According to a video published a few days ago, the Russian plant in Kaluga has resumed turbine production for new T-80 tanks. This observation attests to the considerable effort made by the Russian authorities to increase industrial defense production, in a much longer-term strategy than that employed by Westerners in Ukraine.
The Ukrainians, helped by Westerners, are trying to win battles. The Russians want to win the war! This sentence, a tad provocative, however, sums up quite well the dichotomy between the strategic vision of the two camps in this conflict which has lasted for more than a year and a half, and which shows no sign of weakening.
Indeed, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is struggling to obtain the Western support essential to carry out current and future military operations with, at best, a few months of visibility ahead of him, Russia, for its part, seems to have entered in a much longer-term management of the conflict, based on much broader paradigms than those used in relation to it.
To do this, and notwithstanding the successes of the Ukrainian armies in recent weeks, Moscow appears to have chosen to rely not on the quality of its personnel, but on the considerable ascendancy that its defense industry can have over its adversary, even supported by the West.
Russian strategy in Ukraine aims for the long term
Already, last January, we wrote that the profound reorganization of Russian defense industrial assets had the potential to modify not only the balance of power in Ukraine, but above all to change the very dynamics of the conflict.
It was, then, an analysis based on several converging reports which indicated a significant increase in the production rates of tanks and armored vehicles, in particular concerning the Uralvagonzavod factory which produces the new T-90M tanks and which modernizes the T -72B3 and T-80BV in reserve, to deliver up to 50 examples per month.
Since then, this longer-term Russian strategy, built on its powerful military industrial tool, has become more evident, including on the front line.
Indeed, if the destruction of old T-62 or T-55 sometimes makes the news to highlight the state of disrepair of the Russian armies, in fact, the number of identified modern Russian tanks destroyed or damaged in Ukraine continues to grow.
Today, the most optimistic estimates estimate that Uralvagonzavod would produce around twenty tanks per month, while the observed loss rates seem more to indicate a number of 30 to 35 new T-90M, T-72B3M and T-80BVM delivered. to the armies every month.
New turbines for Russian T-80 tanks
It is in this context that new information, which appeared a few days ago, tends to increase its dimensioning nature. Indeed, according to local observations , it seems that the Kaluga turbine factory has undertaken to once again produce turbines intended for T-80 tanks .
The T-80, which was the most modern tank in service with the Russian armies at the end of the Cold War, has not been produced since the early 1990s and the end of the Soviet Union. More expensive and more complex to implement than the T-72, the T-80 was then the most powerful Soviet tank in service.
After the fall of the Soviet bloc, the Russian armies and manufacturers favored the T-90, an evolution of the T-72, equipped like the latter with a more conventional turbo diesel engine, especially since the turbine of the T- 80 had shown itself to be fragile.
In fact, no new T-80 has been produced for over 30 years now. This should end soon, if observations made regarding the resumption of production of GTD turbines in Kaluga are to be believed.
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