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Analysis: Discover combat capabilities of Polish T-72M1R tanks donated to Ukraine

The T-72M1R Main Battle Tank (MBT) is the latest modernization of the Polish defense industry of the Soviet-made T-72A which is now used by the Ukrainian armed forces. Discover with the Army Recognition editorial team all the technical aspects and combat capabilities of the T-72M1R MBT.
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Discover T 72M1R main battle tank donates by Poland to Ukraine 925 001
Polish Army T-72M1R main battle tank, a Polish modernization of the T-72M1. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The T-72M1R, is Polish-made modernization of the T-72M1 main battle tank, the export version of the T-72A. The design of the tank is similar to the original Soviet-made T-72A tank with the driver position at the front of the hull, a turret with the commander and gunner in the center, and the power pack at the rear. The turret has conventional cast armor with a maximum thickness of 280 mm, the nose is about 80 mm thick and the glacis is of a new laminate armor 200 mm thick, which when inclined gives between 500 and 600 mm of protection. The T-72A had a significant increase in armor protection, especially over the frontal arc of the turret.

The main armament of the T-72M1R consists of one 125mm 2A46 gun which can fire armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), and high-explosive fragmentation (HEF) projectiles. The ammunition for the 2A46 gun is in two pieces including the projectile is loaded first, followed by a separate propellant charge. It can also fire the anti-tank guided missile 9M119M Reflex with a maximum firing range of 5,000 m.

The second armament includes one 7.62 mm PKT machine gun mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and has 250 rounds of ready-use ammunition and one 12.7 mm NSV machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola. Two banks of smoke grenade discharger Type 902B 81 mm are mounted to each side at the front of the turret, with seven to the left and five to the right side.

The 72M1R features a new fire control system, thermal imaging sight for the gunner, and communication system as well as GPS DAGR (Defense Advanced GPS Receiver), and several other enhancements. The rear part of the turret is also fitted with a new basket.

The T-72M1R is powered by a V-46 Diesel engine developing 780 hp that giving a power-to-weight ratio of 18.1 hp/tone. It can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 480 km. The torsion bar suspension on each side consists of six road wheels with the idler at the front, a drive sprocket at the rear, and three return rollers supporting the inside of the track only. Shock-absorbers are fitted at the first, second, and sixth roadwheel stations.

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