The T-80, the legendary main battle tank (MBT) nicknamed the ‘flying tank’. Photo/sputnik
MOSCOW – Russian tank manufacturing giant Uralvagonzavod is considering restarting production of the T-80, the legendary main battle tank (MBT) nicknamed the ‘flying tank’.
The tank was equipped with a turbine engine which gave birth to the third generation of tank construction.
“Such a task has been assigned, at least the military has assigned it to us. We are now actively collaborating, working and exploring these questions with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as this requires new production capabilities,” Uralvagonzavod Director General Alexander Potapov told Russian media at the weekend.
The tanks fighting in the Russia-NATO proxy conflict in Ukraine hail the T-80. The reason, the crew of an upgraded T-80BVM ‘Alyosha’ tank, received national and international media attention last month after single-handedly destroying two Ukrainian T-72Bs, one M113 armored personnel carrier and five MaxxPro armored fighting vehicles and then towing their fellow tanks broken to a safe place.
First introduced into Soviet Army service in 1976, the T-80 was the world’s first third-generation MBT.
The tank was also the first tank model to use a powerful multi-fuel gas turbine engine as its primary source of propulsion, resulting in a 42.5-46 ton engine that proved crucial in head-to-head tank versus tank duels.
The tank has a crew of three, and was designed for use in elite Soviet Guard formations stationed in Eastern Europe during the Cold War.
The T-80 was nicknamed the ‘flying tank’ or ‘jet tank’ by military observers and servicemen due to its high-speed performance characteristics and maneuverability, as well as its ability to make impressive jumps.
At low speeds, the tank can operate at very low noise levels, allowing it to approach the enemy within 100-200 meters before being noticed.