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The T-80UD MBT was designed under the leadership of Nikolay A. Shomin on the basis of the Izdeliye 476 tank and the running gear of the T-80 tank. The T-80UD was the last and the most advanced of the Soviet-designed tanks. The fire-control system enables both the gunner and the commander to fire the main gun and coaxial machine gun. The tank protection is ensured by the combined armour and explosive reactive armour. The tank's multi-fuel two-stroke turbo-piston diesel engine ensures high fuel efficiency and a long cruising range. The engine support systems make it possible to operate the tank at ambient fuel temperatures of up to 55 degrees Centigrade and to ford to a water depth of 1.8 m.

The T-80UD MBT is now in service with Ukraine, Russia and Pakistan. The overall design of the tank was so successful that the Guards Armoured Division located near Moscow (Russia) was equipped with T-80UDs.

The T-80UD MBT was demonstrated and subjected to trials in Pakistan in 1993 and 1995 to meet this country's requirement for a new MBT. In August 1996, Pakistan placed an order with the Ukraine for the supply of 320 T-80UD MBTs with the first batch of 15 vehicles being delivered in March 1997 and with the second batch of 35 following in mid-1997. These are from the stock of 52 T-80UD tanks which were built several years ago but not delivered. The T-80UD production line started again in the Ukraine to enable the remainder of the Pakistani MBT order to be met. In mid-1997, it was not clear as to whether the Ukraine was in a position to build all the subsystems of the T-80UD.

As of late 1997 the well-publicized sale of 320 Ukrainian T-80UD MBTs to Pakistan appeared to be dead in the water. A total of only 35 T-80UDs had been delivered to Pakistan in two separate batches in March and May 1997. These 35 tanks were reportedly drawn from Ukrainian Army stocks and had capabilities below the level agreed to by the two countries. According to Moscow's Kommersant Daily, this apparently caused the Pakistani government to cancel the sale. The Russian government had been publicly against this sale from the very beginning, and has repeatedly refused to supply Ukraine with critical components needed to build the T-80UDs. While the more modern Ukrainian T-84 MBT is "80% Ukrainian-made," the T-80UD is a largely Russian product. Pakistan had been assured by Ukraine that the contract for the T-80UDs would be honored in spite of pressure and lack of support from Russia.

The final deliveries took place in late 1999. The vehicles of the final batches incorporated many features of the T-84, including an all-welded turret and other improvements. By early 2002 Pakistan had taken delivery of 320 Ukraine-manufactured T-80UD main battle tanks, with orders for 250 more.

The T-80UD MBT armament includes a 125mm gun, 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun. The tank crew is also equipped with sub-machine guns, hand grenades and a signal pistol. The main armament comprises a 125mm KBA3 smoothbore gun fed by a carousel-type automatic loader and fitted with a thermal sleeve and fume extractor (bore evacuator). The main gun has a quick-replacement barrel which can be changed under field conditions without the need to remove the gun from the tank.

The number of rounds that T-80UD could carry is 45 two-piece rounds (projectile and charge), of which 28 rounds are placed in the automatic loader, with the remainder being stored at the driver's station and in the fighting compartment. Types of ammunition that can be fired by the gun include APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot), HEAT (high explosive anti-tank), HE-FRAG (high explosive fragmentation) rounds and laser beam-riding guided missiles.

The specific feature of the tank is that it is fitted with a guided missile system to enable the main gun to fire a laser guided missile with a maximum range of 5,000 m. The missile consists of two parts. The first part includes a pusher and an equipment compartment with control surface device. The second part includes a sustainer engine and a tandem warhead. Both parts are stowed in the automatic loader in the same way as conventional ammunition. The two parts get united into one body in the gun bore at the moment of firing.

The missile can be fired while both the tank and target are moving. The tandem warhead enables the missile to defeat targets fitted with explosive reactive armour with a high degree of efficiency.

Although the primary role of the missile is to engage battle tanks operating at ranges beyond the effective range of the 125mm tank gun firing conventional ammunition, it can also be fired against other battlefield targets such as hovering helicopters and pillboxes.

The coaxial machine gun can be aimed and fired from either gunner's or commander's station.

The anti-aircraft machine gun is mounted on the commander's cupola and is intended for use in the ground/air and ground/ground roles being aimed and fired while remaining in the vehicle under full armour protection from the commander's station. The machine gun can be elevated from -5 to +70 and traversed through +/-75 to the right and left of the vehicle longitudinal axis, or through +360 together with the tank turret. The machine gun is fitted with a vertical stabilisation system providing stabilisation in the vertical angle range of -3 to +20.

The T-80UD is fitted with an advanced fire control system, and either the gunner or commander can lay and fire the main armament at stationary and moving targets while the tank is stationary or moving with a high first round hit probability.

