Romania to buy 60 new main battle tanks

The Romanian army is seeking new main battle tanks. "At present, the Romanian Army operates some TR-85 and TR-85M1 MBTs that do not meet any modern requirements to heavy armored vehicles. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense is initiating a program aimed at the modernization of the service`s tank fleet. Some requests for information [RfI] will be sent to potential vendors at an early date," a source told TASS. The Romanian military is believed to aim at replacing its obsolete tanks by Leopard 2A5 MBTs.

Romania to buy 60 new main battle tanks
Romanian TR-85M1 MBT displayed in Bucharest for BSDA 2016 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The source also listed some requirements for the new MBTs needed by the Romanian Army. "The [new] tank should be armed with a STANAG-compatible 120 mm tank gun and have round-the-clock hunter-killer capability. The vehicle will feature cutting-edge computing subsystems and a modern communication suite. The MBT will be manned by a three- or four-strong crew," the source said. Romania`s army will buy some 60 MBTs, including 54 for a full-scale tank battalion and 6 for training.

According to the Military Balance 2018 analytical report issued by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Romanian Armed Forces operate some 42 TR-580, 104 TR-85 and 54 TR-85M1 MBTs. It should be mentioned that the TR-85/TR-85M1 is the main heavy vehicle of the Romanian Army.

The TR-85M1 MBT is 9,960 long, 3,435 mm wide and 3,100 mm high and weighs 52.5 t. The tank is controlled by a four-strong crew. The TR-85M1 is armed with an A-308 100 mm rifled tank gun (a copy of the Soviet D-10T2S) with an ammunition load of 41 rounds, a 12.7 mm roof-mounted DShKM anti-aircraft heavy machinegun with an ammunition load of 750 cartridges, a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov PKT coaxial medium machinegun with 5,000 cartridges, and 20 smoke dischargers. The tank`s sensor suite comprises a Ciclop-M1 fire-control system, night vision device and laser rangefinder. In fact, the TR-85M1 is a deeply upgraded variant of the Soviet-originated T-55 MBT.