[Tanks] T-72 and T-80 (part 1)

Judging their exteriors, T-72 and T-80 are quite similar, with all of their Soviet characteristics: low, compact, small target area, strong firepower.

They also have many similarities, such as the use of a 125 mm smooth-shot cannon, which can shoot multiple kind of bullets and grenades, including anti-tank missiles.
Both have relatively modern fire control systems, equipped with infrared devices for night-time visions, high accuracy laser detectors and enhanced protection with explosive reactive armor. However, going into details, they have quite a few differences:
    Firstly, T-72’s automatic loading system is mechanical, less modern and reliable than T-80’s electric-hydraulic system.
    Secondly, the protection features of the T-80 are higher than those of the T-72 due to the use of multi-layer composite armor in conjunction with explosive armor, while the T-72 has regular steel exteriors with lower endurance.
    Third, the T-80 uses a small turbine engine but produces high power, which results in a higher power /weight ratio, so that maneuverability and speed are higher than those of T-72.
Obviously, compared to the T-80, the T-72 has some of the less technical specs, but thanks to the economic merit they still exist. T-72’s inferiority was partly verified by the wars in Iraq and Chechnya.
In the 1991 “Desert Storm” campaign, Iraqi T-72 tanks suffered heavy casualties when they met with air forces with absolute superiority.
Similarly, during the First Chechnya War, the T-72 tanks of the Russian Armed Forces suffered significant damage as well when dealing with rebels.
There are many reasons for these damages, but one can not help to mention that the protection of T-72 is not as good as expected. The reason it has so many shortcomings compared to the T-80 is because of its price.
By the time of the 1970s, the cost of a T-72 was only half the cost of a T-80.
As a result, T-72 was quickly introduced into mass production and was widely used bythe Soviet Union and its allies. Not only that, it’d been also exported and licensed in many other countries.
Meanwhile, the T-64 and T-80 were only produced in limited numbers and equipped for a number of important units of the Soviet Army.
To the later variants of the T-80 was introduced for export, but in general, the number of main tank T-64 and T-80 is still far behind the T-72’s number.

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