Oplot is a domestic main battle tank of Ukraine, which is praised as not inferior to Western products.
The T-84U Oplot MBT is said to have been deployed in the Kharkiv region, according to Armyrecognition. Oplot is a domestic main battle tank of Ukraine, which is praised as not inferior to Western products. According to reports Ukraine has only five or six T-84 Oplots, enough for a platoon.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine inherited the production capacity of the most expensive and advanced main battle tank from the Soviet Union, the T-80. Based on the T-80, Ukraine continued to develop a modernized version, resulting in the T-84 Oplot. The difference is that the T-84 uses a diesel engine instead of a gas turbine engine like on the Soviet T-80s. The use of diesel engines offers greater durability, lower operating costs, but also poorer performance especially in cold weather.
The T-84 was first built in 1994 and entered service in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1999. The T-84U is an improved version of the T-84, featuring an even more advanced fire control system and additional armor protection. The design of the tank is similar to the T-84 with the driver’s compartment at the front, the turret in the center, and the power pack at the rear. It has a crew of three including a driver, commander, and gunner.
The armament of the T-84U is similar to that of the T-84, including a 125 mm KBA-3 main gun, an Ukrainian version of the Russian 125 mm 2A46M-1 smoothbore gun, fitted with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor, and integrated with an automatic loader. This MBT is also compatible with the 9K119M Refleks anti-tank guided missiles. 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 about 590-630 mm at 2,000 m range. Secondary armament consists of coaxial a 7.62 mm machine gun and a roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.
The tank has a weight of about 46 tons, a length of 7m, a width of 3.77m, and a height of 2.21m. The T-84U is protected by an improved Explosive Reactive Armor package Kontakt-5 which was the first type of ERA able to significantly decrease the penetration of APFSDS rounds. Protection is enhanced by Shtora-1 countermeasures system, significantly increasing tank’s survivability against ATGW with semi-active or semi-automatic guidance.
The fire control system includes a gunner’s day sight, PNK-6 commander’s panoramic sighting system, PTT-2 thermal imaging sight, anti-aircraft sight and anti-aircraft machine gun control system. Detection range of targets for thermal sighting system is up to 8 km. The advanced fire-control system enables the gunner or commander to lay and fire the main armament on the move.
The T-84 is powered by a 16.3 liter KMDB 6TD-2 6-cylinder diesel engine with 1,200 hp. Some variants are powered by a more powerful 6TD-3 turbocharged diesel, developing 1,500 hp. Auxiliary gas turbine power unit is fitted to power all the tank’s systems, when the main engine is turned off. The maximum speed can reach 65 km/h, the range is 540 km.
In 2011, the Royal Thai Army, ordered 49 T-84s but the deal was canceled due to Ukraine’s limited production capacity. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, at least one T-84U was deployed with the 3rd Ukrainian Tank Brigade in Donbas. At present, it is not clear how many T-84s have been deployed in the Kharkiv area. The role of these tanks will take time to assess.