In military forums and feature articles, it has recently become very fashionable to condemn the Soviet army and, in particular, the simultaneous presence in serial production of three main combat tankshaving almost the same combat and technical properties, but with a different design and different nomenclature of spare parts, which made it difficult to master, maintain and repair them. As a result of the development of this whole trinity, the main battle tanks of the T-90 Vladimir family became the main platform for the creation of which was the base of the T-72BM tank, the production and modernization of which is still ongoing. However, the very idea of which tank of these "three heroes" is the best is intriguing. In the online community today, the attitude towards these three tanks is approximately the following: the main part is fans of the T-80 gas turbine tank, especially its “coolest” modification T-80UM1. Has its small share of fans and the Kharkov T-64. The attitude towards Nizhne-Tagilsky T-72 is usually restrained and contemptuous as to the rude and primitive iron “tank” of the second line. The unsuccessful use of Iraqi T-72Ms against coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 also contributed greatly to this attitude. Well, let’s try to figure out why we take and compare in detail the design, strengths and weaknesses of three close in time period and fairly common modifications of these tanks: T-64BV, T-72B and T-80BV.
The main armament of all three tanks is represented by 125mm modifications of a smooth-bore gun - a launcher of the D-81 family. 2А46М-1 for T-64БВ, 2А46М for T-72Б and 2А46-2 for T-80БВ. All three guns have almost the same BTX and are considered among the most powerful tank guns in the world. So it’s impossible to give a palm to a cannon of a particular tank.
The main types of shells of these guns: BOPS or armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells. The most powerful of them are: Mango ZBM-44 with a tungsten core and ZBM-33 with a depleted uranium core are able to pierce a vertical armor plate with a thickness of 2000 mm and 500 mm, respectively, from the 560 distance. Cumulative shells ZBK-18M pierce 550-mm armor plate. There are still high-explosive fragmentation projectiles of the type ZOF-19, the destructive effects of which are well known to those who saw shots fired at the White House.
If the guns of these tanks are almost identical, then the fire control system and the guided weapons complex (TOS) differ quite significantly. The most accurate tank artillery - T-80BV. The soft suspension, which provides a smooth ride and the presence of an automated OMS 1А33 "Ob" allows this tank to conduct effective fire from the course of a moving target from the most difficult conditions. The gunner only needs to measure the distance to the target and hold the crosshair on it. Using input sensors, the digital ballistic computer calculates corrections and, through the stabilizer 2E26M, holds the gun in the desired position to produce an aimed shot. The T-64BV has the same 1А33 "Ob" LMS as the T-80BV tank, the same stabilizer 2E26М, but its firing rate is worse than eighty because of the more rigid and primitive suspension. T-72B does not have an automated LMS at all. His aiming complex 1А40-1 has only a ballistic corrector, and therefore it is inferior to T-64BB and T-80BB for long-range shooting at moving targets and for long distances. However, the T-72B has an advantage: the much more sophisticated dual-core weapons stabilizer 2E42-1 "Jasmine", the tracking accuracy indicator whose goal greatly exceeds the capabilities of the stabilizers 2E26M T-64BV and T-80B tanks. Therefore, T-72B can accurately shoot at a higher speed than its opponents. The soft, modern running gear also contributes to this.
We now turn to the guided weapons complex. T-64BV and T-80BV are equipped with guided missiles KUV 9K112 Cobra. This complex allows the targeted launch of missiles from a course to a range of up to 4000m. The maximum possible start-up and 5000m. The rocket punches 700mm armor plate. The minus of the complex in the not very accurate radar guidance system due to the large dispersion of the radio beam. The T-72B has a more sophisticated rocket complex 9K120 "Svir". The complex also makes it possible to carry out an aimed launch of rockets at a distance of 100-4000м and 5000м as much as possible, but at the same time it has a high-precision semi-automatic laser guidance system. Rocket punches up to 750mm armor. A minus in the impossibility of an aimed missile launch from a course, but in general, the T-72B missile system is more advanced than its opponents and allows crushing the enemy even before he approaches the range of real artillery fire.
