Watch: T-80 tank survives an explosion and continues to fire

MOSCOW, RUSSIAN — A video recorded by the camera of a drone dropping a bomb on a T-80 tank is being shared on Russian social media accounts. The action, of course, takes place in Ukraine. The activists who shared the video did not say when the attack took place or in which area along the long front line.

Watch: Russian T-80 tank survives an explosion and continues to fire
Video creenshot

The video recorded the moment the bomb was dropped from a drone. The hit is accurate as the bomb lands almost in the middle of the tank’s turret. However, the bomb blast failed to penetrate the T-80’s turret armor or damage the tank. A few seconds later, the tank fires a shot while moving backward. It is clearly visible that there is no damage to the turret, and the tank is in working order.

Let’s specify that the tank is T-80BVM. A modernized version of T-80B. Some suggest that this is a T-72 tank, but if we look at the rear of the tank, we will note that the vents that take the burnt gas from the engine fuel are not visible. In the case of the T-72, they are immediately after the turret of the tank – lattice and mesh gas outlets. Also, the turret of the T-80 differs from that of the T-72 when compared from a bird’s eye view.

Russian or Ukrainian tank?

There are many comments under the video. However, they are more related to the belonging of the tank. Some belief the tank to be Ukrainian, citing the colors [yellow and blue as far as can be determined] on the main gun of the T-80 tank. However, the muzzle colors are three, not two, the last being the red color range. Since the colors are not clear the yellow color is actually white. The fact that the flag is a tricolor suggests that this is a Russian tank.

3rd-gen Soviet tanks T-80BV departed for repairs, then to Ukraine
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The other fact to note is the inscribed letter ‘V’ on the armor of the tank cover. Both the letter ‘Z’ and the letter ‘V’ are used for designation by the Russian Armed Forces. The Ukrainian Armed Forces do not use a one-letter designation on their weapon systems, as far as we know. There is also early war footage of Russian T-80 tanks with ‘V’ markings in exactly the same location as the tank in the video.

It is possible that the tank was captured by the Ukrainian armed forces. There have been many reports of this since the beginning of the war. However, since the beginning of the war, the Russian designation is always removed from every weapon captured by Ukraine. Also, the flag on the main gun would be removed as well. Otherwise, the tank crew risks coming under fire from friendly fire.

T-80 in Ukraine

Ukraine also has T-80 tanks in service. Before the war, the last available information is about 250 tanks. However, this information is from 2005, and until the start of the war on February 24, 2022, there is no up-to-date information about the exact amount in Ukraine’s inventory.

T-80 modernization

The video is interesting not so much because of the failure of the bomb, but because of the armor of the tank. In August of this year, Russia began the modernization of the T-80 tank by replacing Kontakt 1 reactive armor cubes with the latest development in the field – Relikt reactive armor. Thus, the T-80 tanks were upgraded to the T-80BVM level, which means that there is a new crew protection system and a new firefighting and communication system.

This video is one of the rare ones since the beginning of the war that shows the failure of a dropped bomb on a Russian tank. We are used to seeing such videos, but in them very often the projectile falls through the open hatch of the turret, thereby overcoming the resistance of the tank’s turret armor.

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