According to Thomas Newdick, of The War Zone, Russia’s experimental Black Eagle tank (T-80UM2) was recently destroyed in Ukraine. He writes (abridged):
The Russian military’s one-off T-80UM2 experimental main battle tank has been knocked out during recent fighting in Ukraine, marking one of the more unusual kills attributed to the country’s defenders, who continue to disrupt the Kremlin’s invasion plans. The fact that this unique fighting vehicle was even participating in combat in Ukraine is somewhat surprising, but it would not be the first example of new or experimental Russian weapons systems being deployed in the campaign.
The team of researchers at the Oryx blog, who have been compiling photo and video evidence of materiel losses on both sides of the conflict, identified the wreckage of the T-80UM2 and stated that it was destroyed on March 17, or that its remains were uncovered on this date.
Russia’s only prototype T-80UM2 tank was destroyed in Ukraine:https://t.co/YCjtV5LGoZ
— Tyler Rogoway (@Aviation_Intel) March 21, 2022
By 1998 it had become clear that work was also underway on the T-80UM2, as a further development of the Cold War-era T-80. There seems to be substantial overlap between the T-80UM2 and the Black Eagle, to the point that some sources consider them one and the same. If that’s the case, then the T-80UM2 may very well have been intended to serve as a prototype for the Black Eagle which, as it turned out, never entered production.
— Armored Warfare (@ArmoredWar) December 20, 2016
As for the T-80UM2, this vehicle was based on an upgraded T-80U chassis, the main new addition being a welded-steel turret with advanced armor protection, including Kaktus explosive reactive armor (ERA), panels of which were also applied to the front of the hull. More Kaktus was fitted to the track skirts, while there were anti-fragmentation screens around the front of the turret.
In its ultimate form, the T-80UM2 was also fitted with the Drozd-2 active protection system, a hard-kill system that uses radar to detect incoming anti-tank rockets and anti-tank missiles, before automatically firing high-explosive fragmentation munitions at them, with the aim of destroying, or at last disabling them, at a distance of 20-30 feet from the tank. […]
If the T-80UM2 was taking part in some kind of pre-planned combat evaluation, of the kind that we’ve also seen in Syria, then it would appear to have ended with the conclusion that the Drozd-2, and whatever other protection features the tank was fitted with, ultimately failed to do their job.