Upgraded Russian-made T-72 main battle tanks deliver to foreign customers in the next decade 10307163

Defence & Security News - Russia
 
Upgraded Russian-made T-72 main battle tanks deliver to foreign customers in the next decade.
Soviet/Russian T-72 Ural main battle tanks (MBT) upgraded with new armaments, sighting systems and other pieces of military hardware will be demanded by potential foreign customers in the forthcoming decade, Russian defense analysts suppose.
     
Soviet/Russian T-72 Ural main battle tanks (MBT) upgraded with new armaments, sighting systems and other pieces of military hardware will be demanded by potential foreign customers in the forthcoming decade, Russian defense analysts suppose. Russian-made T-72B MBT Main Battle Tank
     
According to open sources, Soviet/Russian defense industry (primarily, Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) scientific-research corporation) produced about 30,000 T-72 MBTs in total. During the Cold War era T-72 was one of the best tanks in the world, being able to withstand several frontal hits of 105 mm armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds fired from M68/L7A1 tank gun. At the same time, 125 mm smoothbore 2A46 gun of T-72 could effectively eliminate M60A3 and Chieftain tanks. The Soviet tank revealed its combat potential to full extent during the First Lebanon War (1982), when T-72As destroyed Israeli tanks. However, both T-72A and T-72B tanks had become obsolete by the early 2000s.

T-72B was the most numerous variant of T-72. The Soviet military introduced in 1985. T-72B has a combat weight of 44.5 t and a crew of three tankers. The tank featured upgraded 2A46M gun that can fire 9K119M Reflex-M (NATO reporting name: AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) at distances up to 5,000 m. T-72B received new fire control system (FCS) with 1A40-1 sighting system, 2Eh42-2 dual-axis gun stabilizer and R-173 radio station. The tank was powered by V-84-1 (840 h.p.) diesel engine. T-72B became the first Soviet tank that was up-armoured with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour (ERA) applique bricks developed by NII Stali scientific-research institute (now a subsidiary of the Tractor Plants concern). In the late 1980s, T-72B was supposed to be one of the best Soviet tanks that could effectively engage such Western MBTs as M1 Abrams and Leopard 2.

However, the harsh economic situation of the 1990s affected Russian defense industry, and the productive/development capacities of its tank-manufacturing branch were attenuated. It resulted into the postponement of the T-72B modernization. As a result, even in 2016 Russia`s Armed Forces retain several hundreds of T-72B ageing tanks.
     
Russian army T-72B3 MBT Main Battle Tank Russian army T-72B3 MBT Main Battle Tank
     
In efforts to turn the tide back, the Uralvagonzavod corporation has developed an upgrade variant of the tank designated as T-72B3. The T-72B3 features new ERA (namely, Kontakt-5), advanced main gun (2A46M-5), Sosna-U panoramic sight developed by Belarusian Peleng company, TKN-3MK commander`s sight with integrated infrared channel and thermal imager, meteorological sensor and R-168-25U-2 Akveduk (Aqueduct) radio station. T-72B3 is powered by refurbished V-84-1 (840 h.p.) diesel engine. UVZ is rapidly upgrading Russian Armed Forces` T-72B tanks to the T-72B3 level. According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Russia`s military operate about 800 T-72B3 MBTs.

However, T-72B3 has retained the main disadvantage of its predecessor, namely weak side protection. In early 2016, UVZ revealed new variant of T-72B3 unofficially designated as T-72B3M or T-72B4. The enhanced T-72B3 has received the newest Relikt ERA developed by NII Stali, an advanced automatic target tracking device, 125 mm 2A46M-5-01 tank gun, V-92S2F (1,130 h.p.) diesel engine and upgraded autoloader. The driver`s seat is equipped with multifunctional displays (MFD) and rear-view cameras. Unlike T-90A, T-72B3M lacks Shtora-1 optical-electronic jamming system. According to open sources, Russia`s MoD is to get 32 upgraded T-72B3 MBTs before the year-end.

