Russia achieved a new level of T-72 upgrading – it is T-72B4
MOSCOW ($1=62.00 Russian Rubles) — Just days ago, on December 1st, Russia’s largest tank production plant delivered a new batch of upgraded T-72B3 tanks. According to the announcement of the Russian Ministry of Defense, UralVagonZavod has upgraded the T-72B to the T-72B3 level. The upgrades include all of the tank’s systems, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
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Sources are already reporting a new modernization of the Soviet-designed tank. According to them, the new level of the tank is the T-72B4. The new level represents increased armor protection, the source said. According to him, the armor protection of the T-72B4 comes significantly closer to that of the Russian flagship T-90M.
The T-72 is a significant arsenal of the armored tank battalions of the Russian army. Although they are of Soviet standard, Russia has been able to upgrade and modernize them to meet the requirements of the 21st century. It is assumed that the next batch will be T-72B4 and most likely will go to the front in Ukraine. However, how this version of the tank will perform and, above all, how durable the armor will be against modern anti-tank missiles, including the American Javelin, remains to be seen.
In detail, the source claims that the tank’s side armor has been reinforced, mostly around the tracks. An iron mesh under the turret resembling that of the T-90 is also integrated. The Russians have decided to provide more protection around the smoke grenade launcher. It is there, right around the smoke grenade launchers, the source says, that there is integrated anti-explosive protection. It is also said to have integrated new smoke launchers.
In Ukraine, the updated tank will best demonstrate its capabilities. Will it handle anti-tank missiles is the one question. However, how protected the crew is is another matter, and it remains unclear since the source does not say that the Russians made additional protection for the crew. However, this does not negate the possibility that such a defense was foreseen and made. It is also not clear whether, as with the T-90M, with the T-72B4 they separated the ammunition from the crew in the tank. At the beginning of the war, Russian tanks exploded easily precisely because the ammunition and the crew were in one place.
Russia is the largest producer of tanks in the world according to official data. China and North Korea also produce large amounts, possibly even more than Russia, but since there is no data for these two countries, it is assumed that Russia is the leader. In recent years, however, Russia has been exporting large quantities of tanks ie. a large part of their production was for the foreign market, not for the domestic market. This means that Russia today, during the war in Ukraine, relies more on modernization than on new production.
The source claims that Russia has not upgraded large quantities to the B4 level. According to him, the “prototypes” will be sent to Ukraine to be tested. If the armor upgrade proves effective, Russia is ready to upgrade at least 1,000 T-72 tanks and all their versions.
Russia will hope to succeed with the new upgrade, not only because of the hostilities but also because to continue financing the war. I.e. India and Belarus both have T-72 tanks, which means they may want the same upgrade. Logically, Russia will lose a lot if the new armor fails. I.e. Moscow will lose potential sales as well as the use of at least a thousand T-72B4 tanks. This, in turn, means that UralVagonZavod will have to produce and upgrade more T-90M models.
However, the possible production and modernization of more T-90M is not a guarantee in wartime. I.e. Russia can continue to use and modernize the T-72 by simply reducing the reliance on its new armor. I.e. more updated tanks up to T-72B3 level.
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