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The Romanian TR-85 (the TR stands for Tank Romanesc - Tank Romanian) is a drastically modified version of the T-55 with a new turret, a new power pack that includes a German diesel engine, and a completely redesigned locally developed suspension. The turret is from the Soviet T-55 and the transmission and engine are derived from the German Leopard 1. But the TR-85 is far from a T-55 turret on a Leopard body, as the Leopard has seven road wheels, while the TR-85 has six. The T-55 [and the Romanian TR-77] have only five road wheels, and lack the skirt that is the prominent identificaiton feature for the TR-85.

The TR-85 does not have the usual spoked roadwheels of the TR-77. The TR-85 turret looks a bit different from a T-55. The chin of the TR-85 hull armor has some support elements for armor skirts which are not present in TR-77. The side skirts of the TR-85 also have some ridged patterns that the TR-580 does not have. The TR-77 has smooth sideskirts. The last two toolboxes at the back of the hull were not present on the TR-580.

The original T-55 weighed 36.6 tonnes, and the heaviest Russian tank is the T-84 at 48 tonnes, while the TR-85 weighs 42 tons, and the TR-85M weighs 50 tons [the American M1A2 weighs 69.54 tonnes]. The TR-85M is not just a modified T-55, but rather is a basically redesigned T-55, with a different hull and modified turret, and more armor than the usual T-55. The turret is not different - it is the same dome-shaped T-55 turret, with a bustle and "bra armour" around the turret. The hull is lenghtened - it has one more wheel than the T-55.

The TR-85 is similar to the Russian T-55 with the 100 mm main armament being fitted with a fume extractor near the muzzle and a thermal sleeve. A laser range-finder, similar the one fitted to some Chinese MBTs such as the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) Type 69, is mounted above the mantle. The range-finder feeds data to the fire-control computer. Boxes of 12.7 mm ammunition are mounted externally on the turret sides and to the rear, while a rectangular stowage box similar to that fitted to Polish-built T-55 MBTs is on the forward left side of the turret.

The TR-85 chassis is similar to the T-55, but each side has six road wheels (the T-55 has five) with distinct gaps between the first/second, second/third and fifth/sixth road wheels. The idler at the front and drive sprocket is at the rear. A distinctive light sheet steel skirting of local design covers the upper part of the running gear. This skirt is ribbed for increased strength and the lower part has a number of footholds.

The driver sits to the front left. To the driver's immediate front are ribs running across the glacis plate and a low-profile splashboard going two-thirds of the way across the glacis plate. On the right side of the glacis plate are two headlamps and low down are several spare track links.

The TR-85 MBT was originally designed and built at the then state owned Brashove Factory. In 1976, the National Institute of Thermal Engines and expressed readiness to realize a 800 HP engine intended for tank "in a concept, by using the underlying structure of the MTU engine, the other annexes having a solution on their own. Also, the transmission was designed by hydromecanical ICSITEM, based on a model and transmission of Brasov, I.H. installation in the T-engine torque transmission.

The TR-85 main battle tank was based on the TR-77-580 with a T-block powerpack (similar to the one used in the Leopard 1) based on a license-built V8 German 830 hp 8VSA-2T2 diesel engine. A 900 hp version of this engine was used in the TR-125 MBT that never entered production. Parallel to the development of the first variant tank, since 1974 Romania continued research in order to achieve "high power grid system for tank". Analyses of specialists have highlighted that the completion in Romania energy group composed of engine and transmission to generate a power greater than 800 CP tank needs to meet in the first variant, it is not possible without an external collaboration, the experience and knowledge in the business environment so at that time and in the near future.

During the period 1974-1982, in finalizing the constructive solution for an aggregate of great power, the company purchased as sources of information external reference models. Between the years 1978-1986 it assimilated the TR-85-800 523, motor and hydromecanical transmission. The production number of the tank, TR-85-800 was executed between the years 1986-1990 with an average rate of 100 pieces per year, comparable to those of some states with long traditions in the construction of armor.

Around 600 TR-85 tanks were produced in all, with about half being withdrawn from service in the late 1990s and some 315 remaining in service by the year 2000. The TR-85 is/was in service also in Egypt and Iraq. It was also tested in combat during the Iraq-Iran war.

Weight42.2 t
Crew4 military
Cannon 100 mm, 4-7 shots per minute
Machine gun A.A.1 x 12.7 mm
Machine gun dual purpose1 x 7.62 mm
Engine diesel, 8-cylinder, 4-stroke overhead
engine power830 HP
Specific Power17,8 HP/t
pressure on the ground 0,925 Dan/cm2
Longitudinal Slope32
Maximum speed50 km/h
Autonomy400 km
  • 41 rounds 100 mm,
  • 3,000 cartridges 7.62 mm
  • 500 12.7 mm cartridges
  • 20 smoke grenades
  • Sighting systemhorizontal electric actuators, hydraulic vertical with integrated laser rangefinder and SCF
    distance measured200 to 5 000 m
    Direct Distance4000 m APFSD
    Armor protection
  • 320 + 20 mm Turret with extra armor
  • Chassis - 200 mm laminated

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    Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:20:16 ZULU