The T-84 is a Ukrainian main battle tank (MBT), a development of the Soviet T-80 main battle tank. It was first built in 1994 and entered service in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1999. The T-84 is based on the diesel-engined T-80 version, the T-80UD. Its high-performance opposed-piston engine makes it one of the fastest MBTs in the world, with a power-to-weight ratio of about 26 horsepower per tonne (19 kW/t). The T-84 Oplot is an advanced version incorporating an armoured ammunition compartment in a new turret bustle; ten of these entered Ukrainian service in 2001. The T-84-120 Yatagan is a prototype model intended for export, mounting a 120 mm gun capable of firing standard NATO ammunition and guided missiles.
The T-84 is the latest Ukrainian development of the T-80 series, designed by KMDB in Kharkiv. A main design objective was to make Ukraine's arms industry independent of Russia's, after resulting difficulties in fulfilling a contract to supply T-80UD tanks to Pakistan. An external difference from earlier models is the new Ukrainian welded turret, replacing the T-80's Russian-built cast turret (some T-80s shipped to Pakistan were fitted with the T-84 welded turret, but lack other T-84 improvements).
The T-84's outstanding feature is the 26 hp/t power-to-weight ratio. It has inherited the nickname Flying Tank from the T-80. The tank is also designed to perform well in hot climates, and even includes an air-conditioned crew compartment (operating temperature range is claimed to be −40 °C to 55 °C).
Due to the collapse of Soviet Union, the Malyshev Factory was no longer able to obtain ceramic armour modules from Russia and only the initial batch of T-84 were produced with such. Instead, later batches of T-84's composite armour is composed of special purpose rubber sandwiched between steel and alloy plates. The exact comparison of new and previous armor performance is not known and highly depend on performance of dynamic armor which continuously improved.
Ukraine has demonstrated several upgraded prototypes of this tank, intended for both domestic employment and international sale.
- Ukrainian Modernization of the T-80UD. New welded turret and Shtora-1 countermeasures suite, new electronics, new main gun, new armor, and 1,200 hp (895 kW) 6TD-2 diesel engine.
- Ukrainian upgrade of the T-84. New armoured side skirts, turret-conformal Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armour, auxiliary power unit, thermal imaging sight, satellite navigation, commander's laser range-finder, muzzle reference system, and other improvements.
- T-84 Oplot
- T-84U with a new welded turret with separate crew and ammunition compartments with blowout panels on the ammunition compartment, a new bustle-mounted autoloader.
- T-84-120 Yatagan
- A prototype version of Oplot tailored for evaluation by the Turkish Army (prototype designation, KERN2-120). Mounts a 120 mm main gun which fires both NATO 120 mm rounds (like the M829 DU series) and a special 120 mm version of the AT-11 Sniper ATGM. It also has automated gear shifting in place of mechanical gear selector, driver's T-bar control replacing tiller bars, air conditioning, and projectile muzzle velocity sensor, as well as differences in the fire control system, communications, etc.
- T-84 Oplot-M
- (Modernized), or "BM Oplot": The newest and most sophisticated version of the T-84 is an upgraded version of the "T-84 Oplot" mounting more advanced armor, new electronic countermeasure systems, and others. One visible feature is the new PNK-6 panoramic tank sight.
The BM Oplot is a further development of the previous Oplot, which is based on the T-84 main battle tank. The tank has a conventional layout with the driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear, accommodating a crew of three members.
The driver sitting in the centre is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right. The commander on the right and the gunner on the left have single-piece hatches.
Tank has a length of 9.7 m (including the forward-facing gun), a width of 3.4 m without removable side skirts, and a height of 2.8 m. The combat weight of the tank is 51 tons.
The Oplot MBT is armed with a 125 mm smoothbore KBA-3 cannon, a KT-7.62 (PKT) Coaxial machine gun and a KT-12.7 anti-aircraft machine gun. The main gun is fed by a loading system equipped with conveyor, automatic loader and control system. The ammunition includes high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding-sabot (APFSDS), high explosive anti tank (HEAT) and gun mount (GM) rounds.
