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The TR85M1 is a modernized TR85, developed in response to a Romanian General Staff order of March 1994 to commence a modernisation program for upgrading the TR-85 tank to NATO standards. The program for modernising the Romanian tank TR-85 was initiated by order S/M1429/31.03.1994, and by the decision of the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) by which, according to the PV nr. 140/14.04.1994 this order becomes operative. The development began in 1996 with activities related to the preparation of documentation, analysis, testing, and operational requirements, in the end, the approval of products.

TR-85 main battle tank was developed in the period 1978 - 1985 on the basis of the TR-77-580 (Romanian version of the T-55). Production of the TR-85 took place from 1986 to 1990. In March 1994, Romania decided to upgrade its MBT to NATO standards, the result of the modernization process was that the TR-85-M1 had many changes compared to the original.

Specifically, the heart of the tank is a German V8 engine with a capacity of 830 horsepower, the turret adds reinforced armor plates, installs a Ciclop fire control system, changes the suspension system to 6 wheels. load-bearing on each side with a chain guard covering the hips, the TR-85-M1's mass is up to 50 tons. However, the main weapon of the TR-85-M1 is still the A308 cannon (a copy of the D-10T2S) of 100 mm size as on the TR-77 tank with 41 rounds of ammunition, a 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machine gun and 1 DShK 12.7 mm heavy machine gun.

Romanian specialists in cooperation with specialised companies in France, the most important being MATRA DEFENSE, developed and implemented the program of modernisation of the TR-85 tank, resulting in the TR-85 M1, a product that is compatible with NATO standards.

In 1999, the TR-85M1 was first presented to the public in a Romanian military show. Testing started in January and February 2000 on the first batch of 13 tanks, which were quite successful. It was estimated at that time that that by 2005 all 315 TR-85 tanks would be modernized. The plan at that time was to reduce the Romanian tank strength to 480 modern/modernized tanks, since the majority of the over 1,000 tanks in the Peoples Army were old T-55s. In fact, the number of TR85M1 tanks was very small, around of 50 in 2005 of the total of 315 TR-85 tanks. Some sources report that there are some 300 of the upgraded TR-85M1, but this is clearly in error, as it is reliably reported that 56 tanks were upgraded between 1997 and 2009.

Equipment was in the program of modernization were carried out in collaboration with major companies in the area, in the West (Airspace Matra, Sagem, Kollmorgen-Artus, Racal), as well as with companies in Romania (Electromagnetic, Faur, Elprof, UM Resita, Aeroteh, IOR and JOEL). For the most part, the modernization of the tank TR 85 consisted of telemetric equipment with modern systems of management of fire, both by day and by night and detection systems and fire extinguishing substances, non-toxic, but consists in the replacement of the old system of stabilisation, with one act which gives it a better firing accuracy.

The TR85M1 weighs 50t and has a 860hp engine, which gives it only 17 Hp/t which in comparison with other tanks is really weak (T80U- 27.5 HP/t, M1A1 Abrams 22 Hp/t). To fill it up with fuel requires 960 liters of diesel fuel and with additional external barrels at the rear another 400 liters of diesel can be carried. So the fully equipped tank goes from 48 tons empty to 52.5 tons, including ammo. You add 2,5t to the general weight of the product. It has no active or passive anti-missile defense system except for the old smoke grenades, nor does it have a laser detection system. Extra armor was added on the turret. The inside of the turret was also redesigned for better placement of the crew and new electronic equipment. The fire extinguisher system was replaced with a new non-toxic one which could put out the fire in maximum 80 milliseconds. A laser illumination warning system and auto flare disposer were also added. The brakes and suspensions were replaced and the engine was up-powered. The transmission was redesigned and a new metal-rubber track was installed.

The best part of the tank is the targeting system which is just decent. A modern (CICLOP M) targeting system was installed. The AONP-I passive gunner night sight was developed under Romanian Ministry of Defence Contract to provide the indigene TR85-M1 MBT with night capability for Surveillance; Target acquisition; and Firing of main armament (100mm cannon, 7.62mm machine gun and training device TI-14.5mm) in conjunction with FCS or independently.

One of the main elements which makes the TR 85 M1 is the 100 mm gun, whose projectiles to a distance of 4,000 meters can penetrate thick armor of 350 mm. The gun can also fire APFSDS-T shells. The gun is electrically controlled and the turret's ball bearings were also changed thus obtaining a faster movement of the gun from target to target. The main gun has 41 rounds, the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun has 5,000 rounds, the 12.7mm DSKM anti-aircraft gun has 750 rounds, the smoke grenades are 16 in number, and the flare grenades only 4. The radio system was replaced with modern Panther 2000 radio-stations produced in co-operation with Racal.

The TR-85M1 is a significant improvement over the basic TR-85. However the 100mm main gun is thought by some to be far too weak against current generation MBTs. Critics argue that the general modernisation is not very good. The turret is said to be badly designed and the space inside the turret is not enough for the crew.

The fact that Romania confidently brings an "antique" tank to compete with the world's top tanks is probably because they are based on their past confrontation with the US M1 Abrams. In 2014, during training with tank units from 14 other NATO countries in the town of Hohenfels, Romania's TR-85-M1 practiced fighting with M1 Abrams and won a crisp victory when it was defeated. up to 8 out of 11 American MBTs, a truly unbelievable result. However, when competing at SETC 2018, it is difficult for TR-85-M1 to achieve more feats because the content of the competition is extremely harsh.


Crew 4;

  • Weight, [t]                               50;
  • power to weight ratio, [HP/t]               17,2;

Dimensions   [mm]

  • width                                                                 3435;
  • height                                                    3100;
  • track gauge                                           2670;
  • length with gun forward                         9960;


  • maximum road speed, [km/h]                60;
  • Forward slope[']:                                  32;
  • side slope []                                              17;
  • ditch crossing, [m]                                2,8;
  • vertical obstacle [m]                             0,9;



8 cylinders, turbo charged direct injection diesel engine, 860 HP/2300 rpm.



Hydro-mechanical, engaging under load, one power flow in straight run and

two power flows in turns. Planetary final transmission.


Suspension system

Torsion bars and telescopic hydro-gas shock-absorbers;

Two-bolt tracks, metal - rubber articulations.



  • 100mmMaingun;
  • 7,62 mm Coaxial machine gun;
  • 12,7 Anti-aircraft machine gun;
  • Flare/smoke grenade launchers;

Ammunition on board

  • Main gun: 41 rounds-APFSDS, shaped charge, HE, AP-T;
  • Coaxial machine gun: 4500 rounds;
  • Anti-aircraft machine gun: 750 rounds;
  • Flares: 2+4;
  • Smoke grenades: 6+18;

Fire control system

Features day sight with built-in laser rangefinder, night sight with light

intensifier, ballistic computer, laser illumination warning sensors and

electric driven, 2 axes, computer aided stabilization system.

Fire suppression system

Very fast action, non-toxicagent.


Radio equipment

US and UUS stations, with intelligent frequency jump and encryption.

Intercom with 4+1 stations.


Effective Weapons

High lethality against all target types, due to APFSDS rounds and firing range Stabilized and accurate gun

Day and night sighting system infrared / light intensifier Modern fire control system


Improved survivability

Additional passive armor

Laser illumination warning sensors
Flare / Smoke grenades launcher

Rapid fire suppression system
NBC protection


Improved Mobility

Modern, powerful engine and transmission Effective suspension

Hydro - gas shock absorbers
Two - bolt tracks

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