UVZ also offers T-72 MBT modified for urban warfare. It is equipped with blade dozer and commander`s cupola with protective shields. The tank`s composite armour is beefed up with Relikt ERA. The vehicle was unveiled at RAE-2015 defense show.
     
Czech army T-72M4CZ MBT Main Battle Tank Czech army T-72M4CZ MBT Main Battle Tank
     
It is noteworthy that several foreign defense enterprises have also developed upgrade options for T-72. For instance, Israeli Elbit Systems company offers TISAS (Thermal Imaging Stand-Alone System) sighting systems with integrated thermal imagers and Comet UMI combined navigation systems. Italian Finmeccanica (now Leonardo) has developed new sensors and FCS for T-72. Raytheon has introduced new sighting systems intended for the tank. Ukrainian Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau has introduced its own variant of T-72 upgrade designated as T-72AG. The tank has received enhanced 5TDF (1,000 h.p.) gas-turbine engine and EhA-10 auxiliary power unit (APU). T-72AG can be equipped with Varta optical-electronic jamming system (an unlicensed copy of Russian Shtora-1 jammer).

Czech VOP CZ company has developed a deep upgrade of T-72M1 (T-72A) MBTs intended for the national Armed Forces. The vehicle is designated as T-72M4CZ. The tank incorporates new CV12-1000 (1,000 h.p.) diesel engine, Dyna-72 ERA, Obra laser warning system, TURMS-T FCS, navigation system, enhanced intercom and Dita-72/97B diagnostic system. T-72M4CZ retains 125 mm 2A46M tank gun of T-72M1. The tank can fire new EPpSV-97 APFSDS round that pierces 540 mm of rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) at 2,000 m distance. Czech Armed Forces have received 30 T-72M4CZ tanks. The vehicle is also offered to potential foreign customers.
     
Polish army PT-91 MBT Main Battle Tank Polish army PT-91 MBT Main Battle Tank
     
Despite NATO membership, Poland still operates a PT-91 Twardy MBTs developed on the base of T-72M1. It incorporates a huge number of sensor and subsystems introduced by indigenous defense industry. PT-91 has received Erawa-2 ERA, Drawa FCS, POD-72 commander`s combined sighting system with infrared channel, S-1000R (1,000 h.p.) diesel engine, ESM-350M automatic transmission and US-DK-1 control and diagnostic system.

At the same time, Twardy has retained Soviet 125 mm 2A46 tank gun, as well as 7.62 mm Kalashnikov PKT coaxial machinegun and 12.7 mm NSVT Utes anti-aircraft heavy machinegun. In 2007-2009, Malaysia ordered 48 PT-91M (M stands for Malaysian) tanks.
     
Serbian-made M-84AS MBT Main Battle Tank Serbian-made M-84AS MBT Main Battle Tank
     
Serbian Yugoimport SDPR company offers M-84AS MBT that is also based on T-72. It significantly resembles Russian T-90A tank. M-84AS is equipped with Kontakt-5 ERA, Shtora-1 jamming system and 2A46M (Serbian designation: M84A1) gun. It retains the capability of firing Reflex/Reflex-M anti-tank missiles.

Croatia has unveiled M-84/T-72-based M-95 Degman MBT equipped with RRAK ERA, Racal communication suite, an advanced FCS and Samson remote controlled weapon system (RCWS).

Syria, a prominent operator of Soviet/Russian T-72 tanks has developed its own upgrade variants. The governmental forces are widely using T-72 Adra MBTs that are based on T-72M1s. T-72 Adra has received bar-slat armour and chains in order to increase the vehicle`s protection against rocket-propelled grenades with high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads.

According to open sources, over 80 variants of the T-72 tank have been developed up to date.
     
Croatian project of M-95 Degman MBT Main Battle Tank
Croatian project of M-95 Degman MBT Main Battle Tank
     
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