The main gun can also fire a laser guided missile against battle tanks, armoured vehicles and hovering helicopters within the range of 5,000m. The missile can be fired on the move against travelling targets. The tandem warhead fitted on the missile can defeat targets equipped with explosive reactive armour and advanced spaced armour.
The Oplot has 46 rounds of ammunition for the main gun, of which 28 rounds are placed in the automatic loader. Other ammunition types carried are 1,250 rounds for KT-7.62 machine gun, 450 rounds for KT-12.7 machine gun and 450 rounds for AKS submachine gun.
- Fire Control
The vehicle has three forward-facing periscopes in front of the driver's cupola. The centre periscope can be replaced with a night driving device.
The fire control system includes a gunner's day sight, PNK-6 commander's panoramic sighting system, PTT-2 thermal imaging sight, anti-aircraft sight and anti-aircraft machine gun control system. Detection range of targets for thermal sighting system is up to 8 km.
The tank is also equipped with LIO-V ballistic computer, armament stabiliser and other systems.
The advanced fire-control system enables the gunner or commander to lay and fire the main armament on the move. The stationary and moving targets can be hit with a high first round hit probability.
Duplet ensures protection against:
- hand anti-tank grenades, hand-held and stationary grenade launchers and recoilless guns (including ammunition with tandem warheads)
- anti-tank missiles of TOW-2, MILAN and Shturm-S type
- HEAT projectiles fired by 125 mm tank smoothbore guns
- APFSDS projectiles fire by 125 mm and 120 mm tank guns
Both sides of the driver's compartment are fitted with explosive reactive armour panels for extended protection. The hull sides are hinged with large rubber skirts to withstand the attacks of man-portable anti-tank weapons. The modular explosive reactive armour package can be easily replaced or upgraded according to the future requirements.
Oplot features a Varta optronic countermeasures system for deceiving incoming missiles and anti-tank guided weapons. The system integrates laser warning sensors, infra-red jammer and smoke / aerosol screen laying system. The optronic countermeasure system provides:
- confusing of the guidance systems of ATGM by putting out laser jamming covering the horizontal plane of ±18° relative to the main gun tube and ±2° in the vertical plane
- jamming of the ATGM guidance systems that use laser illumination of targets, semi-automatic laser guided homing projectiles as well as artillery systems equipped with laser range-finders by activating the remote fast-deploying aerosol screens in a sector of ±45° relative to the main gun tube
Crew's collective protection system ensures protection of the crew and interior equipment against effects of nuclear explosions, radioactive substances, toxic agents and biological warfare agents, as well as detection and suppression of fires in the crew compartment and power pack compartment.
The Oplot tank can withstand an explosion of up to 10 kg trinitrotoluene (TNT) under the tank track and up to 4 kg TNT under the driver's compartment. The vehicle has overpressure-type NBC protection system and can be fitted with track mine-clearing systems.
BM Oplot is powered by a 6TD-2E 6-cylinder turbocharged liquid-cooled engine, which delivers 1,200 hp (882 kW). It is improved and more environmentally friendly version of the previous 6TD-2 diesel engine, used on the T-84 MBT. Also tank would be powered by a more powerful 6TD-3 diesel, developing 1,500 hp. Both engines could use diesel, jet engine fuel, petrol or any mixtures of them.
The engine provides a maximum on-road speed of 70 km/h and a range of 500 km with additional fuel tanks. The battle tank is also equipped with a diesel-electric auxiliary power unit (10 kW) to supply power to onboard systems when the main engine is turned off.
BM Oplot is equipped with torsion bar type suspension. Either side of the six dual rubber-tyred road wheels are provided with idler at forward, drive sprocket at the rear, and track support rollers.
The first, second and sixth road wheel stations are fitted with hydraulic shock absorbers. The tank can negotiate a gradient of 320 and side slope of 250. Equally, the tank can ford a water depth of 5m using deep water fording equipment.
