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T-72 AG

For existing T-72 MBT users the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau is offering an upgrade package under the designation T-72AG which includes many of the key components of the T-84/T-80UD. The package is intended to address the fightability, firepower, and survivability deficiencies identified in the T-72 tanks in comparison with the current generation of battle tanks.

The conduction of the proposed modernisation at local facilities in the customer's country is technically feasible and even advisable in order to reduce the cost, as the modernisation package has been developed with simplicity of installation and minimum cost being considered as most important factors. In an attempt to keep costs to a minimum due primarily to the involvement of local production facilities, the upgrade programme envisages collaboration at the systems level between the Ukrainian and local production facilities. In so doing, as many as possible locally produced components and sub-systems are to be used, most of the work is supposed to be done in the customer's country, and only the most sophisticated equipment will be purchased, with final assembly taking place at local facilities. A further reduction in the overall cost of the project can be achieve provided that many of available T-72s are involved, as, inevitably, with increased scope will come a reduction in price of one upgraded tank. So, the project can be carried out in an efficient and cost effective manner supposing a local company is found with minimum requirement to divert its production facilities to ensure their capability of dealing with T-72 MBT upgrade business.

The T-72AG is a design which provides the optimum balance between firepower, mobility and protection. The T-72AG characteristics are similar to those of up-to-date tanks while the upgrade cost is considerably less than the costs of the modern tanks - a factor important enough to warrant consideration. So, it may turn out that, supposing the T-72AG upgrade program is adopted, this will help the local military to bring their T-72 tank fleet up to the highest standard they can afford and to extend the life of the current generation of T-72 MBTs by 15-20 years - and all at an economical cost.

It is possible that the T-72AG retains the original 125mm 2A46 smoothbore gun when being upgraded. However, as the original weapon system errors are considerable when the gun is fired, this leading to a lower tank gun accuracy and to degradation of the performance of the whole weapon system, it would be expedient to replace the current gun with a Ukrainian-made updated 125mm gun designated KBM1in order to achieve the highest hit probability from the tank weapon system not only in static engagements, but also in moving target or moving-own-vehicle engagements. The KBA1 gun has two recoil brakes rather than one available in the original main gun of the T-72. The KBA1 gun has enhanced characteristics and can be easily installed instead of the original gun without any major changes to the tank design. The gun has a quick-replacement barrel, which can be changed under field conditions without the need to remove the gun from the tank.

The T-72AG features a 12.7 mm remote-controlled anti-aircraft machine gun which is installed on the commander's cupola and can be laid and fired from within the safety of the turret. The machine gun is remotely controlled and intended to engage both air and ground targets from the commander's station under full armour protection. The aiming angle in elevation is -5 to +70, in azimuth - in the range of +/- 75 to the right and left of the vehicle longitudinal axis or 360 together with the tank turret. In the vertical plane, the machine gun is stabilised within the angle range of -3 to +20.

The allowance of ammunition is placed in 3 magazines (each containing 150 rounds) and includes armour-piercing/incendiary and armour-piercing/incendiary/tracer cartridges.

The armament and the fire control system of the original T-72 can only make it possible to efficiently engage targets when firing static versus static engagements. The fire efficiency decreases dramatically in case of firing from a stationary position at a moving target or firing on the move at static and moving targets. To overcome this drawback, the upgraded T-72AG tank is fitted with an up-to-date fire control system which allows stationary and moving targets to be efficiently engaged while the vehicle is stationary or moving. The original vertically stabilised TPD-K1 sight is replaced with a 1G46 sight with a line of sight which is stabilised in both the elevation and traverse axes. The sight incorporates a laser range-finder and a missile guidance capability. The fire control system also includes a tank ballistic computer and input information sensors.

The tank ballistic computer calculates ballistic corrections for various types of ammunition. In order to calculate ballistic corrections, the computer automatically takes into account all the inputs from the sensors including tank speed, angular target speed, gun trunnion axis cant, crosswind speed, target range, and course angle. Additionally, the following parameters are manually input: ambient air temperature, charge temperature, barrel wear ambient air pressure and so on. The computer also computes the time when the high-explosive fragmentation projectile with controlled detonation should be detonated over the target. This computer also ensures possibility of quick introduction of the ballistic characteristics of newly-developed ammunition.

The original TPN-1 (TPN-3) night sight with dependant line of sight and nigh visibility range in the active mode of 300-600 m is replaced with a gunner's TO1-KO1E night sighting system which includes a TPN-4E night sight. This sight has a night visibility range of 1,200 m in the passive mode of operation. The line of sight is stabilised in the vertical plane and has an electric connection to the main gun. When firing at night by using the TPN-4E sight, the target range is measured with the help of the laser range-finder of the 1G46 sight. In so doing, the tank ballistic computer calculates and introduces angles of sight and lead angles.

Although the image intensification night viewing equipment offers a relatively simple and effective night vision capability at a reasonable cost, in order to achieve the same level of night vision capability as that of up-to-date tanks, the gunner's station can be fitted with a thermal imaging sight instead of TPN-4E image intensification sight. Unlike the image intensifier, which requires some ambient visible radiation - however faint - and is of limited value in smoke and mist, the thermal imager will function in complete darkness, in smoke and mist, and the tank will be able to fight equally effectively by day and night and in all weathers. The thermal image and operation information are also displayed on the commander's monitor.

