Among further work on improvement of the
T-64B tank, the KMDB carried out a large amount of work on enhancing
the characteristics of the fire-control system and improving the fighting
compartment as a whole. The latter without any changes was adopted for
mounting on the T-80U tank.
The design of the T-80U tank differed from the
T-64B tank mainly by two features:
road wheels with external rubber belts (instead of the road
internal shock absorption);
gas turbine engine instead of the diesel one. In 1983-1985 the
Industrial Association Malyshev Plant manufactured a batch of tanks of the
T-80U type with gas-turbine engine.
As the gas turbine engine cost was
8 to 10 times that of an equivalent diesel engine and, besides, its fuel consumption
was 1.2 to 1.4 times that of a diesel engine, it was found
expedient to order the Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau to design a
variant of the T-80U tank fitted with a diesel engine.
The power pack compartment of the Obiekt
476 designed as early as 1979 was completely adopted for all the tanks
in which the power pack with 6TD engine was installed (Obiekt 476, T-64BM,
T-64B1M, T-64AM), including the variant of the T-80U tank with 6TD engine
(factory designation of the vehicle was Obiekt 478B).
The '478B' tank was essentially the
basic Obiekt 576 fitted with the road wheels with external
rubber belts rather than the road wheels with internal shock
By the Decision of the CPSU
Central Committee and the Council of Ministers of the USSR No.
837-249 of September 2, 1985 the '478B' tank was put into
series production under the designation of the T-80U with 6TD
engine and according to the Order of the Ministry of Defence
Industry No. 510 of September 19, 1985 was manufactured in series
in parallel with the T-64B tank.
Along with improving the T-64A
and T-64B tanks, beginning with 1981, the Design Bureau carried
out design work on creating a tank with principally new layout
and design solutions. In 1984 the draft design of such a
tank was completed, and in 1985 - the technical design. In 1987
the production facilities of the KMDB manufactured prototypes of the new tank.
In 1990 Lieutenant General Nikolay A. Shomin retired, and Major General
Mykhailo D. Borysiuk, former head of the specialised Rotor Design Bureau in Chelyabinsk,
was appointed the Head and Chief Designer of the KMDB.