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Rare T-80UE-1 Main Battle Tanks Deployed by Russia's Elite Guard Division in Ukraine

According to a video released on social networks on April 4, 2024, the Russian Army 4th Guards Tank Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army, currently deployed in Ukraine, has been equipped with T-80UE-1 Main Battle Tanks, known for their rarity and advanced technological features. Produced in limited quantities by the Russian defense industry, the T-80UE-1 is one of the latest variants in the Soviet-made T-80 tank family.
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Very rare T-80UE-1 tank is used by the Russian Army 4th Guards Tank Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army, currently deployed in Ukraine. (Picture source Twitter)

The T-80UE-1 is an upgraded variant of the T-80 series main battle tanks, developed in Russia. This series is notably recognized for its adoption of a gas turbine engine, one of the first for production tanks, offering remarkable speed across various terrains. The T-80UE-1 brings several enhancements aimed at boosting combat efficiency, survivability, and operational performance. These upgrades include improved armor, potentially featuring reactive armor plates for increased protection against anti-tank weapons.

The T-80UE-1 is a hybrid version that marries the Soviet-era T-80 tank's technical combat capabilities with contemporary advancements. It utilizes the T-80BV hull, upgraded to meet the T-80U standards, and is equipped with a turret from the T-80UD variant, marking a significant enhancement over its predecessors.

This advanced model incorporates a series of technological upgrades that set it apart from its lineage. The fire control system has undergone modernization to increase its combat efficiency significantly. Additionally, the installation of the Plisa Infrared (IR) sight, closely mirroring the capabilities of the ESSA system used in the T-90A, offers enhanced targeting accuracy in various combat scenarios.

A notable upgrade in the T-80UE-1 is the replacement of the 2A46M-1 cannon with the more modern and capable 2A46M-4 version. This enhancement not only improves the tank's firepower but also its versatility on the battlefield. The tank's ammunition loading mechanism, identified as the 6EK43-2S model, has also been refined to allow the use of more sophisticated ammunition types. This includes the BOPS ammunition, akin to the NATO APFSDS (Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) rounds, known for their penetrating capabilities, and the inclusion of new programmable fuses of the Ainet system for OFS, adding a layer of adaptability in combat engagements.

The T-80UE-1 is also protected with Kontakt-5, the second generation of Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA). This armor is made up of "bricks" of explosives sandwiched between two metal plates. The plates are arranged in such a way as to move sideways rapidly when the explosive detonates. This forces an incoming kinetic energy penetrator or shaped charge jet to cut through more armor than the thickness of the plating itself since "new" plating is constantly fed into the penetrating body.

The T-80UE-1 is powered by a turbine engine developing 1,250 hp. It can reach a top road speed of up to 75 km/h and 60 km/h in off-road conditions.

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