In Development: T-80UM-1 Bars


Today, we’d like to officially unveil the first of the upcoming progression vehicles, the Russian T-80UM-1 Bars MBT!


T-80UM-1 Bars

As usual, let’s have a bit of history first. The T-80UM-1 Bars (“Snow Leopard” in Russian) starts roughly where the T-80U left off. The T-80U was a highly advanced MBT for its time (the 1980s) that nonetheless had one major flaw – its cost, which would become ever more significant with the decline of the Soviet Union. Especially the turbine engine was very complex and therefore pricey. Its advantage was, however, that it could run well in cold weather, which is why Russia kept using the T-80 series in its arctic regions.


T-80UM-1 Bars

The T-80 series was also produced in Ukraine where the expensive turbine engine was replaced by a diesel. For Russia, however, this wasn’t really an option due to the abovementioned low temperature properties. Instead, the T-80U received a more powerful turbine engine (GTD-1250) in the 1980s and that was it. Further T-80U development went nowhere apart from several prototypes – and the T-80UM-1 was one of them. A small intermission regarding its name – some sources use different variants of its designation (T-80UM1 or T-80U-M1), we’ll be going with the one most common in reputable Russian sources.

Aside from the Leningrad (today Saint Petersburg) Kirov plant, the T-80U was also mass-produced in Omsk by the Omsktransmash plant. It was there the Bars was developed and built with the prototype being shown to public during the VTTV-97 expo also taking place in Omsk in 1997. It’s worth noting that this expo was the same one where the Black Eagle prototype originally appeared.


T-80UM-1 Bars

The Black Eagle overshadowed the T-80UM-1 Bars but the latter was a far more practical and cheaper to produce vehicle. According to some sources, the T-80UM-1 was not only undergoing military trials at that point, but was also almost ready for mass-production.

The main idea behind the T-80UM-1 project was to improve the protection of the crew and ammo stowage based on the Chechnya War experience, specifically the 1994 Battle of Grozny in which the T-80 series tanks proved very vulnerable in urban combat. The most visible Bars upgrade was therefore the addition of the Arena hard-kill APS as well as an upgraded ERA kit that was supposed to protect the vehicle against RPG attacks. In addition to that, the tank received the Shtora-1 soft-kill APS as well as an improved fire extinguisher system and NBC kit. It was estimated at that time that the protection levels with all these changes would be three times higher than those of an earlier T-80U.


T-80UM-1 Bars

To upgrade the mobility of the tank, the transmission was also changed – from a standard mechanical one to a hydrostatic one called GOP-165. In combination with the upgraded 1250hp turbine, this improved the average speed of the tank by roughly 10 to 30 percent (depending on the surface type). The transmission also reduced the tank’s fuel consumption (by roughly 10 percent) and reduced the drivetrain strain. And last but not least, the tank could be operated just with a steering wheel and two pedals with the need to switch gears gone. An upgraded GTD-1400 engine was also in development with the ability to temporarily increase its power output to 1400hp. However, it was never built.

Armament-wise, the tank received a new, upgraded version of the 125mm 2A46M gun, the 2A46M-4 with an improved barrel, increasing the accuracy by roughly 20 percent thanks to the reduction of its vibrations. Along with it came a new 1A45 Irtysh fire control system with a laser rangefinder, ballistic computer, and a suite of sensors (including the DBE-BS weather sensor). The Agava gunner optics was fitted with a thermal imager. The gun could still fire 7 to 9 rounds per minute from its 28-round carousel and had the ability to launch the 9M119 Refleks missiles.


T-80UM-1 Bars

The rest of the tank stayed mostly the same, allowing for potentially fast overhauls of existing machines. The only part that required more work was the new transmission installation. Nevertheless, the project came at a very difficult time for the by-then critically underfunded Russian military for whom the Bars was intended. The 1990s were not a good time for new projects and the Omsk plant was, by that time, also in deep financial trouble. The tank therefore remained a single prototype only.


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In Armored Warfare, the T-80UM-1 will be a Tier 8 Main Battle Tank.

The tank will be possible to unlock from the Tier 7 T-80U MBT of Marat Shishkin’s MBT branch.


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As you could have guessed from the history section of the article, the tank will be somewhat similar gameplay-wise to its T-80U predecessor. The basic armor will remain roughly the same but the tank will feature two APS systems:

  • Arena hard-kill APS
  • Shtora-1 soft-kill APS

The tank will also retain the predecessor’s solid firepower and will be able to use the more advanced 3VBM23 Svinets-2 APFSDS round (along with the HEAT and HE rounds as well as the Invar guided missile). We’re still considering additional ammunition such as programmable HE (3VOF77 Namestnik-1) and thermobaric gun-launched missiles (3UBK14F1). The mobility will also be excellent thanks to a new 1400hp engine (available as an upgrade), pushing the power-to-weight ratio to 30 hp/t.


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The introduction of this vehicle is still planned for the summer of 2023 and will be followed by the next vehicle in line, the T-80BVM, further down the line. We hope that you’ll enjoy the T-80UM-1 Bars and, as always:

See you on the battlefield!

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