" look? The Soviet BDD armor is not exactly the common type of NERA and requires lots of thickness. The coverplate of the BDD turret armor is between 60 mm and 80 mm thick, the "NERA" consists of four to five 5 mm steel plates with 20 mm polyurethane layers inbetween.

 

 

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. 

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      Anno Domini 2250

      SUBJ: RFP for new battle tank

      1.      Background.
      As part of the War of 2248 against the Perfidious Cascadians, great deficiencies were discovered in the Heavy tank DF-1. As detailed in report [REDACTED], the DF-1 was quite simply no match for the advanced weaponry developed in secret by the Cascadian entity. Likewise, the DF-1 has fared poorly in the fighting against the heretical Mormonhideen, who have developed many improvised weapons capable of defeating the armor on this vehicle, as detailed in report [REDACTED]. The Extended War on the Eastern Front has stalled for want of sufficient survivable firepower to push back the Mormon menace beyond the Colorado River south of the Vegas Crater.
      The design team responsible for the abject failure that was the DF-1 have been liquidated, which however has not solved the deficiencies of the existing vehicle in service. Therefore, a new vehicle is required, to meet the requirements of the People’s Auditory Forces to keep the dream of our lord and prophet alive.


       
      Over the past decade, the following threats have presented themselves:

      A.      The Cascadian M-2239 “Norman” MBT and M-8 light tank

      Despite being approximately the same size, these 2 vehicles seem to share no common components, not even the primary armament! Curiously, it appears that the lone 120mm SPG specimen recovered shares design features with the M-8, despite being made out of steel and not aluminum like the light tank. (based on captured specimens from the battle of Crater Lake, detailed in report [REDACTED]).
      Both tanks are armed with high velocity guns.

      B.      The Cascadian BGM-1A/1B/1C/1D ATGM

      Fitted on a limited number of tank destroyers, several attack helicopters, and (to an extent) man-portable, this missile system is the primary Cascadian anti-armor weapon other than their armored forces. Intelligence suggests that a SACLOS version (BGM-1C) is in LRIP, with rumors of a beam-riding version (BGM-1D) being developed.

      Both warheads penetrate approximately 6 cone diameters.

      C.      Deseret tandem ATR-4 series
      Inspired by the Soviet 60/105mm tandem warhead system from the late 80s, the Mormon nation has manufactured a family of 2”/4” tandem HEAT warheads, launched from expendable short-range tube launchers, dedicated AT RRs, and even used as the payload of the JS-1 MCLOS vehicle/man-portable ATGM.
      Both warheads penetrate approximately 5 cone diameters.

      D.      Cascadian HEDP 90mm rocket
      While not a particularly impressive AT weapon, being of only middling diameter and a single shaped charge, the sheer proliferation of this device has rendered it a major threat to tanks, as well as lighter vehicles. This weapon is available in large numbers in Cascadian infantry squads as “pocket artillery”, and there are reports of captured stocks being used by the Mormonhideen.
      Warhead penetrates approximately 4 cone diameters.

      E.      Deseret 40mm AC/ Cascadian 35mm AC
      These autocannon share broadly similar AP performance, and are considered a likely threat for the foreseeable future, on Deseret armored cars, Cascadian tank destroyers, and likely also future IFVs.

      F.      IEDs

      In light of the known resistance of tanks to standard 10kg anti-tank mines, both the Perfidious Cascadians and the Mormonhideen have taken to burying larger anti-tank A2AD weaponry. The Cascadians have doubled up some mines, and the Mormons have regularly buried AT mines 3, 4, and even 5 deep.

      2.      General guidelines:

      A.      Solicitation outline:
      In light of the differing requirements for the 2 theaters of war in which the new vehicle is expected to operate, proposals in the form of a field-replaceable A-kit/B-kit solution will be accepted.

      B.      Requirements definitions:
      The requirements in each field are given in 3 levels- Threshold, Objective, and Ideal.
      Threshold is the minimum requirement to be met; failure to reach this standard may greatly disadvantage any proposal.

      Objective is the threshold to be aspired to; it reflects the desires of the People’s Auditory Forces Armored Branch, which would prefer to see all of them met. At least 70% must be met, with bonus points for any more beyond that.

      Ideal specifications are the maximum of which the armored forces dare not even dream. Bonus points will be given to any design meeting or exceeding these specifications.

      C.      All proposals must accommodate the average 1.7m high Californian recruit.

      D.      The order of priorities for the DPRC is as follows:

      a.      Vehicle recoverability.

      b.      Continued fightability.

      c.       Crew survival.

