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Russian Army's new T-80BVM Model 2023 tank enters combat in Eastern Ukraine

As reported by Russian social media reports from January 8, 2023, the Russian Armed Forces have reportedly incorporated the T-80BVM Model 2023 Main Battle Tank into their units in the Zaporizhzhia region. This tank, representing an updated version of the T-80BVM, is reportedly being used in current military operations, particularly in assisting infantry during assaults against Ukrainian positions.
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The T-80BVM Model 2023 mainly features additional protection systems. (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

The T-80BVM Model 2023 tank also appears to have undergone several visual changes between its unveiling and its deployment in Ukraine, perhaps as a result of feedback from the front line.

Army Recognition reported on September 11, 2023, that the Russian Armed Forces revealed the T-80BVM Model 2023 during a TV report at the Omsktransmash enterprise. This model is an upgrade of the existing T-80BVM tank, with modifications influenced by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Omsktransmash is reportedly producing 152 units of the T-80BVM Model 2023, with 15 already dispatched for deployment, as per Russian social media sources. Army Recognition's report on September 28, 2023, further noted that this production is part of a larger plan to upgrade around 180 T-80 tanks from military storage, intending to release them in groups periodically throughout the year.

Previously, Omsktransmash produced about 40 tanks annually, but it has the capability to modernize up to 400 units per year. This production increase has been linked to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The refurbishment process involves Armored Repair Plants working on older T-80 tanks, which are then upgraded to the T-80BVM model by Omsktransmash.

Simultaneously, Uralvagonzavod, led by General Director Oleksandr Potapov, announced on September 10, 2023, their intention to restart the production of the T-80 series tanks, a decision supported by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The T-80BVM Model 2023 features several upgrades, including reinforced wire cage armor on the turret and hull, intended to improve protection against RPGs and drone strikes. The tank also includes a detachable top turret wire cage for easier transport and "cape" covers designed to reduce visibility. Additionally, the sides and turret have added dynamic protection encased in metal, which appears to have been modified between unveiling and deployment in Ukraine.

The tank is equipped with the Volnorez anti-drone electronic jamming system, which includes omnidirectional antennas for drone suppression. The 1PN96MT thermal imaging sight has been installed to enhance target acquisition, replacing the previous Sosny-U sight.

The T-80BVM Model 2023 has an improved reverse speed capability, now over 20 km/h, up from the previous 11 km/h. The specifics of this enhancement have not been disclosed.

As an upgraded version of the Soviet-era T-80BV, the T-80BVM focuses on various modifications for current military use. It is equipped with Relikt explosive reactive armor and powered by a gas turbine engine. The tank's armament includes a 125mm 2A46M-4 smoothbore gun, capable of firing different types of projectiles.

Mobility enhancements in the T-80BVM Model 2023 include an upgraded torsion bar and reinforced running gear, aiming to improve off-road performance. An automatic track tension system has also been added.

Russia T 80BVM Model 2023 Ukraine 925 003

The T-80BVM Model 2023 tank appears to have undergone several visual changes between its unveiling and its deployment in Ukraine, perhaps as a result of feedback from the front line. (Picture source: Russian social media)


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