Another important component of the firepower of a tank is its technical vision. There is a widespread belief that one of the main reasons for the failure of the Iraqi T-72M in the battles with the coalition Abrams and Challengers is the lack of an automated LMS. Say, if there were T-64BV or T-80BV, then they would have burned all these "Abrams" there. A very naive proposition. Iraqi T-72M in the open desert and complete air supremacy aviation the enemy, including NAP - direct air support, there was simply nothing to catch there. Most of them were destroyed by aircraft or simply abandoned by crews and then finished off by coalition troops. Those T-72Ms who managed to survive and engage in a duel with the Abrams won in the first place because of very poor night vision and outdated projectiles. It is regrettable to admit that the T-72B tank’s infrared night vision kit is pretty bad. TKN-3 and 1K13-49 provide the maximum range of target detection / recognition of the “tank” type at night no more than 600-1300m in passive or active modes. This is 2-3 times less than the modern Western tanks equipped with thermal imaging cameras had. I hasten to disappoint fans of the T-80BV and T-64BV. Their devices commander: TKN-3V and gunner: TPN149-23 see about the same as the T-72B - 600-1300m. The exception is a small amount of the latest T-80BV. So we must assume that if the T-80BV were in the specific situation that the Iraqi T-72M found themselves in 1991, the results of night battles would not have been much better. In general, all three tanks, according to night vision capabilities, approximately correspond to the old tanks of the 50s: T-55/62, which set the heat for the Israeli Centurions and M48 in night battles in the 1967 war and T-10M. Apparently resting on our laurels has led to the fact that such an important parameter has not been given due attention for many years.
Another important aspect is the loading system and ammunition. All three tanks have automatic loaders. The most advanced AZ tank T-72B. It accommodates 22 shots, has compact dimensions and a higher survivability. The rate of fire 6-8 vyst / min. Its disadvantage is that the loading occurs in two steps i. the piercer goes twice: first, the projectile, then the charge, but this is nothing more than an operational characteristic that does not affect the combat properties of the tank. The T-64BV and T-80BV are equipped with less sophisticated ship-type MVs with vertically standing charges that are poorly adapted to the layout in the crew’s habitable fighting compartment. 28 shot capacity. The rate of fire is the same: 6-8 vyst / min. The advantage is that the loading takes place at one time - the projectile and the charge are simultaneously fed into the charging chamber. The total 45 ammunition shots for T-72B, 38 for T-80BV and 36 for T-64BV. Here the obvious leader is T-72B.
The last paragraph in this section is auxiliary armament. It in all three tanks consists of a PKT machine gun paired with an 7,62mm cannon and an anti-aircraft gun with an 12,7mm NSVT heavy machine gun. This installation is mounted on the commander’s observation complex. On a machine gun coupled with a gun, all three tanks are absolutely equal. At the same time, the anti-aircraft installation of the PZU-5 tank T-64BV with 12,7mm machine gun NSVT much better than the anti-aircraft installation "Cliff" tanks T-72B and T-80BV. ROM-5 has a remote control from the workplace of the tank commander and does not require his sticking out of the fire hatch. Installation "cliff" tanks T-72B and T-80BV open type with manual transmission.
We divide it into several paragraphs: Protection of the forehead, protection of the bead, protection of the stern, protection of the upper hemisphere, survivability of armor penetration, thermal signature of the tank and the noise level produced by the tank during operation.
Frontal projection protection is best for the T-72B. It is provided with multi-layered armor of the hull and turret, elements of semi-active booking, and the “Contact-1” mounted dynamic protection system. Needless to say, T-72B was one of the most powerful tanks in the world at the time of its appearance, and even today its booking is still quite high. Its minus is in the arrangement of the elements of the DZ on the frontal part of the tower: just on the armor itself, adjacent to it. T-80BV is somewhat worse in this respect, which also has multi-layered booking, but does not have semi-active booking. At the same time, the elements of the DZ complex on the tower of the T-80BV tank are much better positioned: a wedge. And the last in the list is T-64BV. It has a multi-layer booking and DZ, located on the type of tank T-80BV, i.e. wedge, but inferior to T-80BV and T-72B in armor thickness. Semi-active protection also does not have.
