WARSAW, (BM) – The Russian army received the first modernized T-72B3M Main Battle Tanks with an additional modification in the form of an automatic target tracking system, commonly known as the autotracker, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
Autotracker is one of the elements of the fire control system that allows you to continuously track a detected target automatically. Its use facilitates the work of the gunner and reduces the time needed to neutralize the target from detection to firing, which significantly increases the effectiveness of a tank equipped with it on the battlefield. As a rule, the use of an autotracker also increases accuracy. So far, the modernized T-72B3 / T-72B3M tanks have not been equipped with this system.
The main contractor for the modernization of the T-72B3M tanks is the Russian company UralWagonZawod [UWZ]. The modernization to the T-72B3M standard is to be, according to the manufacturer’s declaration, more than twice cheaper than the corresponding modernization packages from competitors, with a simultaneous significant increase in combat capabilities and adaptation to the requirements of the modern battlefield. According to the TASS agency, the installation of the autotracker is to be associated with the implementation of the conclusions from the “Tank Biathlon” competition.
The changes introduced to the modernized T-72B3M in relation to the base version of the T-72B include the assembly of: the new 125mm 2A46M-5 cannon, the Sosna-U multi-channel gunner sight [developed by the Belarusian company Peleng], the 1A40-4 fire control system, digital ballistic computer, new VHF R-168-25U-2 Akwieduk radio, armor pack in the front hemisphere of the car, new side skirts, cage armor at the rear of the hull and turret, as well as the new 1130hp W-92S2F engine with a new automatic transmission gears. The modernization is additionally combined with a major overhaul of each tank.
In September this year. the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the latest plan to upgrade all Russian T-72 MBTs to the latest T-72B3M standard. Currently, this process is ongoing, and subsequent batches of the modernized T-72B3M tanks are being delivered to subsequent armored units in all military districts. There is a very high probability that the first modernized T-72B3, which were delivered in a leaner configuration, will be retrofitted with the elements introduced in later modernization versions as part of ongoing repair and service works.
Iran is doing business with Russian T-72 tanks in the Middle East and Africa
Soviet tanks modernized by Iran became popular in the Middle East and African countries. The fact is that Iran does not produce world-class weapons systems, but succeeds in updating old models of equipment from other countries and selling them, writes The National Interest.
The Iranian Type 72Z tank was no exception. This is not a copy of the Soviet T-72 tank, but the modernized Soviet T-54, T-55 and Chinese Type 59 tanks. T-72Z is bought from Iran by its allies from the Middle East and from Africa.
The modernization of the tank was to install on the front of its hull a system of dynamic protection, the so-called “reactive armor”, which disperses the cumulative stream of an enemy shell and does not allow it to harm the tank. The same protection is installed on the tank tower, as well as around the perimeter of the machine.
In addition, the updated tank has a more powerful main gun. The original 100 mm gun was replaced with a 105 mm gun and equipped with an upgraded fire control system. Engine power was increased from 500 to 780 horsepower.
Besides Iran, several tanks have already been spotted near Tikrit in Iraq. Apparently, Iraqi militias used it to fight the militants of the IS terrorist organization banned in Russia. The tanks were identified by their unique camouflage pattern and smoke grenade launch systems installed on the tower. In addition, in the mid-2000s, several modernized Type 72Zs were bought by Sudan. The exact number of tanks is unknown. Sudan previously acquired several Rakhsh armored personnel carriers from Iran.
Czech Republic will repair and modernize its existing T-72 tanks
The Czech Ministry of Defense has signed a contract for the overhaul and modification of the existing T-72M4CZ tanks as we reported on September 19 this year. The contract signed with VOP CZ plants has a value of CZK 1.098 billion, i.e. approximately $50 million. For this amount, the contractor undertook to carry out work on 27 standard T-72M4CZ tanks, three command vehicles and three VT-72M4CZ technical support vehicles.
Their scope, in addition to the improvement of tanks and the possibility of extending their service life at least until 2030, will primarily include the replacement of obsolete elements in the fire control system [most likely, including a thermal imaging camera] and the installation of new communication systems, allowing for voice communication and data transmission. in accordance with the standard to be newly introduced in the Czech 7th Mechanized Brigade.
The Czech CT24 television reports that the modification of the tanks is to enable the Czechs to fulfill their obligations towards NATO. It is also a kind of a bridge solution that allows to carry out works aimed at purchasing a new tank in the second half of the 1920s. Prague considered acquiring a used Leopard 2A4 or M60T Sabra, but apparently these efforts were not realized.
Czech T-72M4CZ tanks have, among others, a new TURMS-T fire control system or reactive armor, as well as a new power-pack with a 1000 HP engine. New anti-tank ammunition was also introduced – sub-caliber with increased penetration.
However, budget cuts meant that only slightly more than 30 tanks were modernized to this standard in the first years of the present century, although previously it was planned to modernize from over 100 to even over 300 vehicles. The older, unmodified T-72M1 also remains in reserve in the Czech Republic.
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