Modern designers of armored vehicles are forced to work in difficult conditions of intense competition in the foreign market. They should choose the right solutions, find the optimal relationship between fighting qualities and price.
An example of a fairly successful marketing design is the T-84U Oplot, a tank designed in Kharkov. Despite the fact that no fundamentally new schematic solutions were developed for its development, it was in demand on the foreign market.
The power plant is located behind, the tower is inhabited, in a word, everything is like its ancestor, T-80, designed in the Soviet years and, in turn, leading the pedigree from the reliable and powerful T-54.
However, there are also very serious advantages that the Oplot tank can boast of. Technical characteristics are markedly improved due to the installation of a heavy-duty (1200 hp) engine, capable of operating practically on everything that burns. Suitable and diesel fuel, and kerosene, and gasoline, and even alcohol. You can mix different types of fuel in any proportion.
"Oplot" is a tank designed to meet the requirements of the international arms market. To increase its export potential, solutions that are not typical for the Soviet armored vehicles design school were used. Instead of the usual control levers, the driver uses the steering wheel to move the car, which is more typical for American tanks. The caliber of the turret cannon meets NATO standards - 125 mm.
Armor protection is greatly strengthened, especially the side planes of the hull. "Oplot" is a tank in which for the first time in Ukraine the technology of solid forging of the tower is applied.
Particularly important are changes in the instrument part of the combat vehicle. The widespread use of imported fire control and external guidance nodes also solves the problem of providing greater attractiveness to foreign buyers.
Undoubtedly, the Ukrainian Oplot tank is good, and due to many expensive components used in its design, it exceeds by some points the Russian T-90. However, when evaluating and comparing these two machines, it is necessary to compare not only technical characteristics, but also many other factors.
First, the T-90 in Russia has already been withdrawn from production, that is, it is recognized as outdated in the producer country itself. This fact can mean one thing: there are already new (in principle) samples on the way. To this you can refer the machine "Armata". Therefore, despite the victory in the tender for the supply of the Thai army to the party of this equipment, it can be stated that there is obviously not enough money for serious design and construction work in Kharkov. Comparison with the sample of the outgoing generation in itself indicates that the "Oplot" is a tank that has become obsolete at the level of the conceptual scheme.
Secondly, the possibilities for mass production of this machine are also subject to evaluation. The number of "Bullets" purchased for the Ukrainian Armed Forces barely exceeds a dozen combat units. As for foreign armies, they are in no hurry to rearm, preferring to maintain good relations with longtime suppliers from the US and other Western countries.