On March 10, India’s Firstpost reported that Islamabad had offered to transfer 44 T-80UD tanks to Kiev in exchange for financial support.

These T-80UD are Ukrainian tanks purchased by Pakistan between 1997 and 1999. The international press has spread information that Pakistan has supplied ammunition for tanks and artillery to Ukraine through the British air bridge. Firstpost stressed that Moscow is not satisfied with Islamabad’s support for Kiev and hopes the South Asian country will not join Western countries in this issue. For its part, Islamabad has repeatedly denied the allegations of supplying ammunition to Kiev.

Ukraine and Pakistan have close military-industrial ties. In the period since 1991 to 2020, Ukraine signed arms supply contracts with Pakistan totaling almost $1.6 billion. Pakistan currently operates about 320 T-80UDs. This is an improved version of the Soviet-made T-80 that was first introduced in 1987. This tank is motorized with a Diesel engine and replaces the original gas turbine.

Armour protection of the T-80UD includes composite armour with built-in explosive reactive armour blocks. The vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. The main armament of the T-80UD MBT is a 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun as the T-72 with a horizontal ammunition stowage system. The gun can fire either the AT-8 ATGW or 125 mm ammunition of the separate loading type. The 125 mm smoothbore gun is stabilised in both elevation and traverse. Armament also includes a 7.62mm PKT coaxial machine gun and a 12.7mm air defence machine gun. One bank of 81 mm electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on either side of the turret, five on the left and four on the right.

The T-80UD is powered by a model 6TD-1 6-cylinder diesel engine developing 1,000 hp. The tank is fitted with a torsion bar suspension consisting on each side of six forged steel-aluminum rubber-tired road wheels, a drive sprocket at the rear, an idler at the front, and five return road wheels. The tank can run at a maximum road range of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 560 km.

During the Cold War, Pakistan was an enemy of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Pakistan immediately purchased the most modern Soviet tanks, the T-80UD, to equip the army. The T-80s had a much higher overall performance than the T-72s that were the backbone of neighboring India’s tank units at the time.

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