The defense of the turret of all three tanks is ensured by the incredible thickness of its armor and the Kontakt-1 dynamic defense complex. Here the leaders of the T-72B and T-80BV. Protection of the hull side is the most powerful in T-72B. It is provided by the onboard armor itself, onboard anti-cumulative rubber-fabric screens, DZK Kontakt-1 elements placed on these screens and covering almost the entire board to the stern (with the exception of a small sector in the MTO area) and supporting rollers of optimum diameter, which shield the lower part of the board opposite the ammunition in the AZ is not closed by the screen. All this allows the T-72B tank to feel quite confident in the battle in the city at a high saturation with its means of fighting against tanks: RPGs and ATGWs. If there are intact screens and intact DZ elements, this tank is almost invulnerable from the fire of the majority of such means into the frontal and side parts of the hull and tower. The downside is that the DZ T-72B elements are mounted directly on the onboard screen, which leads to some of its inward folding, but this again has no effect on the combat characteristics of the tank. However, this design looks at least not aesthetically pleasing. The second is T-64BV. He also has anti-cumulative screens, on which special power screens are fixed, on which, in turn, the elements of the “Contact-1” DZ are fixed. The advantage of this technical solution is that the T-64BV board, unlike the T-72B, looks even and neat - “armored”. The minus of this tank is that its very small diameter supporting wheels of the skating rinks badly shield the side of the tank below the screen in front of the MOH's ammunition. The very same board with a thickness of 70-80mm (at the level of 2 World War II heavy tanks) is not able to withstand an ATGM strike or a rocket-propelled grenade of a modern RPG. Worst of all with the protection of the side of the tank T-80BV. His side screens do not have DZ elements at all! Only on the fences. The armor of the board itself is the same as in T-72B and T-64BV. Track rollers of smaller diameter than T-72B and leave decent open areas below protivokumulyativnogo screen.
The defense of the stern of the turret is very poor in all three tanks and is their most vulnerable point. Protection of the rear of the hull is worst of all for the T-80BV, which, due to its gas turbine engine, has large duct channels. Theoretically, a fragment or a bullet can fly into the engine through them. Reservation of the T-72B and T-64BV poop is solid, it is better, but still leaves much to be desired.
On top, all three tanks are well protected somewhere up to half of their length. Then everything becomes very bad. Plus, poor protection at the hatches mehvod.
On the vitality of the leaders for the umpteenth time T-72B. Its carousel AZ is very compact, located at the bottom, where it is protected from the front with powerful frontal armor, lateral side armor, screens with DZ and support rollers, rear MTO and engine. MZ tanks T-64BV and T-80BV with vertically standing charges have a much larger projection area and are much more vulnerable. Breaking the hull side opposite the MOH will immediately lead to hitting the ammunition with all the ensuing consequences. It is easier to do this than with the T-72B: the T-80BB does not have DZ elements on the side screen, the T-64BV has them, but below the screen, skinny plates almost do not close the board. At the same time, it should be noted that in the event of a detonation of the ammunition assembly, the crew of all three tanks die instantly. Is no exception and T-72B. Unfortunately, this Achilles heel of Russian tanks has not been overcome to this day either.
According to the thermal signature of the “problem” of the T-72B - its exhaust goes to the port side, not back.
In terms of noise in the leaders by a wide margin T-80BV. The front noise of his engine is almost inaudible. “Whispering death” in this respect favorably differs from its diesel counterparts T-72B and T-64BV.
In general, in terms of the overall level of security and survivability, the best tank is the T-72B. The second and third place is shared by T-80BV and T-64BV. The location of the unit in the fighting compartment with people, without any protection, is today considered an anachronism.