      E.      Permissible weights:

      a.      No individual field-level removable or installable component may exceed 5 tons.

      b.      Despite the best efforts of the Agriculture Command, Californian recruits cannot be expected to lift weights in excess of 25 kg at any time.

      c.       Total vehicle weight must remain within MLC 120 all-up for transport.

      F.      Overall dimensions:

      a.      Length- essentially unrestricted.

      b.      Width- 4m transport width.

                                                                    i.     No more than 4 components requiring a crane may be removed to meet this requirement.

                                                                   ii.     Any removed components must be stowable on top of the vehicle.

      c.       Height- The vehicle must not exceed 3.5m in height overall.

      G.     Technology available:

      a.      Armor:
      The following armor materials are in full production and available for use. Use of a non-standard armor material requires permission from a SEA ORG judge.
      Structural materials:

                                                                    i.     RHA/CHA

      Basic steel armor, 250 BHN. The reference for all weapon penetration figures, good impact properties, fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 150mm (RHA) or 300mm (CHA).
      Density- 7.8 g/cm^3.

                                                                   ii.     Aluminum 5083

      More expensive to work with than RHA per weight, middling impact properties, low thermal limits. Excellent stiffness.

       Fully weldable. Available in thicknesses up to 100mm.
      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1 vs CE, 0.9 vs KE.
      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.33 vs CE, 0.3 vs KE.
      Density- 2.7 g/cm^3 (approx. 1/3 of steel).

      For structural integrity, the following guidelines are recommended:

      For light vehicles (less than 40 tons), not less than 25mm RHA/45mm Aluminum base structure

      For heavy vehicles (70 tons and above), not less than 45mm RHA/80mm Aluminum base structure.
      Intermediate values for intermediate vehicles may be chosen as seen fit.
      Non-structural passive materials:

                                                                  iii.     HHA

      Steel, approximately 500 BHN through-hardened. Approximately twice as effective as RHA against KE and HEAT on a per-weight basis. Not weldable, middling shock properties. Available in thicknesses up to 25mm.
      Density- 7.8g/cm^3.

                                                                  iv.     Glass textolite

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 2.2 vs CE, 1.64 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.52 vs CE, 0.39 vs KE.
      Density- 1.85 g/cm^3 (approximately ¼ of steel).
      Non-structural.

                                                                   v.     Fused silica

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 3.5 vs CE, 1 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 1 vs CE, 0.28 vs KE.
      Density-2.2g/cm^3 (approximately 1/3.5 of steel).
      Non-structural, requires confinement (being in a metal box) to work.

                                                                  vi.     Fuel

      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1.3 vs CE, 1 vs KE.

      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.14 vs CE, 0.1 vs KE.

      Density-0.82g/cm^3.

                                                                vii.     Assorted stowage/systems

      Mass efficiency vs RHA- 1 vs CE, 0.8 vs KE.

                                                               viii.     Spaced armor

      Requires a face of at least 25mm LOS vs CE, and at least 50mm LOS vs KE.

      Reduces penetration by a factor of 1.1 vs CE or 1.05 vs KE for every 10 cm air gap.
      Spaced armor rules only apply after any standoff surplus to the requirements of a reactive cassette.

      Reactive armor materials:

                                                                  ix.     ERA-light

      A sandwich of 3mm/3mm/3mm steel-explodium-steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.

      Must be spaced at least 3 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).

                                                                   x.     ERA-heavy

      A sandwich of 15mm steel/3mm explodium/9mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 3 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).

                                                                  xi.     NERA-light

      A sandwich of 6mm steel/6mm rubber/ 6mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.

                                                                 xii.     NERA-heavy

      A sandwich of 30mm steel/6m rubber/18mm steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.

      The details of how to calculate armor effectiveness will be detailed in Appendix 1.

      b.      Firepower

                                                                    i.     2A46 equivalent tech- pressure limits, semi-combustible cases, recoil mechanisms and so on are at an equivalent level to that of the USSR in the year 1960.

                                                                   ii.     Limited APFSDS (L:D 15:1)- Spindle sabots or bourelleted sabots, see for example the Soviet BM-20 100mm APFSDS.

                                                                  iii.     Limited tungsten (no more than 100g per shot)

                                                                  iv.     Californian shaped charge technology- 5 CD penetration for high-pressure resistant HEAT, 6 CD for low pressure/ precision formed HEAT.

                                                                   v.     The general issue GPMG for the People’s Auditory Forces is the PKM. The standard HMG is the DShK.

      c.       Mobility

                                                                    i.     Engines tech level:

      1.      MB 838 (830 HP)

      2.      AVDS-1790-5A (908 HP)

      3.      Kharkov 5TD (600 HP)

                                                                   ii.     Power density should be based on the above engines. Dimensions are available online, pay attention to cooling of 1 and 3 (water cooled).

