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T-72 Medium Tank - Variants

  • T-72 (1973): Original Russian tank from which T-72 variants were derived.
  • T-72K (1973) - command tank;
  • T-72 (1975) - export version, different design of the frontal armor protection of the tower, ESD system and a complete set of ammunition;
  • T-72A (1979): The Russian variant differs from T-72 with laser rangefinder sight TPDK-1, gunner night sight TPN-3-49, with a lighting L-4, solid board Spaced armor, gun 2A46 (instead of guns 2A26M2) system 902B launch smoke grenades, napalm protection system, the system of road signaling night TVNE-4B device driver, increasing the dynamic course of rollers, engine B-46-6.
  • T-72B (1985): a modernized version of the T-72A with guided weapons , has the thickened frontal turret armor and is commonly known in the United States as the Dolly Parton.
  • T-72B1 (1985): a much improved version of the T-72 main battle tank, featuring a new engine and main gun, additional armor protection and advanced fire control system among other improvements, which makes its characteristics comparable to those of a more modern T-90 tank. The main gun, an upgraded 125-mm smoothbore 2A46M, has improved performance characteristics and uses ammunition with increased armor-penetrating capability. More than 50 of these modernized T-72 main battle tanks will be put in service with mechanized infantry brigades of the 35th Army, deployed in Russias Far East, by the end of 2013, a spokesman for the Eastern Military District said 06 November 2013. The army will receive over 50 new T-72B1 tanks by the end of the year, Lt. Col. Alexander Gordeyev said. He said the first shipment of new tanks will be delivered directly from tank-manufacturing plants in November.
  • T-72AK (1979) - command tank;
  • T-72BK: Commander's variant with additional radios
  • T-72BM: Version with 2nd Generation Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor similar to that on the T-90. This system is being fielded and is available for export.
  • T-72BV: It is reported that T-72BV was created in the late 1980s as an upgrade package series tanks T-72, the armament of foreign armies. It is noted that the basic T-72 equipped with a V-46 engine power of 780 hp
  • T-72M (1980): Original Polish and former-Czechoslovakian T-72-series export version of the T-72A from which Polish/Czechoslovakian T-72M1 was derived. T-72M differs from T-72 in replacing the right-side coincident rangefinder with a centerline-mounted TPDK-1 LRF. It differed armor design of the turret, a complete set of ammunition and a system of collective protection
  • T-72M1 (1982): Russian export version and Polish/Czechoslovakian counterparts. Modernization of the T-72M distinguished by an additional 16 mm armor plate on the upper front body parts and armor combined tower with sand as a filler rods Versions with Kontact ERA are known as T-72AV /T-72 M1V. Some countries have inventories of T-72, T-72M and T-72M1, with different versions of each variant. Also, many variants were upgraded or modified. Some T-72M1s do not have smoke grenade launchers or track skirts. Some T-72s/T-72Ms have smoke grenade launchers. More reliable discriminators are armor and rangefinder/FCS.
  • T-72AV (1985) - a variant of the T-72A with a hinged ERA .
  • T-72S/Shilden (1987) : export version of the T-72B. The original name of T-72M1M. The main differences: 155 containers hinged armor (instead of 227), booking hull and turret remained at the level of the T-72M1, the other grade ammunition for the gun. Russian export T-72A upgraded to be comparable to the T-72BM standard. Although similar to the T-72BM, it may have less turret front protection. The early T-72S tank has Kontakt ERA.
  • T-72BV: with explosive reaction armor packages fitted to the hull and turret. The glacis plate is covered with a layer of single ERA blocks while the turret is covered by one, two or three layers with one being the more usual.
  • T-72SUO: Ukrainian modernization aimed at updating combat ant technical features early produces T-72s by mounting sophisticated fire control system, dynamic protection, power unit with significantly enhanced engine. It enables to level the tanks features with those of sophisticated examples, while the cost will be radically diminished.
  • T-72B3 : The T-72B3 is actually a compromise between price and capabilities, adjusted for state armored forces and future emergence of a new technology. A major overhaul with the budget modernization of previously produced vehicles. Components determined the Defense Ministry (decision taken Vladimir Popovkin, when he was head of the weapons, and Nikolai Makarov, a former chief of staff). The cost of the modernization of the T-72B3 is 52 mln. Rubles each. Of these, about 30 mln. Rubles. goes for the overhaul of the tank - the machine is completely dismantled, examined all the details and change outdated to new; rest of the money spent on modernization - purchase and installation of new equipment and other facilities that the customer has chosen. .
  • T-72B3M: With the T-72B3M (also referred to as T-72B4) the main difference is the engine B-93 power 1130 hp. .

T-72 Model 1975

One of the secondary objectives of the T-72 program was to provide a tank that could be exported to prime clients in the Mideast. In 1975, a special export model was developed that had a revised turret frontal armor (probably homogenous steel), a downgraded PAZ (antiradiation filter), and a different ammunition configuration. This may also have been the type intially provided to the Warsaw Pact countries.

T-72S Shilden Export Tank

An export version was offered in 1987 to several countries, including the Warsaw Pact countries, as the T-72S Shilden (shield). Originally called T-72M1M (Obiekt 184), this is an export derivative of the T-72B. In the T-72S version, the tank is fitted with the 9K120 Svir missile system. There is also a T-72S1, which is probably without the Svir system. The T-72S has a different reactive armor package than the Soviet types with only 155 Kontakt ERA blocks instead of the usual 227. Some T-72S tanks have been fitted with a more advanced fire control system that includes a new wind sensor mounted on the rear roof of the tank.

T-72K Command Tanks

During the production of the T-72, command tank variants of most of these models were manufactured in parallel to the normal versions. The battalion and regimental command tanks are identified by the suffix "K" after their designation, such as T-72K, T-72AK and T-72B1K, the "K" stands for Kommandniy. Regimental and battalion command tanks carry a 10-meter telescopic radio aerial in a small tube under the rear turret stowage bin. This mast antenna can be mounted only when the tank is stationary.

The -K series of regimental and battalion command tanks are fitted with the R-130M radio system. The additional radio equipment as well as navigation equipment and an AB-l-P auxiliary electrical generator requires the deletion of six rounds of 125mm ammunition and 500 fewer rounds of 7.62mm machine gun ammunition.

A second family of command tanks also exists for company commanders, using the -Kl suffix such as T-72AK1. These tanks carry two R- 123M or R-173 radios as well as TNA-3 and GPK-59 navigation equipment. They do not carry the 10-meter command antenna and are externally similar to normal versions of the tank.

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