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Russia Develops New Assault Tank on Basis of T-72

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An assault tank, based on the T-72, has been developed by Russia’s JSC RPC Uralvagonzavod.

Russia Develops New Assault Tank on Basis of T-72

The upgraded T-72 for fighting in urban areas (Photo: defence.ru)

Russia’s JSC RPC Uralvagonzavod has developed an assault tank, based on the T-72, which is expected to be more effective in the fighting in urban areas than other models, the Defence information portal reported on Thursday. According to the article, developers have focused on improving of the endurance of the tank.

The idea of developing an assault tank is not new, but it has once again become topical after learning of the experience of street fighting in Syria.

“If we carefully analyze the recent armed conflicts in the world, it will turn out that armed hostilities are conducted mainly in cities, in our days, no one fights in open terrain because, in fact, it is instantaneous destruction,” deputy director for special equipment of Uralvagonzavod, Vyacheslav Halitov, noted.

The first thing that catches the eye at the sight of the upgraded T-72 is a front-mounted dipper, designed to help to wade through logjams and barricades on streets. At the same time, it is another layer of protection of the tank against frontal attacks. The endurance of the tank was also improved by side screens with active armor, additional armor plating and shaped-charge threats protection armor. The ring mount of the anti-aircraft gun was hidden with side screens, equipped with armored glass, in order to reduce risks for the tank’s commander.

At the same time, the fire power of the tank was increased. The upgraded 2A46M 125-mm cannon was modified to fire missiles, as well as an autoloader and more effective fire control system with the Sosna multichannel aiming sight of a gun-layer were mounted.

Though, now Uralvagonzavod, as well as the Russian Defense Ministry are focused on the ultramodern Armata tank, the corporation believes that much simpler and relatively cheap combat vehicle for fighting in the city should be an important addition to the long-awaited T-14.

Russia Develops New Assault Tank on Basis of T-72

The upgraded T-72 for fighting in urban areas (Photo: defence.ru)

Russia Develops New Assault Tank on Basis of T-72

The upgraded T-72 tank on the ADEX-2016 defense industry exhibition (Photo: TASS / Marina Lystseva)

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Jens Holm

Assault tanks shouldnt be in urban areas at all.


I am sure that this proto will not see production. The crewman exposed around tall buildings is a terrible idea. But the front blade and reactive armor are a plus. The assault tanks where meant to take on fortified areas.


Yes I think so too – the long barrel puts great stress on the gun balancing and recuperator – for infantry support and urban assault better have shorter barrel larger caliber – earlier PzIV Ausf F1 or Sturmgeschutz III G for example comparison.

Joseph Scott

No, that is a myth propagated by US think tanks. Tanks and other AFVs are extremely useful in urban combat, providing immediate line-of-sight fire support and something proof against small arms which infantry can advance behind. Yes, AFVs are more vulnerable to ambush in an urban setting…but so are infantry! This myth that tanks shouldn’t be used in urban combat originated with a badly flawed US think tank study which drew unwarranted conclusions from an analysis of German tank deployment on the Eastern front at the time of the Stalingrad campaign.

Analysing the battle of Stalingrad, the think-tank noted two things: 1.) that the German AFV loss rate was higher for the mechanised forces fighting in Stalingrad than they were for other Armeegruppe Sued units fighting in the countryside, and that 2.) the Germans soon withdrew all Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions from Stalingrad, and redistributed them elsewhere, replacing them with infantry divisions. The think-tank, every ready to jump to hasty conclusions, especially when they were novel and controversial, and thus made the institute seem ‘avant-garde,’ decided that this meant the German high command had found AFVs unsuitable for urban combat. Naturally, they failed to actually read what German officers wrote about the battle or their operational decisions, or even look at the rest of the data for the battle, or later German mechanised operations.

In fact, the Germans had concluded nothing like what the think-tank claimed. On the contrary, reports indicated how extremely useful tanks, assault guns and halftracks were in such situations, where the infantry would find themselves suddenly under fire from multiple directions and levels by opponents in hard cover. The AFVs, even the mostly open-topped halftracks, could move through the city much more quickly and in greater safety than infantry on foot, the tracked vehicles could surmount and degrade or destroy barricades thrown across streets, and the large guns could quickly destroy Soviet strongpoints that unsupported infantry could overcome only at the cost of much greater time and higher losses. In fact, German infantry losses were much greater in Srtalingrad than the surrounded countryside. The greatest German advantage, their ability to outmanoeuvre opponents through their much faster decision cycle, was degraded by the congested nature of an urban environment, where every building could be turned into a fortress that was difficult or impossible to flank, and took time and effort to reduce. Consequently, their loss rate was increased in comparison to the open country, where they could quickly get around and behind the cumbersome, badly led Soviet forces.

However, Germany had a very limited amount of AFVs, both because of limited production, and because of limited fuel supplies. The majority of the army was foot-mobile infantry. Thanks to Hitler’s flawed strategy, and their miscalculation of Soviet mobilisation capability, they also had a vastly over-booked operational schedule. The mechanised troops were needed everywhere at once. Seeing that Stalingrad was turning into a long0-term grinding match, Armeegruppe Sued felt their precious mechanised forces were best redeployed to places they could quickly achieve decisive breakthroughs and rapid victories. The troops fighting in Stalingrad, however, were by no means pleased to lose their armour. On the contrary, the personnel loss rate surged far higher with the redeployment of mechanised forces.

