Experts are evaluating different scenarios for deploying tanks in the conflict, to see which side uses them more effectively.
According to svpressa, a Russian military news site, with their overwhelming advantage in armored vehicles, Russian T-80 BVM tank units are moving towards Kupyansk, in the Kharkov region and in the near future, T- 80 BVM will be Russia’s main combat vehicles. In the direction of Kupyansk, the 1st Guards Tank Army of the Russian Army is overwhelming the Ukrainian army; Russian tanks are raiding Ukraine’s defensive positions and troop concentrations.
To strengthen the depleted grouping, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are forced to constantly transfer new units, including the 41st Mechanized Infantry Brigade. According to French publication Le Point, Russia currently has abundant tank reserves, most of which are stocks from the Cold War. Journalists refer to data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), when the Russia-Ukraine conflict had not yet broken out, in the Northern Military District alone, the Russian Army had at least 17.5 thousand tanks in reserve. These calculations are based on data on former Soviet armored units; but since then, reserves have increased significantly. According to estimates, the Russian tank industry can produce (or modernize) at least 400 tanks per year.
Currently, the Northern Military Region has a large number of outdated T-54, T-55, and T-62 tanks, but are mainly used for fire support for defensive combat units. However, the aiming system of these tanks has also been much improved. More modern tanks such as the T-72, T-80 or the latest version, the Russian T-90, are widely used for mobile attack operations.
Experts are evaluating different scenarios for deploying tanks in the conflict, to see which side uses them more effectively. According to International Institute for Strategic Studies experts: In the event of the success of the Ukrainian “counteroffensive”, the Russian tank fleet could be significantly reduced. However, the Armed Forces of Ukraine got bogged down in the Zaporozhye direction, and they themselves lost valuable NATO tanks (Leopard 2A4, Leopard 2A6, Stridsvagn 122, Challenger 2, AMX-10 RC and others).
American military analyst Patricia Marins wrote that the Russian tank industry is rapidly increasing production of T-80BVM main battle tanks. They are produced at the Omsk plant, which was visited in February by Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, who set the strategic goal of increasing the number of tank production to 1,000 units/year.
Modernized T-80 BVM tanks will be produced in batches of 20-30 units. This is a significant progress because before the establishment of the Northern Military District, the Omsk Tank Plant only produced an average of 40 tanks per year. However, the company has the capacity to modernize about 400 units per year. This indicates significant reserves for production.
Currently, armored repair factories are responsible for modernizing old T-80 tanks, while the Omsktransmash factory is responsible for upgrading them to T-80BVM standards. The T-80BV and T-80BVM are two main versions of the T-80 series, but they have significant differences in weapons, protection and mobility. The T-80BV is an older version developed in the 1980s, while the T-80BVM is a modernized version that began production in the early 2010s. This tank was first introduced to the public in 2017.
In terms of armament, the T-80BVM is equipped with a 125-mm smoothbore gun 2A46M-4, capable of firing a wider range of ammunition. The T-80BVM is also equipped with coaxial machine guns and anti-aircraft machine guns, helping to enhance tactical and technical capabilities in close-range defense and air defense.
In terms of protection, the T-80BVM is significantly superior to its predecessor. It is equipped with Relikt explosive reactive armor plates, which provide increased protection against the explosive warheads of anti-tank missiles. The inclined position of the armor on the hull and turret also increases protection effectiveness.
The T-80BVM is equipped with a gas turbine engine with 1,250 horsepower, helping the tank reach higher speeds than the T-80BV. The T-80BVM’s torsion bar suspension system is designed to provide a smoother ride, excellent traction and stability on a variety of terrains, making it more suitable for use in Ukraine’s various natural conditions.
Although both tanks share the same basic design platform, the T-80BVM is a significantly improved version in terms of armament, protection and mobility, making it a much more dangerous weapon on the Ukrainian battlefield.
Belgian experts said that the Omsktransmash factory’s increased production and modernization of T-80BVM tanks means a notable change in Russia’s military potential; because in the past, Omsktransmash was a major tank manufacturing enterprise of the Soviet Union.
It is expected that by the end of this year about 50-70 more units will be delivered, and the T-80BVM can become a decisive striking force in Russian armored divisions, including in the Kupyansk direction. And although Ukraine is taking steps to level this imbalance (including the recent receipt of a dozen American Abrams tanks), the T-80BVM remains the main threat to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.