Russia has a wide range of artillery types in its arsenal, their latest invention being a T-80 tank chassis equipped with a naval missile launcher.
Artillery in the XX. It has undergone enormous development since the 19th century and is still indispensable in warfare. The latest addition to the Russian arsenal is a T-80 tank chassis equipped with a naval missile launcher. Footage has appeared on the Internet showing a T-80B-mounted RBU-6000 naval missile launcher during a deployment in an unknown steppe. The custom-made MLRS (multiple launch rocket system) was first seen on a ground vehicle in the fall of 2023, mounted on MT-LB tracks and Ural and Kamaz trucks. Applied to the T-80, it is a logical military step, because the armor of the tank protects the occupants from, among other things, projectiles and shrapnel from small arms.
The RBU-6000 was introduced to the Soviet Navy in the early 1960s and is basically a 3.5-tonne, 213 mm caliber anti-submarine and anti-torpedo missile launcher with twelve missiles, typically mounted on surface warships. It fires RGB-60 rockets, which each weigh 113.5 kg, have 23 kg of explosives, have a range of up to 6 km, and operate at a depth of 500 m. In the 1980s, an improved version known as the RPK-8 appeared, which began to be used at the end of 1991, was able to mark an underwater target and was operational at a depth of up to 1,000 meters. The newer systems were equipped with 19.5 kg charges, which were able to tear open the hulls of enemy submarines. The latest versions have a remote-controlled fire control system.
The T-80 was first used in the 1970s and is a high-performance tank with a 1,100 horsepower gas turbine engine. Its high performance is justified, as a vehicle equipped with an RBU-6000 MLRS module would not have enough horsepower for the “shoot and drag” strategy. The name is not very creative, practically you have to maneuver into the line of fire, fire the missiles, and then retreat as soon as possible to avoid counterfire. At the start of the 2022 special military operation, Russia had thousands of these T-80s scattered around the country. For the operation, they were dusted off, modernized, typically equipped with improved composite armor, a laser range finder, an improved aiming system and night vision, after which they were sent into battle. It is not known which of the mentioned developments are used in the Ukrainian war. It is not new from Russia that it modifies tank frames for different purposes, its uses have included the installation of demining equipment, a heavy gun was attached to it, it was converted into a mobile mortar, it was modified to drive the TOS-2 thermobaric heavy flamethrower system and it also enables the use of the unique 1K17 Szhatie Soviet laser combat platform designed to neutralize enemy electronic-optical equipment.
RBU-6000 in action
The MacGyver “do-it-yourself” style attitude of Russian military engineers has proven to be very practical in recent decades, as they seem to be able to make weapons using whatever tools, equipment and spare parts are at their disposal. There’s no official word on its capabilities, but if it’s anything like its naval version, it should have a ground range of up to 6 km, with a range of up to 335 km on the T-80 chassis without refueling.