Mobility, maintainability, comfort:
The most spacious and comfortable: T-72B. Flat AZ of this tank provides a completely acceptable space inside. If desired, in the tower you can even go to bed, after removing the cannon fence. There is a passage to the department of management. However, the T-72B controls in the tower are less conveniently located than in T-80BV or T-64BV. All three tanks have one disease - with the gun positioned straight and its elevation angle zero, the driver cannot leave the tank through his hatch. If in peaceful conditions it is still possible to constantly keep the tower slightly rotated, then in battle it is not always possible. If it is impossible to exit through his hatch, the driver T-72B can safely get out through one of the two tower hatches. In T-80BV and T-64BV tanks, an unsuccessful MOH completely blocks the passage from the command and control compartment to the combat compartment. To form a passage, you must remove the cassettes from the MOH. The driver cannot make it from his seat. Such a design and layout of the BO of T-64BV and T-80BV tanks cost the lives of more than one driver. In the fighting compartment T-80BV and T-64BV is also much closer than in T-72B. In fairness it should be noted that even T-72B is much inferior to Western tanks with their brutal towers in interior space.
The maximum speed leader T-80BV. Powerful gas turbine engine GTD-1000ТF 1100l.s power. It provides this tank with 70-80km / h speed on the highway. Features T-72B with a B-84-1 engine in 840л.с. and T-64BV with 5-TDF engine in 700л.с. much more modest here: 60km / h and 60,5km / h, respectively. At the same time, the best T-72B is according to the dynamics of acceleration from a spot. The “steam” torque of the almost 40-liter V12 is enough to jerk the 44,5-ton slug from a place with low acceleration and to maintain a decent average speed on rough terrain. The T-80BV has better handling and can also go quickly along the “cross-path”, but is inferior in dynamics from low speeds to the T-72B due to the fact that its turbine does not have a tight connection with the output shaft. On the one hand, this is an advantage - the tank will not stall, even if it hits the wall. On the other hand, the acceleration dynamics is somewhat rubber. As an outsider T-64BV. Turbo engine piston even in 700l.s. a very small volume obviously suffers a shortage of torque, especially at low speeds and is poorly equipped to carry an 42,4-tonne tank. Even the installation of a 1000-strong engine 6-TD on T-64BM did not give him the advantage in dynamics and average speed over T-72B. The control of all three tanks is outdated - the BKP have long gone out of fashion. At the same time, modifying them with the use of a “robot” for shifting gears may well provide many advantages over conventional, power-consuming, complex and expensive “automatic torque converter” of Western tanks.
Engines. The GTD-1000ТТ Т-80БВ and В-84-1 Т-72Б divide the championship. For the first high power, smoothness, low noise and excellent starting characteristics. For the second reliability and excellent traction. Among the shortcomings: the high cost and the fear of dust of the T-80BV gas turbine engine and the difficulty in mounting / dismounting the T-72B diesel engine. Worst of all - the turbo piston 5-TDF tank T-64BV. It has a good overall power, but it is extremely capricious, not tight, loving to “eat” oil, unreliable and prone to overheating engine. Another plus is its relatively fast replacement.
Running gear The best in T-80BV and T-72B. Give the first place to someone specifically difficult. The T-80BV is slightly smoother, the T-72B has the best bead protection due to large rollers and holds explosions on mines better. Both are great at keeping the caterpillar. In service, do not strain. Against this background, the chassis T-64BV - tin. Something like the chassis of the KV-1 "Ghost", but unlike the latter made much worse. Very thin small plates of road wheels, which even did not bother to put on rubber, do not distribute the pressure well on the track. Maneuvering on heavy soils, as well as hitting the edge of a caterpillar on a high obstacle, easily leads to dropping the caterpillar. In doing so, it turns out the fences with all their contents and, if the caterpillar has flown in, it can damage the elements of the undercarriage. Towing a tank with a flying caterpillar is problematic. Track rollers get stuck in the ground. In terms of rigidity, the suspension is approximately at the level of T-72B, but it creaks and clanges when moving much stronger than the latter.
Points are set on a 10-point scale. At the same time, the highest 10 ball is assigned if any parameter corresponds to the highest index in world tank building (for example, the T-90 T-10 Forehead armor corresponds to the 26 score, and the T-0 Fore armor to the 200 score) . At once I will make a reservation that even the latest generation of tanks capable of gaining more than XNUMX balls does not exist yet.
In the end, with a small margin from the T-80BV leads T-72B. He is the cheapest trinity tank. Apparently it was not for nothing that his base was chosen for development.