The think-tank’s ill-conceived conclusion was warmly received by US defence officials, however. Mechanised forces were expensive and time consuming to deploy, and required long-term planning to use in worldwide operations. This new study was seized upon as justification to risk US troops lives and save money by sending unsuitably light forces into environments they couldn’t really operate in, as was shown during Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993, when the 10th Mountain Division had to borrow Malaysian APCs and get the support of Pakistani tanks to mount a rescue operation to retrieve Task Force Ranger from the city centre. The US defence establishment has continued to propagate this myth ever since, for the same reasons. Even a few unscrupulous or deluded military officers have jumped onboard, to secure more funding for their pet projects or arms of service, amidst the great inter-arm budget rivalry that plagues the US Army.

Nonetheless, it remains a myth. Tanks are extremely useful in an urban setting, and save the lives of the infantry they fight beside.

Jens Holm

Thanks for You PHD. I will have it in my mind.

My critics are are mainly about bomabardsments, and what they hit for and against attackers and defenders.

Its also very much about the quality of the armies, meaning that if the infantery cant defend their support. it would be much better having more firepower by cheeper solutions.

The german infantery started with they had their own small canons, but there were killed to many soldiers by that. Thats why they with succes made Sturmcanone and others for frontline support in the frontline.

So my crirtics are mainly what SAA, Turks and others actually are able to, and not was more clever ones can.

Again: Thank You. I`ll read more about it soon. Parts of war are my hobby.

You are a general or what ? Im just a lowlife.

Joseph Scott

:) I suppose you could assign me to a comparable category as yourself. I spent a very short time in the US Marines, which gave me some additional insight into how militaries operate on the inside, but most of what I learned of war came from studying obsessively since I was a small child. I do operational analysis and game modelling for fun, and I used to hang about The Dupuy Institute’s forum and chat about such topics with the analysts there. Incidentally, they make a lot of their studies available to the public for free, and while much more limited in number and scope, they are far, far better researched and written than what places like RAND produce. I recommend downloading them and reading through them. Unlike RAND, they try to be objective and honest, rather than fashionable and ‘modern,’ and insist on carefully validating all of their conclusions.

Jens Holm

Well, until I retired I was a leder of a childcarecenter, but I follow wars and like to have it as a hobby.

I had small toy soldiers as You as very little with tanks and even doubled them with mirrors and building models like with toy trains.

Im a lot more like “The whole picture” then specialized in warfare as military units. Important things are, what we see at wars over there. They stop too often, because the supply lines are long and not well prepared.

Then there is the moneypart. Can Russia or we effort to pay for it.

Do we get a yes or what by the parlament for what.

One of my friends were married to a polish girls and we talked a lot about her homeland. She couldnt understand why I know so much about polish terrains as well as about many towns – But that was because I have been reading a lot about WW1 & 2.

Nice to meet you. I wont forget the institute and are from Denmark.


No gunshield for Commander – I know its supposed to be an AA gun but realistically 99% of the time its going to be firing at someone on the ground most liikely firing back, and when firing under armour isnt optimal for whatever reason the Commander is vulnerable from the front – I find it curious that Russian tanks dont seem to ever have gunshields at the front wheres most other nations involved in real conflicts do, just wondering what the reasoning for this is?


Probably modular addon, like side and rear shield. 1. Photo has side and rear, second has none. But wait and see, i thing this is export t72 upgrade offer, dont belive russian army will order this upgrade.


One flaw in this version of tank is the long barrel. Long barrels limit the traverse of the gun in cramped areas.


Time for bullpup tanks with engine in the front and autoloader in the back.


The longer the gun barrel the greater the range , muzzle velocity and accuracy. However given that 90% or more of tank cannon use in Syria has been at 1 000 m or less and against fortified static positions or a variety of heavy weapons vehicles I believe the days of ” pure ” tank v tank engagements at maximum range across open countryside (Golan 1973) are limited to online video games. As MMM says this long barrel really does restrict traverse and movement in urban combat, and with the thru barrel ATGM plus enhanced sighting/target aquisition etc a long barrel is just not needed especially in an infantry support tank. If you want increased range etc use any armored SPG such as the excellent 155 mm Italian Palmeria.


Remember that Russia and a lot of other countries around the world have 1000’s of old T-72’s ready for scrap or a serious upgrade to have any chance on modern battlefield. UVZ is marketing affordable upgrades based on the experience of Chechenia, Iraq and Syria. There upgrade kits and addon’s are extremely cheap compared to the price of next gen. MBT, so we may actually see these beasts in some form of serial production.

Marek Pejović

Send it to Syria for a round of testing!


Nice in most regards, but I would want an option to remotely control the aa gun from inside the armor, similar to the t90ms, if I were a potential buyer. Also, having the option of a mounted automatic grenade launcher instead of machine gun would be good for some buyers.

Paulo Romero

The only issue I have with this vehicle is the ammunition stowage. It is a design flaw from the original T72 Ural or T72A. A lucky shot in the right part of the hull , ignites all the propellant and blasts the well armoured turret clean off. There are many photos from many conflicts of knocked out T72’s with their turrets blown off. Hopefully that area in the hull has improved armour in this model. Either than that the T72 is an excellent vehicle albeit small and a bit cramped. It is mechanically reliable , easy to operate and maintain and has great cross country mobility.

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