More than 20 modern modernized T-80BVM tanks have entered service with the Coastal Forces of the Russian Naval Pacific Fleet. The new upgraded main battle tanks will strengthen the striking capabilities of the Primorsky Naval Infantry (often referred to as Russian Marines in the West) unit of the Pacific Fleet. The equipment has proven itself well when operating in extreme Arctic conditions, which largely corresponds to the harsh Far Eastern winters. After unloading, the combat vehicles, accompanied by the military traffic police, were delivered to the formation’s fleet on special trawls. Earlier, in 2018 and 2019, the Kamchatka and Primorye formations of the Pacific Fleet marine corps received ten T-80BV tanks each.
The T-80 is a main battle tank designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. It was the second MBT in the world to be equipped with a gas turbine engine after the Swedish Strv 103 and the first to use it as a primary propulsion engine. The T-80U was last produced in a factory in Omsk, Russia, while the T-80UD and further-developed T-84 continue to be produced in Ukraine. The T-80 and its variants are in service in Belarus, Cyprus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine. The T-80 was confused with the Soviet T-72 by some Western analysts. They are the products of different design bureaus; the T-80 is from the SKB-2 design bureau of the Kirov Factory (LKZ) in Leningrad while the T-72 is from the Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhny Tagil.
The T-80BVM features a gas turbine powerplant, for which it has been nicknamed “the flying tank.” The combat vehicle can accelerate to over 70 km/h and cover a distance of about 500 km without refueling. The T-80 series tanks are much faster than the T-64, T-72 and T-90 series tanks with diesel engines, and have superior cross-country performance. The T-80BVM retains its GTD-1250TF gas turbine engine, developing 1 250 hp. Basically it is a helicopter powerplant, modified for use on tanks. Advantages of such engine are its compact dimensions, high power output and ability to start when the temperature is as low as -40°C. The T-80BVM is also fitted with auxiliary power unit, powering all systems, when the main engine is turned off.
Military Today reported that The T-80BVM retains a 125 mm smoothbore gun. However it uses a newly-built 2A46M-4 gun, which has longer range and is 15-20% more accurate than the 2A46M-1 gun of the T-80BV. Effective range of fire with APFSDS round is 2 000-3 000 m day and 2 000-2 600 m at night. Armor penetration is around 590-630 mm at 2 000 m range. The T-80BVM is compatible with newly developed Svinets APFSDS rounds with tungsten and depleted uranium penetrators. The tank can also launch 9M119M Refleks (AT-11 or Sniper-B) anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary munitions. The upgraded T-80BVM has slightly improved armor protection. It is fitted with Relikt explosive reactive armor kit. The same armor is used by the latest Russian main battle tanks, such as T-90M and T-90MS.