The Soviet T-80 Standard Tank was the last tank fielded before the Soviet collapse, and the most controversial. Like the US M1 Abrams tank, the T-80 used a turbine power plant rather than a conventional diesel. Although the design was blessed with some of the most sophisticated armament, fire controls, and multi-layer armor ever fielded on a Soviet tank, its power plant remained a source of considerable trouble through its career. It saw very little service in the Chechen War, though T-80 tanks were used in some of the regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s.
Although the collapse of the Soviet Union might seem the end of the story, the T-80 lived on in Ukraine where one of its tank plants was based. A diesel powered version of the T-80 was developed, the T-84, which was successfully exported, including a major sale to Pakistan to counterbalance the Indian Army's Russian T-90 tanks. Steven J Zaloga charts the little-known history of the T-80, covering the initial construction, through the development to the subsequent variants, the T-84 and Russia's enigmatic "Black Eagle Tank." Accompanying detailed cut-away artwork illustrates the unusual design features that made the T-80 so controversial.