Cookie Consent by Privacy Policies Generator

T-72 Ural


First generation T-72 tank


Overview


T-72 Ural

Photo showing a T-72 Ural tank in Obr 1975 configuration with "shark gill" metal plate side skirts.
Source: www.bastion-karpenko.ru - © Copyright lies with original owner

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Main battle tank
Entered service
1974
Status
Obsolete
Development
Late 1960's - Early 1970's
1972 - 1973 (Soviet state trials)
Developer
Soviet Union - OKB-520 Kartsev-Venediktov Design Bureau
Production
1974 - 1979
Producer
Soviet Union - UVZ
Number produced
About 600, but some sources indicate 3.000 to 4.500 first generation T-72
Designations
Ural (design project name)
Obyekt 172M (GABTU index)
Notable users
Soviet Union

Description


Introduction

The T-72 Ural is an mid Cold War era main battle tank of Soviet origin. The Ural is the first generation of the famous T-72 series of tanks. The T-72 was designed as a more cost effective alternative to the T-64 while attaining a near similar level of combat effectiveness. Although this was achieved production proved troublesome for the first 5 years. When production was ramped up, the improved T-72A was introduced on the production line.

Design

The T-72 is a major design change from the earlier T-55 and T-62 series of tanks. The T-72 is a new design incorporating more advanced technology. The crew is reduced from 4 to 3 due to the introduction of an automatic loader. Eliminating the standing crew member allows for a reduced silhouette. This makes the T-72 smaller and more difficult to hit, but its cramped layout isn't ergonomic. That the T-72 was originally designed with a low production cost in mind is shown in the basic armor package, dated optics and fire control and lack of defensive aids. The T-72A was an improvement in all these areas while remaining a cost effective design.

Firepower

The T-72 Ural is armed with the smoothbore 125mm 2A26M2 cannon, the precursor to the 2A46. This is connected to an autoloader which holds 22 rounds plus associated charges. Another 17 rounds are stored within the vehicle. The coincidence range finder combined with the older 2A26M2 resulted in mediocre accuracy and barrel lifespan was short. Both issues were remedied in the T-72A. A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted as a coaxial weapon. At the commander's position there is a 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun.

Protection

The T-72 uses a variable thickness cast steel turret and welded steel hull. On the first generation there is no laminate turret armor as found on the later T-72A and T-72B. Upon introduction this made the T-72 Ural vulnerable to the latest generation of contemporary 105mm NATO rounds and anti-tank rockets and missiles. For several years distinctive "shark gill" armored plates were mounted on the hull sides. An overpressure NBC system is fitted, but there are no smoke grenade launchers. Some first generation T-72 seem to have been fitted with Kontakt-1 ERA in the 1980's during scheduled maintenance and overhaul.

Mobility

The tracked chassis provides the T-72 with good all terrain mobility. The 780 hp V-46 diesel engine provides an improved power to weight ratio over the earlier T-55. The maximum speed is about 60 km/h on road, and on average 35 km/h in the field. Detachable fuel drums at the rear increase the operational range. The T-72 can ford through water and when using a snorkel rivers up to 5 m deep can be traversed.

Users

The T-72 was first delivered to the Soviet army in 1973 and officially entered service in 1974. Production issues plagued the initial production run, for the first several years less than half of the planned numbers were delivered. This makes the first generation T-72 less common than the T-72A and T-72B. The T-72 was not exported at first, although a derivative for export was produced in the USSR from 1975 onward. However, most T-72 for Soviet export were produced in the Warsaw Pact, described in the T-72M article.

