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BSDA 2024: UMB unveils TR-85 M1R MBT

The TR-85 M1R was publicly exhibited for the first time at BSDA in May 2024. Externally, many of the modifications to this variant are hard to spot, with the new laser and radar warning system on the turret corners being the most prominent change. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)

Uzina Mecanică Bucureşti (UMB), part of Romania's state-owned ROMARM conglomerate, displayed a modernised version of the TR-85 M1 main battle tank (MBT) for the first time at the Black Sea Defense and Aerospace (BSDA) 2024 exhibition held in Bucharest from 22 to 24 May.

Designated TR-85 M1R (with the ‘R' denoting renovated), it is designed to extend the service life of Romania's TR-85 M1 MBT fleet by overhauling certain components and replacing many of the platform's mission systems, protection systems, and automotive components.

In terms of mission systems, these modifications include renovating the electrical gun stabilisation system to the SAE-85R standard, replacing the image intensification night sights in the commander's sight and the thermal imager in the gunner's sight with new thermal imagers supplied by Pro Optica, and updating the fire-control system (FCS) to the SCF Ciclop M-R digitalised standard. New digital communications systems provided by L3Harris Technologies and a Battle Command and Control Application (BC2A) battle management system (BMS) supplied by Romanian firm Interactive Systems are also integrated into the platform.

While the engine and transmission have not been replaced, both of these components have been overhauled and modified during the upgrade. The modifications include adding a preheater to aid cold weather starting of the engine, an engine monitoring system, and a new alternator, as well as replacing the braking systems. A new set of rubber-padded steel tracks is also installed.

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