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Closer Look At Russia’s Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

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Closer Look At Russia's Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

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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.

Closer Look At Russia's Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

Click to see full-size image

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.

Closer Look At Russia's Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

Click to see full-size image

“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.

Closer Look At Russia's Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

Click to see full-size image

Closer Look At Russia's Efforts To Upgrade Its T-72 Battle Tanks To Modernized T-72B3

Click to see full-size image

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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  • opet ja

    Serbia got 30 of them. I hope we will upgrade ours M-84 to at least this standard. T-72 B version has “Dolly Parton” turret with increased front armor?

  • Ceasar Polar

    The question, is the upgrade going to resist DU (depleted Uranium) ammunitions? Knowing that the US have destroyed most Iraqis T72’s mostly with these type of ammunitions, i wonder if the upgraded T72B3 would be resistant to D.U ammunitions…

    • Wolfgang Wolf

      not every army is using DU ammo, so its not the main threat. tank to tank fights like in WW2 wont happen in the future, you can argue the same with the Abrams that were blown up by Houthis and Iraqi insurgents… using just russian anti tank missiles

      • Ceasar Polar

        The US army does. The only real threat to Russia in the US army and NATO. Those psychopaths in the Pentagon have no remorse whatsoever in using DU ammo for battle tanks, and worst DU gravity bombs that leave radiation on the blast crater for years. Even the soldiers that manipulate the DU are victims of radiation, Vet’s from the irak conflict can testify. Iraki citizens near blasts can testify as well.

        • Zarathustra

          The real threat to Russia and every other country with the exception of Israel are the jewish supremacists and their Gentile co-conspirators.

        • Joseph Scott

          That’s not really true about DU. The radiation in insignificant. What makes DU hazardous is that it is a heavy metal, and caused heavy metal poisoning when ingested, such as breathing particles knocked loose during the impact of a projectile. However, tungsten has the exact same problem.

          Also, the US does not make DU gravity bombs. It is used purely for kinetic penetration applications. There is no point whatever in combining it with high explosive.

          • Zarathustra

            Russian Military Reveals New Tank Capable of Firing Depleted Uranium Rounds: sputniknews[]com/military/201812201070866357-russian-tank-fire-depleted-uranium/

            Russian T-80BVM tanks able to fire depleted uranium shells (they plan to acquire 620 T-80BVMs and 400 T-90Ms by 2024):

            armyrecognition[]com/december_2018_global_defense_security_army_news_industry/russian_t-80bvm_tanks_able_to_fire_depleted_uranium_shells[]html

            New Study Documents Depleted Uranium Impacts on Children in Iraq:

            ahtribune[]com/us/3500-depleted-uranium-impacts-on-children-in-iraq[]html

          • Ceasar Polar

            Bunker buster bombs GBU-24, GBU-28 have alloys of titanium and DU.
            The US, used DU, in many conflicts, “operation Desert storm”, irak, Afghanistan, Pakistan…
            Besides the DU bombs, the US also used all types of rounds containing DU, 50 cal, howitzer rounds (105/120 mm) with DU, they used them massively because it was so efficient at piercing iraki armor. Even on A-10’s they used DU munitions on its 30 mm shells.

            https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-responsibility-of-the-us-in-contaminating-iraq-with-depleted-uranium/15966

          • Joseph Scott

            You have no idea what you are talking about, and the article you linked does not support your erroneous assertion. Again, DU is used in projectiles which kill through kinetic energy, including APFSDS rounds for 120mm and 105mm guns (neither of which are ‘howitzers’), and the API rounds used by the GAU-8 30mm cannon. They DO NOT use them in GBU-24s or GBU-28s, both which use the force generated by chemical explosive to damage their targets, and whose casings are made of steel, and not any kind of titanium-uranium ally, which would be unsuitable for the purpose.

    • opet ja

      Why is that new ERA on it than to protect it from DU rounds?? Iraqi T-72s were of depleted version and their main problem were lack of night vision equipment and coalition air force with its devastating pre battle hunt.

    • Barba_Papa

      Iraqi T-72’s were equipped with shite armor, as they were dumbed down export models, and sometimes made locally from inferior material. They also were not equipped with ERA. So comparing this upgrade to Iraqi T-72 is like saying does my upgraded race car compare to that cheap 30 year old rusty knock off?

      And that’s excluding the fact that when the US and Russia were to get in a war its going to involve nukes, not tanks. There is no way in hell that a conflict between two nuclear powers will not involve nuclear weapons. Only in techno-thrillers do nuclear powers abstain from using nukes in wars woith each other via act of plot.

      • Gary Sellars

        On the first sign of NATOstani aggression their forward air bases will suddenly vapourise in a blinding flash. Russia isn’t Serbia or Libya…

      • Joseph Scott

        May I point out that Russia and the US have already found a way to fight without resorting to nuclear weapons? The proxy wars fought in Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua, are just such a mechanism.