Variants


T-72 Ural-1

Soviet T-72 Ural-1 in parade livery. Note the coincidence range finder and 2A46 main gun.
Source: www.bastion-karpenko.ru - © Copyright lies with original owner

T-72 obr 1973
Initial production variant of the T-72 Ural. This has the 2A26M2 main gun, no side skirts and the Luna infrared searchlight on the left side of the main gun. The turret has two rectangular bulges in the roof for the coincidence range finder.
T-72K Ural-K
Command variant of the T-72 Ural. This has additional radios, navigation equipment and an auxiliary power unit. Radio equipment differs between company, battalion and regimental command. In NATO these are nickname T-72K1, K2 and K3, but this is not an official designation. These tanks carry and erect a 10 m tall mast for their R-130M radio.
T-72 obr 1975
Upgrade carried out in 1975 and 1976 of the existing obr 1973 models in service. The upgrade includes metal plate "shark gill" skirts, improved suspension and various minor upgrades.
T-72 Ural-1
Improved production variant produced since 1976. This features the obr 1975 updates directly from the factory, but also uses the 2A46 main gun instead of the 2A26M2. Also introduced a more sloped glacis plate and thicker turret armor. GABTU index is Obyekt 172M1.
T-72 (upgrade)
In the 1980's various batches of T-72 were upgraded with components used on the T-72A. Visible differences include a laser range finder, metal lined rubber side skirts, new generation L-4 infrared searchlight.
T-72V
Unofficial designation for first generation T-72's being fitted with a Kontakt-1 ERA package somewhere in the 1980's. This was applied in a similar manner as the T-72AV, including a pointed ERA package on the turret front.

Details


Facts T-72 Ural (obr 1973)
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Main battle tank
Crew
3 (commander, driver, gunner)
Dimensions
Weight
41 t combat load
Length
9.53 m gun forward
6.86 m hull
Width
3.46 m over mud guards
Height
2.19 m
Main armament
Type
125mm 2A26M2 (D-81TM) smoothbore gun
Mount
Main gun in turret
Ammunition
44 shells, 22 in autoloader
Elevation
-5.3° to +14°, powered
Traverse
360°, powered
Rate of fire
7 to 8 rpm
Stabilizer
Yes, 2E28M stabilizer
Coaxial armament
Type
7.62mm PKT machine gun
Mount
Coaxial with main armament
Ammunition
2.000 rounds, 250 ready to fire
Traverse
Traverse and elevation as main armament
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Secondary armament
Type
12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun
Mount
Commander's cupola
Ammunition
300 rounds, 50 ready to fire
Stabilizer
No
Sight
K10-T collimator sight
Chassis
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, 6 roadwheels
Layout
Idler front and drive sprocket rear
Track width
0.58 m
Track on ground
4.27 m
Tread
2.79 m
Ground pressure
0.83 kg/cm²
Suspension
Torsion bar
Automotive
Engine model
ChTZ V-46-6
Engine type
Four stroke liquid-cooled supercharged V12 multi-fuel diesel
Power output
780 hp at 2.000 rpm
Torque
3.089 Nm at 1.400 rpm
Transmission
7 gears
Fuel
1.200 L internal + 400 L external
Mobility
Speed
60 km/h on road
35 km/h off road
5 km/h reverse
Range
450 km on road
550 km on road with external fuel
Turn radius
Pivot
Power to weight ratio
19.0 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.4 m
Wall
0.85 m
Trench
2.8 m
Gradient
30°
Fording
1.2 m unprepared
5 m with snorkel
Protection
Armor type
Welded steel hull
Cast steel turret
"shark gill" armored plates on skirts
NBC system
Yes
Fire supression
yes
Smoke system
Exhaust diesel injection
Equipment
Night vision
Passive IR for commander, driver and gunner
L-2AG Luna IR searchlight on turret front
Fire control
Analog fire control system
TPD-2-49 gun sight with stereoscopic rangefinder
TPN-1-49-23 gunner's night sight, allows firing up to 800 m
TNP-160 day and TKN-3 night sight for commander
Radio
R-123M radio, R-124 intercom

Media


Subcomponents


7.62mm PKT

A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted as a coaxial weapon.

12.7mm NSVT

A 12.7mm NSVT heavy machine gun is mounted at the commander's cupola.

Related articles


T-62

The T-72 Ural replaced the T-62 on the production line at Uralvagonzavod.

T-72A

The T-72A is the successor of the T-72 Ural on the production line. The T-72A remedied many of the shortcomings of the early T-72.