Currently, our country is carrying out a major program of modernization of the existing T-80B main tanks according to the new T-80BVM project. This project provides for a comprehensive update of the armored vehicle and, among other things, affects its protection. In addition to the standard armor, the T-80BVM receives some modern protective equipment during repair and modernization, and in the future it is possible to use new ones.
A basic level of
MBT T-80B was created in the mid-eighties, and one of the main goals of the project was to increase protection in comparison with previous modifications. This problem was solved by reworking the frontal barriers of the hull and turret. Later, new tools were created that improved protection.
The welded body of the T-80B is made of high-hardness armor steel. The upper frontal part is a three-layer bag with metal sheets and non-metal filler. It is installed with an inclination of 68 ° from the vertical. The cast tower received frontal protection of a similar architecture, and also retained its characteristic rounded contours.
According to reports, the frontal combined armor of the T-80B, when fired by a sub-caliber projectile, is equivalent to a homogeneous plate with a thickness of at least 450-500 mm. Protection against a cumulative projectile is similar to a part with a thickness of 650-700 mm.
In the first half of the eighties, the updated MBT T-80BV was created. This time, the survivability was increased due to the introduction of the Kontakt-1 mounted dynamic protection. Its blocks are located on the VLD of the hull, as well as on the forehead, cheekbones and the roof of the tower. The presence of DZ sharply reduces the effectiveness of the attacking projectile, regardless of its type. In the same period, an improved T-80U appeared with a new reinforced turret.
The modern T-80BVM modernization project offers the preservation of the standard armor of the hull and turret, which allows you not to rebuild the hull and turret, getting hefty savings. At the same time, the existing housing is complemented by a number of modern protective equipment, mainly for external mounting. It is important that such measures have led to an increase in the resistance not only of the frontal, but also of other projections.
Instead of the obsolete "Kontakt-1", the T-80BVM is equipped with a modern "Relic" -type DZ. The blocks of this system, which have different sizes and shapes, are installed on the VLD of the hull, as well as on the frontal part and on the roof of the tower. The Relikt DZ uses a new principle of influencing the attacking ammunition, which provides a significant increase in performance. In addition, the optimized shape of the protective element allows an increase in the covered area of the tower.
It should be noted that the Relikt DZ is used not only on the T-80BVM. This system is also used on a number of other modern armored vehicles - T-72B3, T-90M, BMPT and their modifications. Thus, the unification of all main samples is achieved both in hulls and chassis, and in additional protection means. This provides well-known operational and modernization advantages.
The aft parts of the hull and turret have relatively thin armor with a limited level of protection. To compensate for this deficiency, the BVM project uses lattice screens that can deal with cumulative ammunition.
It is curious that combat units do not always use all the new capabilities of the modernized T-80BVM. So, the Ministry of Defense regularly publishes photos and videos from various exercises, and often the tanks involved lack all additional protective equipment. Most often, feed grates are removed from machines - probably due to the absence of real threats and the risk of damage to them.
Modernization according to the T-80BVM project will allow the existing T-80B / BV MBTs to be retained in the army for a long time. In the medium or long term, such tanks will be able to undergo new upgrades aimed at improving the main characteristics, incl. level of protection. As far as we know, work on the creation of new means of protection has already begun.
Obviously, in future upgrades, the T-80BVM will retain the standard hull and turret with the existing level of protection. Their replacement or modernization is meaningless for technical and economic reasons. At the same time, one should expect the replacement of individual components of the external hinged protection, as well as the introduction of new devices mounted outside and inside.
It is not known how long the Relikt DZ will be used, and whether it will be replaced by a new model of the same class. However, it is already reported about the development of a new reactive armor to complement the "Relic". From 2018-19 the original version of the DZ is being tested to enhance the side projection of the tank. Unlike "Contact" or "Relic", blocks of such protection are made not in metal cases, but in soft cases.
For many years, the issue of equipping combat MBT with active protection complexes has been discussed. Now it is proposed to fill this niche with the modern Arena-M KAZ, which has ample opportunities and high performance. However, the actual work on equipping the T-80BVM with new KAZ has not yet been reported.
Recently, the troops noticed a new means of protecting a tank from an attack from the upper hemisphere - the so-called. "Sun shade". Lattice units with and without textile elements are so far installed only on T-72B3 tanks. Perhaps, in the future, similar products will be introduced on the modernized T-80BVM.
Last fall, domestic media reported on the development of a new means of protection designed to deal with mines. In the future, it can be included in the equipment complex of modern tanks, including the T-80BVM. The Lesochek electronic warfare complex will detect and suppress the channels for controlling explosive devices. The complex is proposed to be performed in tank, wearable and stationary versions. No technical details have yet been disclosed.
The development of the future T-80 started in the sixties, and since then a large number of modifications of this MBT have been created with various features. As the design developed, new solutions were introduced in the field of booking and additional protective equipment. As recent reports show, the process of development of protection has not stopped until now.
It should be recalled that the development of their own armor for T-80 tanks actually stopped by the mid-eighties - after the creation of modifications of the T-80B and T-80U. Their armor is still in use and does not undergo changes due to the high characteristics and the inexpediency of replacing them. A further increase in the protection and survivability of the T-80 was carried out only through the introduction of new attachments.
It is this method of modernization that is used in the latest T-80BVM project, recently brought to the series. Keeping the standard hull and turret, the tank of this model receives modern attachments - dynamic and lattice protection. In the future, such products may be supplemented with new active agents. They will be the Arena-M KAZ and the Lesochek electronic warfare system.
However, the modernization of the BVM project has some ambiguous features. Thus, the preservation of the old armor of the hull and turret limits the possible level of general protection and survivability. DZ "Relikt" was created in the middle of the two thousandth years, and may not meet the challenges in the form of promising anti-tank ammunition. The introduction of active means of protection is also questionable - despite all the successes, they have not yet entered the troops.
Despite all the difficulties, the complex problem of protecting the tank from all expected threats receives the same complex solution. At the same time, not only urgent tasks are being solved, but also a reserve for the future is being created. The modern T-80BVM shows increased protection characteristics and meets the requirements. At the same time, such a modernization affects not only the updated T-80B. Other domestic MBTs are undergoing a similar update, which in total gives an obvious positive result for the army.