Char 81

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Char 81
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Digital drawing of the Char 81A
Type Main Battle Tank
Place of origin
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Democratic Irkutia
Service history
In service 1982-present
Used by Irkut People's Republic
Wars Baharaqi War
Irkut Reunification War
Production history
Designer Kassansaj Design Bureau
Designed 1974-1981
Manufacturer NORICO Factory No. 087, NORICO Factory No. 0128
Unit cost USD$2-3 million
Produced 1981-Present
Number built <8,000 (sans exports)
Specifications
Weight 44.19 tonnes
Char 81BU 47.91 tonnes
Length 9.6 m
Char 81BU 9.8 m
 length 7.1 m
Width 3.5 m
Height 2.3 m
Crew 3 (commander, driver, gunner)

Armor Composite steel-ceramic-rubber
Char 81BU Ulnaar armor
Main
armament
Char 81A 12.2 cm L/47 SA76B smoothbore cannon (38 rounds)
Char 81B 12.2 cm L/47 SA90 high velocity smoothbore cannon (38 rounds)
Char 81BU 13.6 cm L/50 SA94 smoothbore cannon (42 rounds)
Secondary
armament
7.92mm FN FTR-C (2500 rounds)
15.5mm FN FMP (1500 rounds)
Engine Char 81A KV-19 V-12 diesel
Char 81B GS-16 V-12 diesel
Char 81A 1000 hp
Char 81B 1250 hp
Power/weight Char 81A 27.1 hp/t
Char 81B 28.0 hp/t
Transmission Automatic, 5 forward, 1 reverse gears
Suspension Torsion bar
Char 81BU hydropneumatic
Ground clearance .44 m
Fuel capacity 1000 L (1350 L w/ drums)
Operational
range
500 km (with fuel drums)
Speed 65 km/h (road)
50 km/h (cross country)
Char 81BU 70 km/h (road)
Char 81BU 60 km/h (cross country)


The Char 81 (Irkut: 1981 Чар да Баталлa дЬПринcипале tr. 1981 Char da Batalla d’Principale Main Battle Tank, model 1981) is an Irkut third generation main battle tank designed for armored ground warfare by Democratic Irkutia. It is named after a type of bear.

Replacing the Char 59, the Char 81 entered service in 1982 and was first used during the Irkut intervention in Baharaq during the War in Baharaq where it performed well against contemporary "Western" tanks in use by the invading forces. Since its introduction, the Char 81 has gone through three versions: Char 81A, Char 81B, and Char 81BU. Each superseding variant has incorporated more advanced armor, fire control systems, and armament. Although the latest version, the Char 81BU, was introduced in early 2001, high costs have kept it from entering general service and is only used in selective formations while the Char 81B continues to serve as the principal main battle tank.

History and Development

Design

Interior

Armor

Electronics

Armaments

Variants

  • Char 81: The Char 81 was the initial production version introduced in 1982. It was discontinued six months later when its flaws became more apparent during the Baharaq War.
    • Char 81A: Introduced in mid-1982, the Char 81A was originally meant to be an intermediary model for the Baharaq War, however financial issues kept it in service until the early 1990s. Vastly improved over the Char 81, it featured improved fire control systems, autoloader, and electronics.
      • Char 81AK: Command version of the 81A. It is equipped with a long-range field radio, navigation system, a second antenna, and a telescopic mast.
    • Char 81B: Introduced in 1993, the Char 81B features improved fire control systems, improved composite armor (replacing the sandwiched glass-steel of the 81A), active and passive armor protection systems, and new 12.2 cm SA90 high velocity cannon.
      • Char 81BK: Command version of the 81B.
    • Char 81BU: The Char 81BU is the latest upgrade of the Char 81, incoporating a 13.6 cm SA94 smoothbore cannon, unique crew layout, a remote-controlled, unmanned turret with improved bustle autoloading system, and improved passive and active armored protection systems in the form of Sabues explosive reactive armor, Kakta non-explosive reactive armor, and active protection systems. Originally expected to phase out the Char 81B by 2014, the Char 81BU is only employed in the 2nd, 11th, 19th, 21st, and 30th Guards Cavalry divisions due to costs.
      • Char 81BUK: Command version of the 81BU.
    • Char-T: Heavy armored personnel carrier based on the Char 81A hull. The hull is lengthened by .5 meters and an infantry compartment has been added, allowing it to carry 10 infantrymen.
    • Char-E: Engineering variant. The turret has been removed and replaced with a bulldozer blade and crane.
      • Char-P: Bridgelaying variant.