Czech T-72M4 CZ main battle tanks to be upgraded

The Czech army plans to upgrade its fleet of T-72M4 CZ main battle tanks (MBTs) to keep them operational effectiveness until 2025.

Czech T 72M4 CZ main battle tanks to be upgraded
T-72M4 CZ of the Czech army (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Lieutenant General Ales Opata, chief of general staff, said plans call for modernizing the MBT’s primary weapon system, including upgrading the Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System (TURMS-T) fire-control system (FCS), in particular the replacement of the Attila thermal camera, which is considered to be obsolete.

Following a competition in 1995, the VOP 025 (Military Repair Plant 025) was selected to be the prime contractor for the T-72M1 upgrade program. Two prototypes of an upgraded T-72M1 were completed: T-72M3 CZ and T-72M4 CZ. The only major difference between the two vehicles is that the T-72M4 CZ has a new Israeli NIMDA power pack. From an automotive aspect, the T72M4 CZ was by far superior as it had a higher power-to-weight ratio, greater acceleration and slightly higher top speed. Each T-72M1 has been upgraded in a number of key areas. To reduce target engagement times and improve first-round-hit probability of the 125 mm smoothbore gun under day and night conditions, a new Italian Galileo Avionica Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System (TURMS) fire-control system has been installed. The T-72M4 CZ has the new NIMDA power pack which has been designed specifically for the upgraded T-72 MBT. This consists of a British Perkins Engines Company Condor CV-12 rated at 1,000 hp (the 1,200 hp version is standard on the Challenger 1 and 2 MBTs), coupled to a US-supplied Allison Transmission XTG-411-6 fully automatic transmission with four forward and two reverse gears, thermostat cooling system and a 650 Amp alternator. Mounted on the front of the hull is the locally designed Metra Blankso SP system which has been designed to neutralise anti-tank mines fitted with a magnetic fuze.

Of the 150 T-72s operated in 2002, only 30 were finally upgraded to the T-72M4 CZ standard and issued to one battalion of the 3rd Armoured Brigade. The remaining 120 T-72s would be kept in reserve. The ACR currently fields 30 T-72M4 CZ MBTs, with another five held in storage. To make it short, the T-72M4 CZ is the T-72 modernized to a level compatible with MBTs of the third generation.