The fire control system comprises a gunner's 1G46 day sight, gunner's TO1-KO1E night vision system, commander's PNK-4S observation and sighting system, PZU-7 anti-aircraft sight, 1ETs29 anti-aircraft machine gun mount control system, 1V528-1 ballistic computer with input information sensors, 2E42 armament stabiliser and other devices.

The gunner's 1G46 day sight has a two-axis stabilised line of sight and incorporates a laser range-finder and a missile guidance capability. In the standard version the gunner has a TO1-KO1E sighting system with TPN-4E image intensification sight, but as an option, the Buran-Catherine-E thermal imaging sight can be fitted.

The commander's PNK-4S observation and sighting system comprises a commander's TKN-4S combined day/night sight and a gun position sensor. The commander's TKN-4S combined sight is stabilised in the vertical plane and has three channels: a day unity vision channel, a day channel with magnification of x8 and a night channel with magnification of 5.4x. A simple switch enables the commander to change from the daylight channel to the night (image intensification) channel and back again.

The commander's anti-aircraft sight enables the commander to engage air targets by using the anti-aircraft machine gun from within the safety of the turret.

In order to calculate ballistic corrections, the 1V528-1 ballistic computer automatically takes into account all the inputs from the sensors including tank speed, angular target speed, gun trunnion axis cant, crosswind speed, target range, and course angle. Additionally, the following parameters are manually input: ambient air temperature, charge temperature, barrel wear ambient air pressure and so on. The computer also computes the time when the high-explosive fragmentation projectile with controlled detonation should be detonated over the target.

The fire control system has a so-called fire gating capability, i.e., after the gun firing button has been pushed, the gun will only fire when the misalignment between the line of sight and the gun bore axis is within pre-determined limits. The fire gate size is adjusted when calibrating the fire control system after installing it in the tank. To enable a broad sector of terrain to be observed, the crew members are provided with unity magnification periscope vision blocks.

The armor protection of the T-80UD, which includes advanced multi-layer armour and explosive reactive armour package for the turret and chassis, provides to the T-80UD a high level of battlefield survivability. The T-80UD can disguise itself on the battlefield by laying a smoke/aerosol screen. Mounted on either side of the turret is a bank of four electrically operated smoke grenade launchers. The T-80UD can lay its own smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel in the engine exhaust (i.e. by using so-called engine smoke emitter). To reduce the thermal signature of the tank on the battlefield, the T-80UD power pack compartment top deck is fitted with special heat insulation.

The T-80UD is powered by a model 6TD-1 6-cylinder diesel engine developing 1,000 hp. The air inlet of the engine allows air to be ducted from the least dusty quarter and enables water obstacles to be crossed to a water depth of 1.8 m without preparation. There are two parts to the air filtration system, the centrifugal pre-cleaners and the air cleaner casing. This enables the tank to be operated in hot and dusty conditions for up to 1,000 km without a change of filters and to carry out combat under radioactive conditions.

The suspension is of the torsion bar type with each side having six dual rubber-tyred road wheels with the idler at the front, drive sprocket at the rear and track support rollers. The upper part of the suspension is covered by a skirt, the forward part of which is armoured (fitted with explosive reactive armour). A rubber mat hangs at the front of the vehicle and this helps to keep down dust.

The T-80UD MBT standard equipment also includes an NBC system, provision for deep fording, fire detection/suppression system, radiation shielding and a dozer blade mounted under the front of the hull. The NBC protection system protects the crew and inner equipment of the tank against the effects of nuclear explosions, radioactive dust, toxic agents and bacteriological materials. The radiation shielding is designed in the form of liner fixed on both internal and external surfaces of the tank.

The deep fording equipment enables the tank to cross water obstacles to a water depth of 5 m (1.8 m deep water obstacles can be crossed without preparation).

The fire detection/suppression system enables internal fires to be detected and suppressed in both crew compartment and power pack compartment.

The dozer blade enables the tank to dig up a tank caponier within 15-40 minutes depending on the type of ground. The T-80UD can be fitted with various types of mine-clearing system at the front of the hull including KMT-6 plough-type system and KMT-7 roller-type system. Two long-range fuel tanks and an unditching beam can be mounted at the rear of the hull.

The following key support vehicles can also be supplied to provide the T-80UD MBT with technical and logistic support during its operational life: armoured repair and recovery vehicle (based on the T-80UD chassis); armoured vehicle-launched bridge (based on the T-80UD chassis); tracked carrier with a carrying capacity of 12 t (its main sub-assemblies are similar to those of the T-80UD); various tank maintenance mobile workshops (based on the chassis of cross-country vehicles).

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