Despite suffering huge casualties in the latest war, the T-72 tanks have been upgraded and are ready to dominate again, just like the unstoppable androids in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator movie.
After analysing how tanks were utilised in the Ukraine conflict, Russia has unveiled a new, improved version of the T-72B tank. An image of the revised version was posted on many Russian social media platforms.
The T-72B tank, also known as the “model of 2023” in Russian media, was unveiled at the dress rehearsal for the military parade in Yekaterinburg.
The current iteration of the Russian tank is quite distinct from its predecessor in several important respects.
Photos that have been made public of the Russian T-72B tank demonstrate that the Russians decided to improve the level of protection afforded by the vehicle by installing more dynamic protection. They hope these precautions will increase the combat vehicle’s capacity to survive in hostile environments.
To accomplish this, they use the built-in protection known as “Kontakt-5”, located on the top front section of the tank body and the front part of the turret, but also the hinged containers of dynamic protection known as “Kontakt-1.” Containers are mounted on the front and lower parts of the hull and the uppermost portion of the tower. The “Kontakt-1” armour is applied to the tank gun’s muzzle cover.
A net is put beneath the dynamic protection blocks in the front portion of the tower to shield the tower epaulette from the projectiles fired by hand-held anti-tank weapons. A comparable defensive net can be seen on Russia’s most up-to-date serial tank, the T-90M “Proryv.”
The tank’s sights have additional protection in armour flaps, which should prevent projectiles such as bullets and shrapnel from entering the sights.
The Russians also added protection to the tower’s rear, consisting of dynamic protection blocks with 4C24 Explosive Reactor Armour elements.
In addition, the sides of the tank and the aft portion of the hull, where the engine and transmission compartment is found, were fitted with screens specifically designed to protect the tank from the cumulative effects of ammunition.
A protective covering was also placed over the front of the tracks front protection, as well as the smoke mortars of the “Tucha” system located on the tower’s flanks.
T-72B3M deep modernisation
Additionally, the Russians began modernising the main combat tanks of the T-72B3 modification in 2022. The most significant improvements to the tank are its fortification and adding extra armour.
This month, the Uralvagonzavod plant demonstrated the procedure for bringing a T-72B tank up to the most recent and technologically advanced level available, the T-72B3M. The entire process and the tests of the modernised equipment could be presented in a video that is only one minute long.
The tank delivered for modernisation is entirely disassembled, the inside of the armoured hull is washed and painted, and a V-92S2F multi-fuel engine with 1130 horsepower is put in the tank. The turret has a new cannon, the 2A46M-5-01, with an upgraded stabilisation system. It also has Relikt modular dynamic protection and modern sights for the commander and gunner.
The caterpillars have been upgraded to new models that use a parallel hinge with superior qualities and a more extensive resource. The automatic transmission makes the driver’s job easier and considerably increases the time the vehicle can travel in reverse, a crucial metric for armoured vehicles. The testing concludes that the tank’s upgrade was successful.
In addition to the procedures demonstrated in the movie, an anti-cumulative grille is fitted on the back of the tank. This grille can change the trajectory of the ammunition launched on the tank. Consequently, the chances of the T-72’s engine compartment being holed by an enemy projectile have been drastically reduced.
The specialists improved the security of the tank turret, which had been susceptible to attacks from rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs) in the past. The cheeks of the upgraded version were made to be thicker, larger protective screens with S-20 dynamic protection fitment were installed, and an anti-cumulative steel net was added to cover the lower portion of the tower.
The 120-millimetre cannon has been updated to fire longer kinetic ammunition capable of penetrating armour up to 600 centimetres thick.
Ukranian T-72 upgrades
In January, Czech media websites reported that upgraded Soviet T-72 tanks would be shipped to Ukraine. In Šternberk, the Czech weapons manufacturer Excalibur Army will enhance its capacity to modernise military equipment. It is noted that the Šternberk division of the Czechoslovak Group (CSG) recently obtained a contract to modernise nearly a hundred T-72 tanks that the United States and the Netherlands fund as part of their military assistance to Ukraine. The company already upgraded older T-72 tanks for the Ukrainian army last year.
The T72 tank, named Tomáš after the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, incorporates several significant modernisation elements. It has a more powerful engine, new communication systems, digital diagnostics, improved targeting systems, and enhanced dynamic armour. The nature of upgrades is currently classified. The company will be able to upgrade about five tanks in a month.