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New upgraded Soviet-made T-72 main battle tank displays at military parade in Iraq

According to pictures released on Internet, Iraq has upgraded the Soviet-made T-72 main battle tank in collaboration with the Iranian defense industry. On June 26, 2021, the new version of the T-72 was unveiled during a military parade in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
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Upgraded T-72 tanks at a military parade at Camp Ashraf, Iraq. (Picture source Via Iraqi PMF media)

The T-72 is one of the most popular main battle tanks in the world. It entered serial production in 1974 with the tank becoming fully operational by 1975. Currently, the Iraqi army has a total of 168 T-72M/M1.

The main armament of the T-72 consists of one 125 mm (2A46) smoothbore gun fitted with a light-alloy thermal sleeve and a bore evacuator. The gun fires three main types of separate loading ammunition, APFSDS with a maximum range of 2,100 m, HEAT-FS with a maximum direct fire range of 4,000 m, and HE-FRAG(FS) with a maximum indirect fire range of 9,400 m.

The T-72 is fitted with a carousel automatic loader system mounted on the turret floor and also on the rear wall of the turret. The carousel carries 24 ready-use projectiles. A 7.62 mm PKT machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and one 12.7 mm NSV machine gun is mounted on the commander's cupola.

The new Iraqi T-72 is fitted with a new armor package mounted all around the turret and at the front of the hull. The original Soviet-made T-72 is vulnerable when the lower part of the hull and the lower part of the turret are penetrated by high explosive projectiles. Several pictures published on the Internet show the turret of a T-72 completely torn from the hull.

The turret of the upgraded T-72 seems to be fitted with a new Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) able to defeat modern armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds. The front and the sides of the hull have also been reinforced with a new armor package that also includes ERA armor.

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