Ukraine's T-84 Tank: Specs, Capabilities and Everything You Need To Know (2024)

Summary: Despite predictions of declining relevance, the enduring utility of main battle tanks (MBTs) in modern warfare has been underscored by the conflict in Eastern Europe. Ukraine's focus on expanding its tank arsenal with Western deliveries and domestically-produced T-84 Oplot tanks highlights this trend. The T-84, an enhancement of Soviet-era designs with advanced speed, armor, and weaponry, emphasizes Ukraine's strategic emphasis on armored capabilities amidst contemporary challenges. Despite limitations and economic constraints, the Oplot's role in Ukraine's defense strategy illustrates the MBT's continued importance in national security and military operations in the face of evolving threats.

Meet the T-84 Tank

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, analysts largely agreed that the role of main battle tanks in future combat would decrease over time. But two years of warfare in Eastern Europe have shown that the tank still has a role in the modern battlespace. These armored vehicles provide operational flexibility and support infantry advances. They are tough for enemy troops to take out in bulk. The MBT concept may be over one century old but will continue to serve militaries for decades to come.

No surprise, then, that Ukraine has prioritized expanding its tank arsenal. Western allies like the United States, Germany, and the United kingdom have delivered dozens of advanced MBTs over the last year, including the M1A1 Abrams, Leopard 2, and Challenger.

Over the summer, Kyiv also ordered additional T-84 tanks for its armored corps. The domestically produced “Oplot” main battle tank was personally tested by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleskii Reznikov.

An Overview of the T-84

The Soviet Union developed three distinct tank series during the Cold War. The T-72, T-64, and T-80 all possessed similar capabilities, but each series required vastly different components. The T-80 was considered the most sophisticated of the three, but it was not fuel-efficient. To rectify this, the Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau (KMDB) developed a new T-80U variant equipped with a 6TD-1 1,000-horsepower diesel engine. This new model was less expensive to produce and much more fuel-efficient. The variant was first deployed to the 4th Guards Tank Division and the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division after being showcased in the 1990 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

Following the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine’s newly secured independence separated the T-80U’s manufacturer, KMDB, from Russia’s industrial base. Over the next few years, the T-84 and T-84U would be designed, both equipped with several enhancements. The Oplot could reach speeds in excess of 43 miles per hour, far faster than the other existing Soviet platforms.

While the T-84U was impressive, Ukraine did not want to dedicate exorbitant funds to procuring many of these tanks. In fact, Kyiv was already economically unstable and did not believe a Russian invasion to be imminent.

Ukraine purchased just 10 of the Oplot tanks in 1999. By 2003, the tanks entered service with Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade. Over time, four of the 10 Oplots would be sold to the United States, leaving Ukraine with a mere six T-84U MBTs.

Specs & Capabilities

Each MBT in this series features a KBA-125mm smoothbore gun, a KT-7.62 coaxial machine gun and a KT-12.7 anti-aircraft machine gun. As explained by Army Technology, its main gun can also launch laser-guided missiles against battle tanks, helicopters, and other armored vehicles:

“Oplot has 46 rounds of ammunition for the main gun, of which 28 rounds are placed in the automatic loader. Other ammunition types carried are 1,250 rounds for KT-7.62 machine gun, 450 rounds for KT-12.7 machine gun and 450 rounds for AKS submachine gun.”

The Kontakt-5 improved explosive reactive armor (ERA) package is also incorporated on the Oplot. As the first type of ERA capable of minimizing the penetration of armor-piercing discarding sabot rounds, the Kontakt-5 is quite valuable. The Oplot-M introduced cutting-edge Duplet ERA designed to survive tandem-charge anti-tank warheads.

Other enhancements included in the Oplot include the advanced R-163-50K radio, a 1V528-2 ballistic computer, a new command and control system and a 1 KRNA land navigation system.

Is Russia’s T-90 MBT comparable to the T-84U?

Although the T-84U possesses similar systems to the T-90, it is equipped with greater speed, propulsion, ammunition charges, and armor. Perhaps the greatest issue associated with the Oplot is that Kyiv does not have access to the 125mm armor-piercing sabot rounds required to penetrate the frontal armor on newer Russian tanks like the T-90.

Now that Ukraine has received deliveries of advanced Western tanks, its push to produce additional T-84U MBTs appears to have slowed.

About the Author: Maya Carlin

Maya Carlin, National Security Writer with The National Interest, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.

