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TR-580 / TR-77-580

The TR-580 is the upgraded version of the TR-77, which was licensed built modification of the T-55. The 580 in the designation is the output of the diesel engine. The TR-580 [TR stands for Tank Romanesc - Tank Romanian)] is a Romanian MBT development which has a similar hull and turret to the TR-85 MBT and is believed to have preceded this in production. The TR-580 has also been referred to as the TR-77-580 or the M1977. It is possible that the TR-580 was used as a testbed for the TR-85M1 MBT upgrade program as some tanks were observed with a similar modified turret.

Serial Production for the TR-77-580 tank took place during the period 1979-1985, in which time 405 tanks were built. Due to the fact that the factory of Mrsa was not yet prepared to carry out production, the first 10 tank hulls were manufactured at the Automecanica Moreni, which had the necessary facilities.

In 1990 directive H.G. No. 1329/21.12 1990 decided that, with effect from 01 January 1991, organic tank factory undertaking would pass from 23 August Enterprise in Bucharest (now S.C. FAUR S.A.) to the Mechanical Plant, having the status of an arsenal, with the current organization and equipment. In this way, capacity would not be completed to ensure the objective of the planned production of 500 tanks per year, but only by 210 tanks, the capacity reached in 1983.

To be able to switch to series production it was necessary to achieve horizontal industrial integration, with more than 141 enterprise partners, treating raw materials and materials with special characteristics, the innumerable parts and sub-assemblies of particular complexity of the composition of the tank, and to provide aggregate, special facilities for complex systems that have been achieved in those establishments production factories, polling, specialized lines etc.

The TR-580 is an upgraded version of the Russian T-55 with the installation of a locally developed suspension system and a new power pack that includes a German diesel engine. The TR-580 MBT was originally designed and built at the then state owned Brashove Factory. The Naval Infantry had a number of TR-580, but by 2012 these were no longer in service, with their equipment only including wheeled light armored vehicles, including TAB-71 and TAB-79.

The three-person cast armored steel turret lacks the rectangular stowage box on the left and the 100 mm rifled tank gun only has a fume extractor, no thermal sleeve or laser range-finder being installed. Ammunition boxes for the 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun are fitted either side of the turret.The welded hull is similar to that of the TR-85 but the TR-580 has six unique spoked roadwheels with a gap between the first/second roadwheels. . These modifications were made to allow for a bigger engine (the 800 hp one), that however never came.

The upper part of the running gear is covered by a light sheet steel skirt that, like the TR-85, extends right to the front and covers the front idler wheel. The aim of this skirt is to help reduce dust. The T-54/T-55 type exhaust outlet is retained above the last two roadwheel stations on the left side and the rear engine decking appears to be similar to the standard Russian T-55 MBT. The TR-580 has a combat weight of 38.2 tonnes.

When Romania decided to build its own tank, the relations with Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact allies were so cold no help from them on how to build a tank could be obtained. Therefore, Romanian government sent their engineers to another communist ally on a different continent: Peoples Republic of China. China happily provided all the help and expertise needed. The biggest problem during the building process were the cast turrets. Their quality was low and first pieces were cracking. The technology of casting the turrets had to be switched and the metalic composition had to be upgraded as well. The end result was worth it: 320 mm of armor + 20 mm additional plates.

The TR-580 was produced from 1974 till 1985, when the 800 hp engine finally became available and the tank with it was redesigned TR-800. Then, after several substantial modifications, another redesignation took place (TR-85M1).

In 1984 Romania agreed to sell 200 M-77 tanks, its improved version of the Soviet T-55, to Egypt as well as to provide training and maintenance and to assist Egypt in undertaking licensed production of the M-77. The TR-77 tanks exported to Egypt were ex-Romanian ones, hastily refurbished. There was a big scandal with the quality of the tanks as they weren't supposed to be exported, only to train tank crews. Also, they were not adapted to desert conditions. Later it was found out Egypt sold them further to Iraq.

Production 1979 - 1985
Weight42 + 3% t
Crew4 military
Cannon 100 mm, 5 shots per minute
Machine gun A.A.1 x 12.7 mm
Machine gun dual purpose1 x 7.62 mm
Engine -V2 55 diesel, 12-cylinder, 4-stroke overhead;
engine power580 HP
Mechanical gearbox
Specific Power13,8 CP/t
pressure on the ground0,895 Dan/cm2
Maximum speed50 km/h
Autonomy380 km
  • 50 rounds 100 mm,
  • 3,500 cartridges 7.62 mm
  • 500 12.7 mm cartridges
  • Sighting systemhorizontal electric actuators, hydraulic vertically without the SCF
    distance measured200 to 5 000 m
    Direct Distance4000 m APFSD
    Armor protection - The turret - 320 + 20 mm with extra armour - Chassis - 200 mm laminated

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    Page last modified: 15-08-2017 16:20:05 ZULU