MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian Federation begins the production and modernization of a thousand tanks. This will happen at the Omsk plant, part of the UralVagonZavod group. The news was announced on February 9 by the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Mr. Dmitry Medvedev.
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During his working visit to the plant, Mr. Medvedev got acquainted with the production facilities. He also monitored the implementation of government contracts. In his words, quoted by TASS, Ukraine’s requests for Western tanks mean a reciprocal response from Russia.
Russia has no choice but to respond in kind and remember the production and modernization of tanks and weaponry, Medvedev said. “The production and modernization of thousands of tanks are on the agenda,” Medvedev said. This is a new state order, he stated, which comes directly as an order from Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Medvedev was accompanied by the general director of the UralVagonZavod concern, Mr. Alexander Potapov. Mr. Potapov assured his guest that the government orders are executed on time. He later attended a meeting of the working group of the military-industrial commission of the Russian Federation chaired by Mr. Medvedev.
Sources report that at the time of the visit to the Omsk plant, Mr. Medvedev saw the production and modernization of the T-80BVM tank – an upgraded version of the T-80BV. This tank is equipped with a 125mm smoothbore gun. The tank is powered by a new engine providing 1,250 horsepower. As part of the update, the T-80BVM features a multi-channel gunner’s sight. A new observation for the driver and a weapon stabilizer are also integrated into the tank.
The T-80BVM has new reinforced armor. As part of the innovation of the new armor and the integration of anti-cumulative lattice screens. Their function is to protect the tank from a direct collision with an enemy drone, as hitting the grate activates the drone’s explosion. In this way, only the mesh screens will be destroyed, while the integrity of the tank will be preserved.
The T-80BVM is one of the latest tank upgrades in Russia. Only the T-90M Proriv is more advanced and is considered the best active Russian tank at the moment. Russia began supplying T-80BVM tanks to the Russian army nearly four years ago – in 2019.
Mr. Medvedev did not only visit the tank production capacity at the Omsk plant. At a later stage of his visit, he was introduced to the state-ordered production of the TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system. TOS-1A also actively participated in the war in Ukraine.
Despite the positive news for the Russian Federation and Mr. Medvedev’s optimism, there are signs that Western economic sanctions against Russia are already paying off. The T-80BVM tank is perhaps one of the first victims of the sanctions regime. According to battlefield sources, the new T-80BBM deliveries differ from previous batches with a simplified design, despite some upgrades.
For example, the original sight of the T-80BVM was replaced with one intended for the modernization of the much older Soviet T-62 tanks. According to experts, this sight [for the T-62] has a worse night vision range compared to the original TPN-3-49.
Also, sources say that the 1G42 day sight and the 1PN-96MT-02 thermal sight cooperate with the older 1A33 fire control system, which is a solution from the late 70s.
Attention is also paid to the tank’s thermal imaging sight. Before the war, Thales of France supplied components for this sight, most likely an electro-optical converter. It is the heart of such a sight and without it, it cannot work. There has been no delivery of this component for a year now, which means that Russia is integrating from its stocks this sight, or developing it locally, which is not a guarantee of the same quality.
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