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FAVSA 2023: Romanian army plans to upgrade TR-85M1 MBT

The TR-85M1 MBT, an upgraded version of the TR-85, entered service with the Romanian army, starting in 1997. It is among the least capable MBTs serving in NATO, with lower capabilities in firepower, mobility, and survivability compared with its peers. (Janes/Mark Cazalet)

The Romanian army is planning to upgrade its obsolescent TR-85M1 main battle tank (MBT) fleet, Major Suhan Ionut, chief of the Armor Directorate in the Romanian Land Force Staff, told the second day of the SAE Media Group's Future Armoured Vehicles Situational Awareness (FAVSA) 2023 conference held in London on 24 and 25 April. He said that the upgrade for the TR-85M1 would serve to fill the gap until the introduction of a new MBT, and that tests of the upgraded vehicle could commence as soon as 2024.

Although the scope of the upgrade programme is in the process of being determined by the Romanian army, it is expected to include enhancements to the platform's situational awareness, as well as the installation of an automatic fire suppression system and a new gun stabilisation system.

The situational awareness upgrades are expected to comprise installing more capable optics, including a thermal imager, and the integration of communications systems that will enable the platform to operate more effectively with the Romanian army's Piranha V 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).

It is possible that the upgrade could also cover the installation of the Battle Command and Control Application (BC2A) battle management system, developed by the Romanian company Interactive Software. When configured for use up to the company level, the BC2A is designed to provide vehicle and unit commanders with a real-time common operational picture to enable faster decisions to be made in joint operations.

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