Email the author or contact us: [emailprotected].

Ukraine's T-84 Tank: Specs, Capabilities and Everything You Need To Know (2024)


Ukraine's T-84 Tank: Specs, Capabilities and Everything You Need To Know? ›

Its high-performance opposed-piston engine makes it a fast tank, comparable to other modern MBTs with a power-to-weight ratio of about 26 horsepower per tonne (19 kW/t). The T-84 Oplot is an advanced version incorporating an armoured ammunition compartment in a new turret bustle.

How good is the T-84 tank? ›

Its high-performance opposed-piston engine makes it a fast tank, comparable to other modern MBTs with a power-to-weight ratio of about 26 horsepower per tonne (19 kW/t). The T-84 Oplot is an advanced version incorporating an armoured ammunition compartment in a new turret bustle.

How many T-84 tanks does Ukraine have? ›

Ukraine has only about 10 modern T-84 tanks, and about a hundred T-80 tanks that can be considered modern (even the upgraded T-72 and T-64 BMs are inferior). The Russian army is much better off with about 400 T-90 tanks (which represent its most modern tanks).

How fast is the T-84 tank reverse? ›

It could also reverse many times faster than Soviet tanks at around 20 miles per hour.

What is the best tank in Ukraine? ›

The most notable Ukrainian tank was the T-64 main battle tank which was designed and produced in Ukraine and was modernized as the T064BM Bulat and considered technologically superior to the Russian counterparts.

What is the most badass tank in the world? ›

The Top 10 Tanks on Planet Earth Right Now
  • British Challenger 2. The British Challenger-2 is one of the most overhyped MBTs imaginable. ...
  • German Leopard II. This tank is one of the most advanced MBTs in the world. ...
  • Russian T-14 Armata. ...
  • Chinese T-99. ...
  • Korean K2 Black Panther. ...
  • French Leclerc XL.
May 4, 2024

How much is a T 84 tank worth? ›

The Oplot is a main battle tank produced from the T-84 and introduced to service in 2009. It has a navigation system, an optoelectronic countermeasure complex, thermal imaging sights, and a combination protection and anti-radar system. A single tank is worth about US$4 million.

How many reverse gears does the Abrams have? ›

The engine provides power to a six-speed automatic hydrokinetic transmission (that's four forward gears and two reverse gears). The transmission turns sprockets on either side of the tank.

Why are Russian tanks so slow in reverse? ›

M1 and Leo tanks were designed to go back in full speed. Russian tanks are notoriously slow in reverse. This was intentional by Soviet tank designers. They didn't expect their tanks to survive so reversing was not a feature they focused on.

How many Abrams has Ukraine lost? ›

Russian forces have taken out five of the 31 U.S.-made M1 Abrams that the Pentagon sent to Ukraine last fall over the past two months, a senior U.S. official told NYT.

How many tanks does Ukraine have left? ›

Ukraine's tank strength

Ukraine's Armed Forces possessed less than 1,800 tanks as of 2024, which was more than eight times less than Russia's. To support Ukraine during the Russian invasion, several Western countries made commitments to deliver tanks to Ukraine, including Leopard 2, Challenger 2, and M1 Abrams.

How many bradleys does Ukraine have? ›

The U.S. has already provided Ukraine with over 200 M2 Bradley IFVs, which have been used extensively over the past year.

Which tank is better Abrams or T 90? ›

The T-90M Proryv "seems impressive, but Russian tanks always look good until they are actually used in combat," according to military technology and defense expert Michael Peck. However, "unless battlefield experience proves otherwise, I would rate the M1A2 [Abrams] superior by far to the T-90M," he told Newsweek.

What was the most reliable WWII tank? ›

The M4 was often outmatched by German tanks, but its excellent reliability meant more of them were available to fight at any particular time. The most advanced version to serve with the U.S. Army was the M4A3E8, a larger, beefier tank with an improved suspension system and a more powerful 76mm gun.

What is the best military tank ever made? ›

While the U.S. has the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank - widely considered the best on Earth - tanks like the K2 Black Panther and T-14 Armata from Russia are quite powerful as well.

Was the Centurion tank any good? ›

The Centurion was the primary British Army main battle tank of the post-World War II period. Introduced in 1945, it is widely considered to be one of the most successful post-war tank designs, remaining in production into the 1960s, and seeing combat into the 1980s.

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