- T-84 Oplot-T
- "BM Oplot-T" is an export version for Thailand. It has some minor modifications to meet local requirements, such as different radio, air conditioner and so on. Thailand ordered 49 of these main battle tanks. Originally it was planned that all of these MBTs will be delivered by 2014. However due to ongoing military conflict in Ukraine by 2017 only 25 of these tanks were delivered.
- BREM-84 Atlet – Armoured recovery vehicle based on the T-84 Oplot chassis.
- BREM-T – Armoured recovery vehicle based on the T-84 Oplot-T chassis.
- BMU-84 – Bridgelayer tank.
- BTMP-84 – Heavy infantry fighting vehicle prototype based on the T-84 Oplot tank, with lengthened hull, an extra pair of road wheels, and a rear compartment for five infantrymen.
The first T-84 prototype vehicle rolled out in 1994, and in the same year it was decided to build several more vehicles. They were subjected to extensive company and army trials. After successful completion of the extensive trials programme in the late 1990s the T-84 MBT entered service with the Ukrainian Army in 1999.
In September 2011, The Malyshev Plant, based in Kharkiv, announced plans to produce the first batch of five Oplot-M tanks for the Thai Army by the end of the year. Under the contract, the Ukrainian company will make 49 tanks worth over USD 200 million.
List of operators
- 12 tanks
- The Royal Thai Army has 25 T-84 Oplot-T in service. In March 2011, the Royal Thai Army placed an order for 49 T-84s to replace its fleet of aging M41A3 Walker Bulldog light tanks. Up to 200 tanks may eventually be acquired. However, the Royal Thai Army had yet to make an official announcement. The government had just approved 7.155 billion baht to purchase the first 49 Oplot tanks to be assigned to several units: the 2nd cavalry battalion (Royal Guard at Fort Chakrabongse, Prachinburi), the 4th cavalry battalion (Royal Guard at Kiakkai, Bangkok), the 8th cavalry battalion (Fort Suranari, Nakhon Ratchasima), and the 9th cavalry battalion (Fort Ekathotsarot, Phitsanuloke). The first T-84 Oplot will be delivered to be tested at Cavalry Center at Fort Adisorn, Saraburi in mid-2013 and during the official procurement. The factory in Ukraine had offered the extra 5 T-84 Oplot in addition to the first 49 Oplot tanks. 10 tanks were delivered by beginning of 2016. 5 tanks were delivered in november 2016. Thus, the number of delivered tanks has reached 15 units. However in April 2017 the Bangkok Post revealed that only 10 tanks had been delivered and that the contract had been cancelled as the Ukraine could not complete the order.
- In 2009, Peru reportedly tested the Oplot tank, but the government of Alan Garcia later decided to acquire test examples of the Chinese MBT-2000 in late 2010, only to have the government of his successor, Ollanta Humala, abandon the purchase in early 2012 to seek other alternatives. In May 2013[update], the T-84 was reported to be part of comparative tests to be conducted by Peru. The T-84 competed against the T-90S, the M1A1 Abrams, the Leopard 2A4 and A6, and the T-64 also offered by Ukraine. By September 2013, only the T-84, T-90S, Russian T-80, and M1A1 Abrams were still competing.
- Pakistan reportedly under talks with the Ukrainian Government for future Procurement.
- In January 2011[update], Azerbaijan showed interest in the Oplot main battle tank. The Defense Ministry of Ukraine has long been holding negotiations on this issue. In June 2013, it has been made public that Azerbaijan had instead purchased 100 Russian T-90 tanks, in a series of rearmament deals worth $4 billion with Russia.
- In 2007 the Bangladesh Army began negotiations for the procurement of 76 T-84 Yatagan tanks in the first batch. The Bangladesh Army intends to induct a substantial number of Yatagans (200 to 300) over the next several years as part of its third generation main battle tank procurement program. However, Bangladesh finally decided to buy 44 MBT-2000 in 2011.
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