Iraq received Bulgarian T-72 tanks with 125mm cannon and BMP-1 IFVs

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BAGHDAD, ($1=1,458.67 Iraqi Dinars) — Iraq has announced the receipt of a batch of T-72 tanks and BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles from Bulgaria. The news was officially announced by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and several Arab media in the Middle East, as well as by the Ukrainian mil.in.ua.

Photo credit: MoD Iraq

A cargo ship arrived in the port of Um Qasr on the shores of the Persian Gulf and delivered military equipment to the Iraqi army. According to the Ministry of Defense of this country, it is about T-72 and BMP-1 from Bulgaria. Information about the amount of equipment is not disclosed. About ten infantry fighting vehicles and one main battle tank were captured by the camera.

The Bulgarian armored vehicles were ordered under a $245 million contract with the Bulgarian company Apollo Engineering in June 2021. The Iraqi army will be equipped with combat vehicles to increase its counter-terrorism capabilities. The Iraqi army is believed to have at least 137 T-72 tanks.

As for the BMP-1, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Iraqi army has received redundant armored vehicles from several sources, including the Czech Republic, Greece, and Ukraine.

Photo credit: MoD Iraq

T-72 and BMP-1

The T-72 is a major battle tank designed during the Cold War era by the Soviet Union. It went into series production in 1968 and is still in production today, undergoing constant updates and improvements.

Bulgaria also produces a tank [T-72M2] of this series based on the Russian model T-72M1. The Bulgarian T-72s with new night vision and thermal devices, improved armor [up to 650 mm] and anti-radiation cladding, rubber side skirts, C4I, and IR suppression coating.

The main gun is a 125 mm / L48 smoothbore cannon of Soviet origin. It is additionally armed with a 12.7 mm NSVT or DShK anti-aircraft machine gun. T-72M1 is an export version of the Russian manufacturer and additionally has 7 + 5 smoke grenade dischargers on the turret front. The tank is powered by a B-shaped 12-cylinder diesel engine and has 780 horsepower or 1,130 horsepower, depending on the engine.

BMP-1 is a Soviet amphibious tracked infantry fighting vehicle. It has been in production from 1966 until today, and there are also different versions based on updates. It weighs approximately 13 tons and has so far produced over 20,000 units of this armored vehicle.

Photo credit: MoD Iraq

The BMP-1 can carry up to eight soldiers. The crew consists of three soldiers. The armored vehicle is armed with a 73 mm 2A28 Grom low-pressure smoothbore short-recoil semi-automatic gun [40 rounds] with an ATGM launcher for 9M14 Malyutka and 7.62 mm PKT coaxial machinegun.

BMP-1 is powered by UTD-20, 6-cylinder 4-stroke V-shaped airless-injection water-cooled multifuel 15.8-liter diesel engine with 300 hp [224 kW] at 2,600 rpm.

Apollo Engineering

Apollo Engineering is based in Sofia and is a manufacturer of various ammunition and weapons, the company has a full license for international trade in weapons and dual-use items.

The organization’s website has information that it is involved in the modernization of armored vehicles, artillery, such as howitzers, aircraft, and helicopters. Its specialists also perform maintenance and repair of equipment.

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