Croatia plans to upgrade its M-84 Main Battle Tanks' fleet


The Croatian Armed Forces are planning to upgrade their M-84 main battle tanks (MBT), according to the country`s procurement plan for 2018.


Croatia plans to upgrade its M 84 Main Battle Tanks fleet 925 001
Croatian M-84 Main Battle Tanks during a military parade in 2015 (Credit Wikipédia)


"The most important 2018 projects for the Croatian Air Force include the multi-purpose combat aircraft and a hangar and workshop for the maintenance of the Firefighter Squadron; for the Croatian Navy - the procurement of ship engines and a prototype inshore patrol vessel, and for the Croatian Army - the upgrade of M-84 tanks, the machinegun and VHS D2/K2 assault rifle and the engineer working machines and equipment," Croatia`s MoD says in a statement.

According to the Military Balance 2017 analytical report issued by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Croatian Armed Forces operated 75 M-84 MBTs as of early 2017.

The M-84 tank is a modification of the Soviet export-oriented T-72M1M MBT. Croatia is reported to have upgraded all the M-84 platforms to the M-84A4 Sniper level. The M-84A4 Sniper has retained the organic 2A46-derivative 125 mm main gun. The Croatian tank has received the SCS-84 combined day/night sighting system, the DBR-84 ballistic computer and updated elevation/traverse drives. The M-84A4 Sniper MBT is reported to be powered by a German-originated engine with a power output of 1,100 hp. The tank is fitted with a communication suite from the Racal Electronics company.

The MoD did not specify the areas of the upcoming M-84 upgrade. It should be mentioned that Croatia`s Duro Dakovic company has developed a modernized variant of the M-84 designated M-84D. The M-84A4 Sniper and the M-84D share the same 125 mm main gun. However, the M-84D is additionally protected by the RRAK explosive reactive armor (ERA) applique suite and the IRD-4B laser warning system. The modernized tank is fitted with the Omega digital ballistic computer from Slovenia`s Fotona and a Samson-family RCWS from Israel`s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (a subsidiary of the Rafael company). The M-84D has a cruising range of 700 km, a maximum speed of 65 km/h and a rate of fire of nearly nine rounds per minute. The latest development in the M-84D project is the replacement of the organic Samson-type station by Kongsberg`s Protector RCWS armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machinegun (HMG).

Duro Dakovic also offers another modernization of the M-84 designated M-95 Degman. The Degman is also armed with a 125 mm 2A46-derivative tank gun. The M-95`s armament suite also includes a 7.62 mm coaxial machinegun and a roof-mounted 12.7 mm HMG. Like the M-84D, it is fitted with the RRAK ERA suite and the LIRD laser warning system. The M-95 has received a digital control panel and the CODRIS-E gunner`s combined day-night sighting system with a 2+-generation image intensifier tube. The gunner`s workplace is not reported to be fitted with a thermal imager; however, the driver`s one is equipped with a thermal periscope.

Therefore, the Croatian military is believed to upgrade its M-84D MBTs to the M-84D/M-95 level. Considering the reequipping of the armies of East European NATO member states with STANAG-compatible equipment, Duro Dakovic may arm the upgraded M-84s with a 120 mm smoothbore gun, for instance, the one developed by Swiss RUAG company.

Croatia is phasing out several Soviet-originated items of hardware at a quickened place. According to the procurement plan for 2018, the Croatian military will buy locally designed D2 5.56 mm assault rifles and K2 5.56 mm carbines to replace legacy firearms, including Kalashnikov derivatives. The plan also says that the Croatian government will sign contracts worth HRK286 million (USD45 million) with 26 indigenous companies this year.

In 2017, the Croatian military finished a large number of acquisition programs, including the overhaul of the Mi-171Sh (NATO reporting name: Hip) utility helicopters and the acquisition of RCWS and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) for Patria armored fighting vehicles. Croatia`s MoD says that the procurement plan for 2017 was accomplished almost to the full extent.


Croatia plans to upgrade its M 84 Main Battle Tanks fleet 925 002The M-84 tank and its variants are currently in use in Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kuwait. A Kuwaiti M-84 pictured at GDA 2017 (Credit Army Recognition)


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