Originally appeared at TASS; Translated exclusively for SouthFront
The Russian NPK Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil (Sverdlovsk Region) upgraded a batch of T-72B battle tanks to T-72B3 battle tanks that are to be commissioned in the Russian Armed Forces.
T-72 – the most commonly used 2nd generation battle tank. Since it began production of the T-72 battle tank in 1973, Uralvagonzavod has produced approximately 30,000 such combat vehicles.
Updating the T-72 continues even today – the battle tanks receive new weapons, modern protection, aim and control system. In 2019, Uralvagonzavod started producing the T-72B3 type – the most modern version of the battle tank at the current moment.
“The main difference between these battle tanks is that in 2019 they began to be equipped with a domestic thermal imaging channel instead of the French one, the equipment is in no way inferior to its foreign counterparts. Each product was also equipped with additional protection in the so-called soft case. Special modules are inserted into it, the armor resistance is improved, while there is practically no increase in mass,” said the acting head of the 47th military mission Dmitry Repin.
The deep modernization of the battle tank provides for the complete disassembly into constituent parts and improvement of all combat vehicle systems. About 400 plant employees — engineers, technologists and workers — took part in the work on the T-72B3 each shift.
“The modernization process is complex. A very long cycle, it takes about nine months – the purchase of products, sorting all the components in the enterprise itself. The battle tank is completely disassembled, to zero, to the last screw, to the last nut, all weapons systems undergo a thorough modernization, the transmission was completely moved, the turret, the fire control system, the guns and all the systems are being improved. As a result, we get a completely new tank,” said Sergey Albrecht, head of the Uralvagonzavod mechanical assembly plant.
The T-72B3 is equipped with a four-stroke V-shaped 12-cylinder multi-fuel liquid-cooled diesel engine with a capacity of up to 1000 horsepower (736 kW). The machine is equipped with an automatic transmission, which, if necessary, can work in manual mode.
The main weapon of the battle tank is a smooth-bore 125 mm 2A46M, or 2A46M-5 cannon, with improved ballistics and resources. It allows for the firing of armor-piercing shells “Svinec 1/2”. High accuracy of fire is provided by a state-of-the-art ballistic computer and weapon stabilizer.
The main sight of the battle tank, the Sosna-U is multi-channel, it includes optical and thermal imaging channels, a laser range finder and a laser missile control channel. The thermal imaging channel of the main sight allows for the identification of targets in the dark at a distance of 3.5 km. The guided weapon system of the tank allows rocket fire at a range of up to 5 km.
Increased survivability of the tank is provided by a trellised protection screen, useful against cumulative ammunition and the “Relikt” dynamic protection. The combat vehicle is equipped with satellite navigation equipment and modern radio stations.
T-72B3 has been in service with the Russian army since 2012. The combination of reliable protection, a modern fire control system, a powerful weapon system, modern communications, an automatic transmission, mobility and a large power reserve allowed it to become the main tank of the Russian Ground Forces. And thanks to the annual successes at the Tank Biathlon, it earned the honorary title of the main sports combat battle tank of the Russian army.
The battle tank is constantly being improved, the potential roadmap for modernization of the combat vehicle in terms of the engine, fire control systems, aiming and protection was laid down until 2025, this period can further be increased. The machine is actively supplied to foreign partners.
T-72B3 can compete on equal terms with the best battle tanks around the globe, and surpasses them in a number of indicators.
Acceptance of updated vehicles included testing of systems at Uralvagonzavod workshops and practical tests with firing at a firing range.
“The technical acceptance of T-72 upgraded to the T-72B3 type began with the acceptance of the repair fund and covered all stages of production, including the production control of finishing products and acceptance tests. During the acceptance tests, military mission officers checked the work of all systems, both from the position of the gunner-operator and from the places of the tank commander and driver,” Dmitry Repin specified.
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