Russia is looking to begin testing a newly-modernized version of its T-80 tank, according to the Chief of the Main Armored Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Tass News Agency quoted Lt. Gen. Alexander Shevchenko as saying, “Preparations for testing the modernized T-80BVM tank are under way.”
He did not add further details on what upgrades the modernized tanks would be receiving, though he suggested that the upgrades would take into account the Russian experience in Syria.
Omsktransmash, a subsidiary of UralVagonZavod, noted last month that it had received a contract for the modernization of T-80 tanks. Igor Lobov, the firm’s general director, noted that the contract would see deep modernization of the tanks and improve Omsktransmash’s economic position. He similarly did not discuss what upgrades would be undertaken.
Lt. Gen. Shevchenko added that “the modernized T-90M tank has entered state trials.”
The T-90M, unveiled earlier this year, is intended to replace aging T-90 models in Russian service. The upgraded tanks feature Relikt explosive reactive armor and the Shtora-1 missile countermeasures system.
Russia is also modernizing its T-72s into the T-72B3 standard. Several batches have been delivered to Russian troops in recent months.
The upgrade programs raise questions about Russia’s new-generation T-14 main battle tank, first unveiled two years ago. The tank has seen delays in production, and serial production is now expected for 2019. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said last month that Russia anticipates receiving 100 T-14s prior to 2020.