T-72B3M / T-72B4 MBT
Main Battle Tank - Russia
The T-72B3M is an upgraded version of the T-72B3 which is the latest modernized version of the T-72. The T-72B3M project was unveiled to the public during the Final of the International Russian army Tank Biathlon competition in October 2014. According to Russian military engineers, the T-72B3M is comparable to the more advanced T-90, but at a much lower cost. In March 2016, it was announced that Russia was planning to upgrade its 150 T-72 main battle tanks to the T-72B3M version, spending 2.5 $37 million on this program. Since 2017, tank units of the Western and Southern military districts of the Russian army have received T-72B3Ms. In June 2017, it was announced that the first modernized T-72B3M main battle tanks had entered service with the Belarus army. 120 units were planned to be delivered in 2020.
T-72B3M T-72B4 MBT variants:
- T-72B3M Model 2022: This version appears in December 2022. It is fitted with a new dynamic protection system around the hull. The turret is fitted with a new ERA armor and the lower part is equipped with an RPG metal net.
The main armament of the T72B3M / T-72B4 consists of one 2A46M5 125-mm smoothbore gun which is a modernized variant of the standard 2A46M cannon, also known as the D-81TM. This gun system features reduced recoil and a stabilized gun mount. The 2A46M-5 variant was introduced in March 2012 as part of the upgraded T-90MS tank. The 2A46M5 gun design made it possible to reduce the technical dispersion of shells of all types by 15% in average and to increase the effective range of fire. It can fire a full range of ammunition including APDS (Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot), HEF(High-Explosive Fragmentation), HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank), and GM. The cannon can also fire the 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system. The range of the missile is 100m to 4,000m and takes 11.7 sec to reach a maximum range. The system is intended to engage tanks fitted with ERA (explosive reactive armor) as well as low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5 km. Like all T-72 series MBT, the T-72B3M is fitted with a carousel automatic loader mounted on the turret floor and also on the rear wall of the turret. The new gun was added including an upgraded stabilization system and autoloader. A 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and has 250 rounds of ready-use ammunition. One 12.7 mm NSV heavy machine gun is mounted on the commander's cupola. A bank of 8 smoke grenade dischargers is mounted on the left side of the turret.
|Design and protection|
The layout of the T-72B3M / T-72B4 is similar to the standard T-72 with the driver at the front, fighting in the center, and the power pack at the rear. The tank has a crew of three, with the driver seated at the front center of the hull. The other two crew members are seated in the turret, with the gunner on the left and the commander on the right. The T-72B3M is protected with the new Relikt explosive reactive armor. It will replace the old Kontakt-5 system and is expected to be two times more effective. Developed by NII Stali, Relikt utilizes a completely new composition of explosives to achieve dynamics protection. Unlike Kontakt-5, it works equally reliably against both low-velocity and high-velocity missiles, doubling protection against shaped charges and increasing anti-tank guided missile protection by 50 percent. Relikt defends against tandem warheads and reduces penetration of APFSDS rounds by over 50 percent. The side skirts are now T-90 style, including the large flat ERA modules. Two light steel stowage boxes are mounted on the turret, one at the rear and the other on the right slightly behind the commander's position.
|The sides of the T-72B3M hull is protected by Relikt ERA Explosive Reactive Armor|
|The T-72B3M / T-732B4 is motorized with the new V-92S2F engine and delivers 1,130 hp. It will replace the old 780-hp diesel engine. The new engine is paired with an automatic transmission system and an improved drivetrain to improve the tank’s mobility. The engine upgrade can be recognized by the T-90 style exhaust box on the left hull side. It can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum range of 550 km. It can ford at a depth of 1.8 m, while its maximum fording depth with a snorkel kit is 5 m. The torsion bar suspension on each side consists of six road wheels with the idler at the front, 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. The upper parts of the suspension are protected by rubber skirts.|
|Standard equipment of the T-72B3M / T-72B4 includes snorkels for deep fording operations, which are carried on the turret rear when not required, an overpressure-type NBC protection system, and night vision equipment for all three crew members. One of the new main features of the T-72B3M is the independent panoramic sight for the tank’s commander, with its own thermal imaging device. This sight is mounted on the top center of the turret between the two hatches. The sight contains a day channel and a laser range finder, as well as an image intensifier. The sight is fully stabilized and allows the commander to observe the battlefield, assign targets to the gunner and direct the turret. TKN-3 sight is still present as a backup, as is the TPD-K1 for the gunner. The gunner is equipped with the Sosna-U sighting system paired with the 1A40-4 fire-control system which provides the gunner with day and thermal sight, as well as capabilities of using laser-guided ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile). The Sosna-U is a multi-channel thermal imaging gunner sight that includes a second-generation thermal imaging camera with features of 8-12 microns. The sight also includes a laser range finder, a channel for missile guidance with detection of targets to a maximum distance of 5 km. The T-72B3M has also received a new ballistic computer to increase accuracy. As the T-72B3, the T-72B3M tank is fitted with R-168-25UE-2 radio systems. These radios allow encrypted digital voice and data transfer. A dozer blade mounted under the nose of the tank is used for clearing obstacles and preparing fire positions. A snorkel is carried on the rear side of the turret. All the T-72 series MBTs are fitted with an unditching beam mounted at the rear of the hull but for the T-72B4 model, it is mounted to the rear right side of the hull.|
|One 2A46M5 125-mm smoothbore gun, one PKTM 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and one 12.7mm NSV heavy machine gun.||Standard and explosive reactive armor Relikt.|
|Russia, Belarus||60 km/h|
|Night vision, fording kit, overpressure-type NBC protection system, laser range finder, thermal sight, ballistic computer, panoramic sight, image |
|3||Length: 9.53 m; Width: 3.59 m; Height: 2.22 m|
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