Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

T80 tank to play home match at VTTV-2007 defense exhibition in Siberia

Over 200 enterprises from Russia and 30 foreign delegations will participate in the 7-th international military exhibition VTTV-2007 to take place on June, 5 - June, 9th in Omsk, Siberia. According to the regional government special expo complex "Continent-2" with indoors space as high as 5 floor building was constructed in the city. The expo area of VTTV-2007 is more than 10 thousand sq.m. As of today over 100 guest enterprises are already registered. 60 more represent local military-industrial complex. Domestic manufacturers will present over 4000 types of military and dual purpose goods. The representatives of 31 countries confirmed their participation, including Argentina, Belgium, the Great Britain, Venezuela, Germany, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Italy, Canada, Qatar, Cyprus, China, Kuwait, Mali, Nigeria, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Northern Korea, Syria, the USA, France, Sweden. Within the frameworks of the expo a joint session of the Council of the Plenipotentiary of the President of Russia in the Siberian federal district, Council of Regional Legislators and council of inter-regional organization "Siberian Agreement" will take place. The basic theme of the discussion is development of the military-industrial complex of Siberia.

Though, main or, at least, the most stunning exhibit is the world-known Т-80U made by local Omsktransmash. The organizers constructed special water pool in the settlement "Svetly" intended for demonstration of the opportunities of tanks and other vehicles. In this way Omsk test field of the 242-nd training center of air borne troops becomes one of the best in Russia.

Russia is the only state in the world which has commissioned tanks both with diesel engines and gas turbines. Today it seems that the proponents of the diesel tank have the majority, however, not everything is so simple. The fact that India recently ordered 300 and now 350 more Russian made diesel T-90 greatly influenced the situation in national tank lobby. According to some Russian experts the Indians preferred T-90 to T-80U because they have the huge stock of T-72 (the predecessor of T-90) and it is natural for any country to avoid having two different stocks of tanks. Pakistan would have chosen Omsk made tank, but for the political reasons it was impossible to sell the tanks to the two rival states at the same time. Therefore this country had to take Ukrainian tank.

T-80Us are successfully operated in South Korea and Cyprus, the latter just recently expressed interest in additional number of these tanks. There is nothing but successful references. Brazil was interested in T-80U, but they had to refuse from the contacts with Russia under the terrific pressure from the US.

According to the representatives of Omsktransmash T-80U has several key advantages over T-90, first of all the manoeuvrability and speed gain. Also the start up period. T-80U can be started any time of the year in 55 seconds. T-90 needs several minutes, in winter even more. It is true that gas turbines have bigger fuel consumption, but on the other hand as a tank battle runs only 12 minutes on average, this advantage of diesel has minimum importance. In other cases it is possible either to transport tanks or carry additional fuel tanks.

It can be roughly stated that Russian tanks are 25% lighter than any of their western matches. Russian tanks allegedly have “weaker engines”, 1250 h.p. of T-80 vs 1500 h.p. of Leopard-2 or Abrams M2. However, this is more advantage than disadvantage. Such tanks are smaller, faster; they need no special bridges or conditions for transportation. It is more difficult to aim at small and maneuverable targets. Russian designers do not intend to increase the power of the engine just to make it equivalent to the foreign matches. Increasing the power of the engine has a limit not inside the engine, but inside the concept of the entire tank. Once the power of the engine increases certain limit it requires too many alterations to too many other systems, which change the comprehensive performance of the tank to a negative direction. Russian tanks proved their conceptual superiority in wars and tenders. The only thing Russians really did under the western influence was putting rubber on the tank tracks to participate in the parades on the asphalt.

Yuri Seleznyov