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TR-80 / TR-800 Tank

The decision concerning the production of tanks in Ceausescu's Romania was established by the mid-1970s. RSR Defense Council Decision of 13 May 1974, initiated the manufacturing in Romania a medium tank, weighing about 40 tons, equipped with a 100 mm caliber cannon. An engine of 800 hp for the tank was to be assimilated under license. On June 28, 1976, General Ion Coman, Minister of National Defense, and John Abraham, Minister of Machine Building Industry reported that, "although not fully guaranteeing the mobility requirements (of the TR-580 tank - No.) of the design project, due to reduced engine power, and create conditions for development of major technological solutions, so that, after the energy group in the country of 800 hp, equipped with this aggregate tank to meet the performance specified in the original theme."

The Ministry of Machine-Building Industry had taken steps to assimilate the engine and transmission, such as the prototype to be approved in late 1980 and begin series production in 1983. This caused a delay of five years of the program and rescheduling uptake medium tank engine of 800 hp of domestic design. Another program was the design and uptake of electronic fire control equipment on the tank, stabilizer gun fire fighting facilities and fallout protection. In the plan it was agreed that approval of the tank prototype and serial TR-580 (T 55-100, 580 hp engine) would be completed in 1977, and mass production to begin in 1979. In this respect, Nicolae Ceausescu has approved production of approximately 600 TR-580 tankers, originally equipped with imported engines (Poland), and since 1981 with engines manufactured in the Romania.

To speed up production tank TR-800 (T 55-100, 800 hp engine), General Victor Stanculescu in August 1982 obtained approval for the transfer program to the Tank and Automotive Division. A month later, the prototype tank was in the Michael Bravu polygon (Giurgiu), for testing. Meanwhile, Colonel engineer Stefan Popa, Director of Special Heavy Machinery Factory, has received an order from General Tiberiu Urdareanu tank to achieve approval by the end of 1982. It was already eight months delay to the original deadline (December 31, 1981).

In the early 1980s, Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the cessation of imports of particular products for Romanian defense industry. This measure affected the tank programs. On 11 July 1982, General Tiberiu Urdareanu noted in his diary: "everything must take place in the country, decided the President and our Supreme Commander. Not specified whether the decision will be valid to war."

Unfortunately, the suspension of imports of specific products, imposed by Nicolae Ceausescu, the complex tank TR-800 program. By the end of 1982, Bucharest Heavy Machinery firm did not deliver planned turrets, and the company "Hidromecanica" of Brasov failed to produce transmissions for TR-800. Finally, TR-800 tank approval took place on August 6, 1983, at the company "23 August" in Bucharest. A year later, several copies of the series 0 attended the military parade held on the occasion of National Day of Romania.

With the TR-800 tanks on parade on 23 August 1984, there were problems faced by military and civilian engineers working on the project. They continued in the coming years, and 31 May 1989 meeting of the Council of Defence, Nicolae Ceausescu threatened to suspend production of tanks, due to deficiencies in rubber gaskets and belts of the two prototypes of tanks.

At its meeting on 31 May 1989 RSR Defense Council, General Ion Coman, a former defense minister, said:" ... there have been many things, the army was equipped and endowed and exported. But, with every effort made, we did not solve the tank 800 hp, both in terms of planned quantities and in terms of quality leaves much to be desired. There are problems with the engine and transmission and all analyzes made at the factory and the polygon is not solved tank 800 hp."

After the coup of December 22, 1989, Romanian engineers tried to solve those problems by use of imported filling materials. However, attempts to improve fire control system failed. It had outstanding performance as laser range finder was not aiming device integrated daytime and ballistic computer have a limited number of corrections that could be introduced before opening fire.

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Page last modified: 14-07-2012 18:58:30 ZULU