                                                                  iii.     Power output broadly scales with volume, as does weight. Trying to extract more power from the same size may come at the cost of reliability (and in the case of the 5TD, it isn’t all that reliable in the first place).

                                                                  iv.     There is nothing inherently wrong with opposed piston or 2-stroke engines if done right.

      d.      Electronics

                                                                    i.     LRFs- unavailable

                                                                   ii.     Thermals-unavailable

                                                                  iii.     I^2- limited

      3.      Operational Requirements.

      The requirements are detailed in the appended spreadsheet.

      4.      Submission protocols.

      Submission protocols and methods will be established in a follow-on post, nearer to the relevant time.
       
      Appendix 1- armor calculation
      Appendix 2- operational requirements
       
      Good luck, and may Hubbard guide your way to enlightenment!
    • By Collimatrix
      Shortly after Jeeps_Guns_Tanks started his substantial foray into documenting the development and variants of the M4, I joked on teamspeak with Wargaming's The_Warhawk that the next thing he ought to do was a similar post on the T-72.
       
      Haha.  I joke.  I am funny man.
       
      The production history of the T-72 is enormously complicated.  Tens of thousands were produced; it is probably the fourth most produced tank ever after the T-54/55, T-34 and M4 sherman.
       
      For being such an ubiquitous vehicle, it's frustrating to find information in English-language sources on the T-72.  Part of this is residual bad information from the Cold War era when all NATO had to go on were blurry photos from May Day parades:
       

       
      As with Soviet aircraft, NATO could only assign designations to obviously externally different versions of the vehicle.  However, they were not necessarily aware of internal changes, nor were they aware which changes were post-production modifications and which ones were new factory variants of the vehicle.  The NATO designations do not, therefore, necessarily line up with the Soviet designations.  Between different models of T-72 there are large differences in armor protection and fire control systems.  This is why anyone arguing T-72 vs. X has completely missed the point; you need to specify which variant of T-72.  There are large differences between them!
       
      Another issue, and one which remains contentious to this day, is the relation between the T-64, T-72 and T-80 in the Soviet Army lineup.  This article helps explain the political wrangling which led to the logistically bizarre situation of three very similar tanks being in frontline service simultaneously, but the article is extremely biased as it comes from a high-ranking member of the Ural plant that designed and built the T-72.  Soviet tank experts still disagree on this; read this if you have some popcorn handy.  Talking points from the Kharkov side seem to be that T-64 was a more refined, advanced design and that T-72 was cheap filler, while Ural fans tend to hold that T-64 was an unreliable mechanical prima donna and T-72 a mechanically sound, mass-producible design.
       
      So, if anyone would like to help make sense of this vehicle, feel free to post away.  I am particularly interested in:
       
      -What armor arrays the different T-72 variants use.  Diagrams, dates of introduction, and whether the array is factory-produced or a field upgrade of existing armor are pertinent questions.
       
      -Details of the fire control system.  One of the Kharkov talking points is that for most of the time in service, T-64 had a more advanced fire control system than contemporary T-72 variants.  Is this true?  What were the various fire control systems in the T-64 and T-72, and what were there dates of introduction?  I am particularly curious when Soviet tanks got gun-follows-sight FCS.
       
      -Export variants and variants produced outside the Soviet Union.  How do they stack up?  Exactly what variant(s) of T-72 were the Iraqis using in 1991?

      -WTF is up with the T-72's transmission?  How does it steer and why is its reverse speed so pathetically low?
       
       
    • By Proyas
      Hi guys,
       
      I recently read about upgrade packages to old tanks like the M-60 and T-55, but kept seeing comments from people saying they would still be obsolete. Is this because the M-60 and T-55 are made entirely of steel (and not composite) armor?  
       
      I have this theory that thick steel armor is probably totally obsolete, and is just dead weight in the age of lighter weight composite armor. You can bolt on upgrades to an M-60 or T-55, but you're still hamstrung by the fact that either tank will be carrying around tons of useless steel. Am I right? 
       
      Also, if we wanted to upgrade old tanks like that, wouldn't the best idea be to develop a new turret--with lighter, modern composite armor and better technology inside--and just drop it into the old tanks? The hulls would still be made of heavy steel, but that could be helped a bit by adding applique armor. 
       
      Here are some of the upgrades I read about: 
       
      https://youtu.be/NG89Zh9qQrQ
       
      http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product1907.html
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