        • Barba_Papa

          That’s the ONLY way that nuclear powers like the US and Russia can fight one another. So the giant tank fleets are basically work programs and the tank upgrade programs just a means to keep the tank industry in business. Because both countries have so much and practically need so little. If they don’t throw a bone to their respective tank building industries from time to time it die and the Chinese would basically have the monopoly on building commercially available tanks.

    • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

      The majority of Iraqi T-72´s where sad copies and made with very low quality parts and materials.
      The “original” T-72 stood up much better than the Iraqi ones.

      Take a look at these videos
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7NVRTlAkx0

      • Ceasar Polar

        Okay that video explains it well.
        Saddams T72 were cheap copies far from the level of the real T72’s.
        Thanks

        • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

          The Kreml did not trust Saddam, and therefore did not sell topnotch equipment to him.
          I believe that Saddam was in power with the help from the west and Saudi´s, and the west and Saudi´s needed him there so they could poke to him everytime they needed a middle eastern crisis.
          Even when Saddam used chemical weapons, the west ignored it, and the west also ignored that they sold him a nuclear reactor, until the day they used that against him and as a excuse for invading Iraq.
          Saudi also needed a bully between them and Iran, because Saudi´s cant fight.

          The Kreml knew all this from the beginning, therefore they didn sell him topnotch equipment.

          In politics lives is nothing, especially lives that do not vote for you.
          Only votes matters for a politician, votes means obedience, slaves and blind trust.

          I believe it was Stalin who once said:
          “The death of one is a tragedy, the death of a million is just statistics”

          • Tudor Miron

            Brian, Saddam was a friend of US and they supported him in Iraq/Iran war. Saddam asked their permission when he attacked Kuveit – they literally said “do as you please we don’t car”. Saddam is a classic example of being a friend of America.

          • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

            That is the point i was trying to get to in my post.

            I believe that Kuwait was slantdrilling under the border into Iraq, technically stealing Iraqi oil, the west did nothing because they bought the stolen oil at a bargain, but still charging MSRP from the end-user (you and i) = Fat unreported profits.

            With Iraq being low on cash and credit from the Iraq – Iran war, they naturally got pissed and said they would come and get the oil Kuwait stole from them, unless Kuwait paid for it or Iraq could get proportionally credit in the world bank, Iraqs words fell for deaf ears.
            So they went in there to get it themselves.

            This is reported by the MSM as Iraq stole oil from Kuwait, they did not, they just took back what was stolen from them and owed to them.
            That is also one of the reasons that they didn go into Saudi Arabia where much more lucrative and easy oilinfrastructure where.
            Iraq did not want to go to war with Saudi Arabia, that would mean war with the west and Saddam wasn that stupid, he knew that he couldn afford that.

            The west had all of this planned out from the beginning.

          • igybundy

            Iraq attacked Kuwait when they demanded immediate repayment for all the loans they had made to Iraq for the war against Iran. With kuwait openly stealing Iraqi oil as well, this was a setup by the US from the beginning to goad Saddam into doing something that could be used against him and with the Soviet breakup, a perfect opportunity to show the US’s new high tech weapons.

            With all Iraqi capabilities already known and weapons systems pretty much obsolete after the war, the US also knew it would be a cake walk since Iraq could not even advance into Iran and if not for US support with chemical weapons and such, Iran would have over run large parts of Iraq easily.

        • Human kind is doomed

          Don’t forget all of abrams tanks opened in Yemen and elsewhere, also export versions. Rumor was RPG 7 was more than enough to open export abrams (with shot from behind).
          Main problem of Iraqi army wasn’t “export versions” but their poor training.
          Another thing is very important and that is, SANCTIONS. More than 10 years of huge pressure on Iraq…

        • Gary Sellars

          Russians sold export-quality gear so that its clients could mount a adequate defense but lacked confidence to go on the offensive. They also didn’t trust the Arabs to safeguard the military IP and didn’t want the Muricans getting their greasy fingers on their current miltech.

          If the US attacks a ME client state, their having Soviet-issue gear from the end of the CW rather than monkey models won’t make any difference.

    • Gary Sellars

      Iraqi “Lions of Babylon” were junk versions, downgraded export models with cheap plain-steel armour assembled in Iraq from kits. No decent FCS, no ERA, no modern ammo, no IR, and with guns that were worn out and in need of replacing.

      ERA works against long-rod penetrators by shearing their tips off and deflecting their trajectory. They gouge the armour but don’t penetrate. Not a cert, but still good protection, plus they work 100% against HEAT warheads.

  • Toronto Tonto

    Tanks are only needed by countries that invade neighbours , yes like Russia .

