They allow for longer rounds, but I have seen nothing to suggest they are any faster in operation.
Better penetration is more useful than high rate of fire. The difference in rate of fire is not that big anyway... we are not talking about a rifle where suppressive fire could be used. The practical rate of fire where a target is located, ammo type selected and loaded and then fire opened till the target is confirmed killed by the gunner while the commander looks for other threats and targets would be not comparable to max mechanical rate of fire.
But most of the T-80s are replaced by nonupgraded T-72s, so they don't even have that going.
T-80s were deployed to fairly important units... I rather doubt they will want such units equipped with old T-72s will old radios and no thermals... they will want to practise night fighting and net centric communications and use of battle management systems so they will need to be upgraded soon enough.
Needless to say they are changing to T-72s because they can be upgraded when needed, unlike the T-80s which might need less of an upgrade but have a dead end development path.
That is assuming they all even get T-72B3 upgrade...this is over 1 thousand tanks we are talking about. To put it mildly I am not holding my breath for all of them to be upgraded, and in any case it will take several years. Until then, its a downgrade.
The Purpose of the B3 upgrade was that it was relatively cheap and simple yet provides the basics they need... ie night vision, new comms, net centricity, new gun for new ammo. If they were going to replace them with the T-90AM then I would agree with years, but if it does take years for this simple upgrade then someone has made a mistake.
(with the replacement of ANOTHER 1000+ tanks by the T-72, not including the well over 1000-1500 T-72s already in service I don't think the prospects are exactly inspiring.
Like I said.. B3 was chosen because it was the cheap and simple option to upgrade the fleet as rapidly as possible... do we assume that is no longer the case because the T-80s are going to be replaced permaturely?
Perhaps it is because the other upgrades have gone so quickly they have decided they can rapidly upgrade more T-72s and remove the extra different vehicles from the vehicle pool earlier?
T-72B is considered a bit underpowered by the army, the difference is pretty substantial when compared to the T-80. B3 does nothing to improve this this MOD cheaped out on the engine.
Not replacing the engine makes it cheaper and quicker to implement the upgrade now. Later on a new engine can be introduced to replace the old models... new thermals, new comms, new gun, new ammo make rather more sense to me than a whole new engine and new drive train to take that extra power.
Absolutely, but I think this is a backwards step. T-80 has spares all over Russia, and training facilities as well, they could easily have been kept in service till both it and the 72 are replaced by new tanks. There are a number of excellent T-80 upgrades as well that the MOD shelved. I don't think the units exchanging their T-80s for T-72Bs are going to be too happy about it.
I like the T-80 too, but as you point out separate spares and support and training equipment is kept for a tank that might be superior to old model T-72s but not upgraded ones and are inferior to new model T-90s. They can't afford to keep every tank type in service just because it works. There are likely lots of upgrades for the T-80, but at the end of the day the T-90AM is the same size and superior performance.
It is a bit like the Su-27 vs Mig-29, except with a Mig-29 that is in the same size and weight class as the Su-27.
The Mig-29M is a capable design but not as good as the Su-35 will be... if the Mig-35 was the same size as the Su-35 then there would be no point... keep in mind that just like those planes each weapons platform has their own contractors and parts companies... the T-80 uses optics and engines and equipment from one group of companies (that will rely on this work), while the T-72/90 family have different companies supplying different engines and optics and systems. Dropping the T-80 means those companies need to be absorbed by the T-72/90 companies or they need to develop new products for different platforms that will be adopted.
(Plus you know I am a fan of the Mig-29 family too).