The T-80 is a well enough tank, but not equal to the T-90.
Totally agree, and the T-80 is improved in the T-80UD model with the diesel engine... but that model and the engine is made in the Ukraine now.
The gas turbine is very thirsty and suffers from breakdowns. The armour was proven to be vulnerebul to RPG in chechnya.
The gas turbine means the logistics train needs to be capable of moving more fuel forward faster to keep the engines running and it is expensive.
When the tanks were rushed to Chechnia without ERA contents it was found that from many angles they were very vulnerable.
The T-80 has a slightly different autoloader with the rounds in the turret base arranged differently which made it more vulnerable to a penetrating hit.
The T-72/90 autoloader had better armoured ammo cassettes but that is only for the ready to use ammo. The other ammo stored in the tank made them vulnerable too. In the second Chechen conflict they operated the tanks with no extra ammo with ammo only in the autoloader and it was much much safer for the crew.
I belive the desicion to go for T-90 was right, and i think it can be upgraded to soldier on for many years.
The range of things that can be upgraded is large, there is a new gun with a muzzle reference system, new ammo types, a battle management system, new communications equipment, new thermal sights for the commander and gunner, enlarged turret with better arranged hard armour and new Relickt ERA, and a new turret bustle autoloader so the total number of rounds carried ready to fire is 45-55 rounds including long rod penetrator rounds, new more powerful engine, new EO protection system, new active defence system that can deal with top attack weapons, new remote control roof mounted gun, the Nakidka screening system, EMP anti IED system, and for some missions they have an anti sniper system that uses microphones in an array to detect the source of shots fired including the calibre that might be useful for some missions too.
Cypres recently bought new T-80;s instead of T-90;s . They already had 41 and bought 41 additional from russia.
They were going to buy T-90s but realised it would just make logistics a pain for no real advantage. The Russians have T-80s to spare. For being such a good customer when the Russians do start getting rid of their extra vehicles and their spares I hope they direct some stuff to Cyprus.
I would think that because they are actually fairly similar a T-80 could certainly be upgraded with parts that are used to upgrade T-72s to near T-90 standard, so you could still operate T-80s and T-90s together without too much waste, but in Russia the T-80 is seen as a Ukrainian tank so there is little support for it there so I think it will quietly disappear from service. There are plenty of Russian suppliers of T-80 parts and they could keep them running, but as I said above the gas turbine engines are from Russia and the Diesels are from the Ukraine. Russian diesels are however gaining ground.