The original commander's TKN-3 vision device (with the night visibility range of 300-400 m in the active mode of operation) is replaced with a PNK-4S observation and sighting system which includes a TKN-4S combined day/night sight. The TKN-4S sight has a vertically-stabilised line of sight and three channels: a day unity vision channel, a day channel with magnification of x8 and a night channel with magnification of x5.4. A simple switch enables the commander to change from the daylight channel to the night (image intensification) channel and back again. This commander's sight ensures a night visibility range of up to 700 m in the passive mode of operation and enables the commander to fire the main gun and the coaxial machine gun as well as anti-aircraft machine gun at angles of sight of up to +20 from within the safety of the turret. To fire the anti-aircraft machine gun at elevation of up to +70, the PZU-7 anti-aircraft sight is installed. The PZU-7 sight enables the commander to engage air targets moving at a speed of 100 to 300 m/s, as well as ground targets at distances of up to 1,600 m.

At customers' request, the T-72 tank being upgraded can be fitted with a commander's PNK-5 observation and sighting system which includes a TKN-5 sight. The TKN-5 sight incorporates a laser range-finder and a lateral lead angle input device.

In the original T-72 tank, the main armament cannot be operated by the commander. In the T-72AG however, override facilities for the commander are provided and, if required, the tank commander can take over the fire control system and lay and fire the main armament as well as the coaxial machine gun. The crew can also carry out hunter/killer target engagements. Provided that the TKN-5 sight is installed, the commander can override the gunner and engage stationary and moving targets from the stationary or moving tank almost as efficiently as the gunner.

The new tank fire-control system can include a missile guidance system, with the 125mm guided missile being able to achieve effective penetration of the armour of all in-service tanks at all reasonable battle ranges. The guided missile equipment is similar to that installed in the T-84 MBT and enables the T-72AG to fire a laser beam-riding missile out to a maximum range of 5,000 m.

In order to increase the protection level, the T-72AG is fitted with additional armour modules for the front hull and turret, explosive reactive armour for the hull and turret, and protective side skirts fitted with explosive reactive armour in the forward part of the hull. The design and function of the ERA is identical to that installed on the T-84 MBT. Add-on armour is installed on the front and side parts of the turret. Explosive reactive armour is installed on the front and side parts of the turret as well as on the turret roof.

Installation of armour modules and explosive reactive armour results in the following increase of the T-72 tank protection level: against chemical energy attack (high-explosive anti-tank projectiles) - by twice; against kinetic energy attack (armour-piercing projectiles) - by 1.6 times. The explosive reactive armour ensures the tank protection against the following weapons over the frontal arc: anti-tank hand grenades, manual and stationary grenade launcher rounds and no-recoil gun rounds; anti-tank guided missiles of the Shturm-S, TOW-2 and Milan type; high-explosive anti-tank rounds fired from 125mm guns; armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot projectiles fired from 125mm guns or 120mm guns from a distance of 100 m. The placing of the explosive reactive armour elements inside armour containers makes them impregnable to damage from 7.62mm small arms, 12.7mm automatic gun rounds, and artillery shell fragments. The explosive reactive armour elements do not detonate when hit by 30mm automatic gun projectiles or exposed to effects of the incendiary mixtures of Napalm type or volumetric explosions.

In order to enhance the crew protection against the mass destruction weapons, the T-72AG is fitted with current state-of-the-art NBC protection system intended to make the crew compartment air-tight. The system snaps into action automatically, with audible and light indication being provided simultaneously. In so doing, when the tank is operating on a radioactive-contaminated area, the system makes it possible to measure the gamma-irradiation within the range of 0.9-150 R/h.

As an option, the T-72AG can also be fitted with a Varta optronic countermeasures system which ensures the following: decoying away incoming anti-tank guided missiles by means of setting light jamming in the sector of 20 relative to the main armament bore axis in the horizontal plane and of 2 in the vertical plane; suppression of anti-tank guided missile guidance control systems that use laser semi-active homing systems with laser target illumination, by means of laying quick-generation aerosol screens in the sector of 45 relative to the main armament bore axis. The major components of the Varta optronic countermeasures system consists of an and a aerosol screen laying system. The optronic suppression station comprises two jammers, two modulators and a control panel. The jammers and modulators are placed outside the tank in protective cases, while the control panel is located inside the tank.

In the upgraded T-72AG tank the original 780/840 hp engine with a less than optimum performance under hot conditions is replaced by a new 6TD-series diesel engine with associated support elements that has been developed for T-80UD/T-84 MBTs.

Two different diesel engine options are available - the 6TD-1 developing 1,000 hp and the 6TD-2 developing 1,200 hp. Both engines offer real advantages in performance in desert conditions at ambient temperatures of up to 55 degrees above zero, as they have a number of enhancements for operation in high ambient temperatures.

The engines in question are two-stroke multi-fuel liquid-cooled diesels with straight-flow scavenging, with horizontally-placed cylinders and opposed pistons. Both the 6TD-2 and 6TD-1 will run on various fuels including diesel fuel, petrol, kerosene, jet engine fuel (or their mixture in any proportion).

The power is taken off both sides of the crankshaft. The engine is centered and fixed with the help of three supports: two cylindrical supports co-axial with the power take-off shaft and located at the engine ends and one front support located on the engine bottom surface. This method of engine fixing requires neither adjustment nor centering operations when installing the engine in the power pack compartment.

The compact lay-out of the engine and specific features of its design make it possible to place it transversally in the power pack compartment and co-axially with the gear-boxes. This considerably simplifies the tank transmission and results in very small overall dimensions of the power pack (3.1 cubic metres).

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:52:01 ZULU