The T-80BVM will become the new top tier MBT in the heavy tanks branch of the Soviet tech tree with the release of the upcoming ‘Red Skies” update. The T-80BVM is in many ways similar to the T-80U – the cannon and machine guns, a similar hull upper plate structure, so it’s much more interesting to talk about the differences – and there are many of them!
The main and most noticeable difference is the new explosive “Relikt” reactive armor. ERA blocks cover the turret, frontal and side projections of the hull. This is a further development of the already good “Kontakt V”, which gives increased protection against shaped charge ammunition (including those with a tandem warhead), and also significantly increases the protection against kinetic projectiles. Taking into account the passive armor of the hull and turret, the final protection of the T-80BVM in the most protected areas is virtually invincible to chemical rounds and extremely difficult to overcome even for the more advanced APFSDS shells – apart for the best ones in the game and hits at “right” angles at short and medium distances. The “Relikt” is certainly an excellent defense, but even that doesn’t make the tank invulnerable. Firstly, the T-80BVM has several vulnerable zones in the frontal projection, not covered by reactive armor – especially in the area of the mantlet and turret ring. Secondly, on the turret, these blocks are quite large, and after their loss, the T-80BVM can not stand any AP shot from top tier vehicles.
Soviet tankers will also be pleased with the new APFSDS round – this is the 3BM60, whose armor penetration characteristics are close to the best Western models. In addition to them, the T-80BVM has devastating 9M119M1 ATGM’s with a tandem warhead, good 3BM42 fin-stabilized round, high-explosive fragmentation and shaped charge shells. A very worthy arsenal!
The T-80BVM is equipped with a 1,250 hp gas turbine engine, which is pretty good. The new “eighty” does not set speed records, but it won’t weave at the tail either… until it drives forward. Alas, the plague of the Soviet topends, the low reverse speed, may certainly sometimes be the rotten apple to spoil the barrel. But notably, the T-80BVM reverse speed of 12 kph is still higher than T-72’s or T-90’s.
Well, let’s summarize. T-80BVM is a new full-fledged top tier tank of the “eighties” family, with its own advantages and disadvantages. New ERA protection makes the tank almost invulnerable in the frontal projection against aviation and helicopter guided missiles and impudent ATGM carriers. The tank is noticeably more die-hard than its classmates, but the vehicle certainly has its own vulnerabilities, especially in the front projection of the turret. There is no panoramic sight for the commander, but there is an up-to-date fire control system with all required functions and duplicate controls- very useful with the new function of commander sights. The T-80BVM is well armed: finally, the top-tier Soviet has an effective APFSDS, and the branded tandem missiles are still extremely effective. All in all, the vehicle is definitely interesting and worthy of research.
Look for the T-80BVM at the very top of the USSR ground vehicles lineup very soon, with the release of the “Red Skies” update! See you in battle!