    • Human kind is doomed

      Don’t be surprised if one morning you see those tanks thru your window in Kiev or whatever town in Ukraine you live in!
      Russians kick asses to all of scum nazis back in WWII, they will certainly do that again. You know about that saying, history repeats it self.

      • Mike

        He is not Ukrainian or Canadian, this idiot is an Israeli who used to go by an old name solomon kupek. He just has pathetic hatred for Russia because of they saved Syria and ruined Israel’s plans over there.

        • Human kind is doomed

          Thanks for heads up.
          I am not so sure about Israel’s hatred towards Russia, not about situation development in Syria at least.
          Russia is more than “mellow” when it comes to Israel’s aggression on Syria!
          This pathetic troll doesn’t mean a thing!

      • Ceasar Polar

        The nazis have taken over the US (old scientists became powerful in US, operation paper-clip) now they are resentful of Russia’s destruction of the Nazis (the soviets are the ones that destroyed them, contrary to MSM believes). That is why now they are trying to encircle Russia, form NATO with Russia as a threat.
        Nazism never died, it transformed into a torjan horse and infected the West, to slowly nazify the planete covertly.

        • Human kind is doomed

          Great comment.
          I am aware of “who defeated nazis” but wast majority isn’t!
          I like to call USA the 4th reich!

        • Tudor Miron

          German Nazism was nothing other than an instrument of collective west to finally (as they were thinking at that time) conquer Russia. You might like this video that says a lot about how/why Hitler came into power https://youtu.be/ny-21C8xtEU Some guys from UK when I ask them, why after Dunkirk (where UK lost up to 80% of their armor) Hitler didn’t invade England which was officially at war with Germany. They start moaning about wide and scary La Manche and mighty UK air force :)

          • Ceasar Polar

            LOL might UK air force

          • Miguel Redondo

            Tudor Miron : So , american Tycoons where running Auschwitz ? They bothered over the name “Oswiezcim” and changed it to Auschwitz? Someone should remember that this place was part of the Austro-Hungary-Monarchy in the 19th century. The first camp was made in the former barracks of emperor Franz-Josephs army. So the name of Auschwitz is older than american tycoons running business in Germany.

    • Mike

      Better then your shitty Merkva’s that where taken out easily by Hezbollah, there solomon kupek.

      • verner

        just stole a country and is engaged in the continuous ethnical cleansing program of the far between palestinians. and, lo and behold, they operate concentration camp gaza along the lines of hitler, a bit slower since they try not be too obvious about it but still, death rate for the gaza-inmates far higher than anything outside of gaza and a death rate far far higher than what would befell any jew outside of gaza.

        need to something about it – sure terminate the squatters occupation of palestine and reinstate the palestinians as the rightful owners.

      • Ceasar Polar

        1 Merkava IV equal to 2 kornets missiles from Hezbollah, one in the back and one on the side and then boom, no more Merkava IV no more crews, israHellis-diaper-military runs to mommy and daddy (US/Eu-fags)

      • Saso Mange

        Hezbollah fighters have balls while IDF has only equipment and foreign mercenaries.

    • Ceasar Polar
      • BMWA1

        My friend Marina marched there in 2016, but 2019 also pretty.

      • Jaime

        Nice national anthem. The other day, I watched Saudi Arabia’s playing it. I couldn’t help getting a good laugh

    • Nosferatu

      Please provide a photo evidence of a single Russian army tank outside Russian borders nowadays. Tanks can be used in offense as well as in defense. But there is one type of weapons that can be used in offense only. Yes the US navy carrier attack groups

      • Human kind is doomed

        SPOT ON!
        People seem to forget about hysteria about “thousands” of Russian armor in Donbas… Like it is so easy to hide whole armored armies out from satellites, drones, etc…

      • Toronto Tonto

        There is tons of photos of Russian tanks in Ukraine just do a simple search .

        • Nosferatu

          and since there is tons of photos of Russian tanks in Ukraine, it was not a problem for you to upload one here or at least to post a link so we know you are not making it up, right?

        • Human kind is doomed

          Ukrainian armor is made of Russian tanks, you silly!
          Huge number of tanks in Donbas army are spoils of war, incompetent Ukrainian army left dozens and dozens of tanks, IFVs, APCs in battlefield, so yes, thare are huge number of Russian tanks in Ukraine but not of Russian armed forces.

    • chris chuba

      NATO has lots of tanks and on Russia’s border.

  • Miguel Redondo

    If you like the topic I recommend this series:
    “Tanks: Born in Russia” there are 6 Episodes if I remember well.
    It is embedded into the private life of two young workers at Uralvagonzavod. So you have not only Tanks but also a softy soap opera.
    First episode :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2yy-yRVuSU

  • RichardD

    A great article for a great piece of equipment. It’s a testament to the quality of the original design and manufacture that it has stood the test of time.