Russian ‘Flying Tank’ T-80BVM ‘Outclasses’ Leopard 2 MBT In Ukraine War, Chinese Report Claims

In an analysis published in Chinese media, Russian T-80BVM tanks have emerged superior to the German Leopard 2 on the battlefield. The comparative evaluation sheds light on the combat capabilities and adaptability of the two prominent main battle tanks.

The Russian T-80BVM garnered praises for its combat performance, while the German Leopard 2 struggled to match the Russian MBT in challenging military conditions, claimed the Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik, citing Chinese publication Sohu. 

The Leopard 2, according to the article, faces limitations in power and encounters difficulties adapting to diverse terrains, particularly getting stuck in muddy conditions.

A key factor contributing to the T-80BVM’s superiority is its powerful gas turbine engine, providing excellent cross-country abilities. This feature enables the Russian tank to easily navigate the battlefield, while the Leopard 2 faces challenges in handling varying terrains.

The article also underscores the firepower of the Russian T-80BVM, emphasizing its significant impact on the battlefield. 

Russia’s T-80BVM main battle tank

Technical modernization has further enhanced its capabilities, with improvements including a new communication system, enhanced protection, and advanced fire control and night vision devices.

“The T-80BVM proves to be a more cost-effective vehicle in terms of both price and quality. Its production utilizes inexpensive materials without compromising its striking power,” states the author.

The assessment overall suggests that the Russian T-80BVM’s ability to excel in diverse and challenging environments, coupled with its upgraded features, positions it as a powerful contender on the modern battlefield. 

Previously, China National Radio (CNR) praised the Russian T-80 tank for its effectiveness in combat, highlighting its capability to execute high-speed maneuvers and operate efficiently in low temperatures. 

However, in contrast, the Leopard tank, though playing a vital role in bolstering the Ukrainian military, has failed to live up to the earlier hype that portrayed it as a game-changing weapon capable of causing substantial harm to the Russian military.

The tank’s performance has been hindered by a series of issues, including shortages of essential parts, a protracted and time-consuming repair process, and deficiencies in ammunition supply. 

What Makes Russia’s T-80BVM Tank Highly Capable?

The T-80BVM stands as a modernized version of the previous T-80BV main battle tank, originally produced by the Soviet Union.

These upgrades have been developed and implemented by the Russian military industry, with a primary focus on augmenting the tank’s combat effectiveness in the context of 21st-century warfare.

As per Russian media and expert assessments, the T-80BVM has demonstrated significant effectiveness in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, leading to further enhancements based on combat experience gained in the region.

In September 2023, Alexander Potapov, the general director of Uralvagonzavod, announced that the Russian military had tasked the company with resuming the production of upgraded T-80 tanks.

Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov earlier provided insights into the capabilities of the T-80BVM, highlighting it as the most modern modification of the T-80 tank. 

T 80 BVM Model 2023 925 002
The T-80BVM Model 2023 mainly features additional protection systems (Picture source: Russian social media)

These upgraded tanks first saw action in the combat zone in the Syrian Arab Republic, proving to be highly effective, said Leonkov. 

Referred to as “flying” tanks, they are equipped with aircraft engines and can achieve a maximum speed of over 80 kilometers per hour, essentially providing the tank with the ability to ‘fly.’

Notably, these tanks feature a gun stabilization system, enabling them to make high-precision shots while in motion, including over obstacles. 

Originally designed for combat operations in Arctic conditions, the T-80BVM has demonstrated effectiveness in various environments, including the middle zone and steppe conditions.

The T-80’s gas turbine engine not only contributes to the tank’s impressive speed but also enhances its overall performance on the battlefield. 

The T-80BVM Model 2023 incorporates several other advanced features to augment its defensive capabilities. Notably, the tank is equipped with reinforced wire cage armor, positioned on the top and rear sections of both the turret and hull. 

This design enhancement serves to fortify protection against threats such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and kamikaze drones. 

Additionally, the tank is equipped with the Volnorez anti-drone electronic jamming system featuring two omnidirectional antennas. 

These magnetically based antennas facilitate installation without the need for structural modifications and enable efficient suppression of drones within a radius of 600-1000 meters. 

The control panel for this advanced system is situated inside the tank and is powered directly from the onboard network, which ensures seamless integration and operation.

Furthermore, the T-80BVM Model introduces an upgraded 1PN96MT thermal imaging sight, surpassing the capabilities of its predecessor, the Sosny-U sight.