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T-72B3


Fourth generation T-72 tank


Overview


T-72B3M obr 2016

Oblique view of Russian T-72B3M tank in the streets of Moscow in 2018.
Source: Dmitriy Fomin - © CC BY 2.0

Origin
Russia
Type
Main battle tank
Entered service
2012 for T-72B3
2017 for T-72B3M
Status
In service
Development
Late 2000's
Developer
Russia
Production
2011 - present?
Producer
Russia - UVZ
Unit cost
52 million Rubles in 2013
Number produced
Over 1.700
Designations
Obyekt 184-M3 (GABTU index for T-72B3)
T-72B4 (incorrect name for T-72B3M)
Notable users
Russia

Description


Introduction

The T-72B3 is a modern era main battle tank of Russian origin. These tanks are not produced new from factory. The T-72B3 is an overhaul and deep modernization of existing stocks of T-72B tanks. This upgrade program is a cost effective alternative for acquiring new tanks, while attaining the performance level of the T-90A main battle tank.

Design

The T-72B3 is an overhaul and upgrade of existing T-72B tanks. A new gun, stabilizer and fire control system are installed. Sights for the commander and gunner are improved and include thermal night vision equipment. Kontakt-5 ERA is added, with additional Relikt ERA and slat armor in the B3M upgrade. A new and more powerful engine provides increased mobility in the field, even though the weight has increased. A new intercom and radio are fitted as well.

Firepower

The T-72B3 is fitted with an updated 125mm 2A45M-5 smoothbore cannon. This provides greater accuracy over the previous generation and is able to fire modern APFSDS-T projectiles. Accuracy is further improved by using a new stabilizer, updated fire control computer and Sosna-U stabilized panoramic day and thermal sight. The autoloader is modified to handle longer penetrators as used in Svinets-1 and Svinets-2 shells. Maximum range is 4 km for armor piercing ammunition, 5 km for guided missiles and over 5 km for HE-fragmentation shells.

Protection

The T-72B3 retains the hull and turret armor of the T-72B tank. This is reinforced with Kontakt-5 ERA on the turret and glacis plate. The T-72B3 retained rubber side skirts, whereas the T-72B3M adds side skirts with Relikt ERA and optional UPH add-on ERA bags. The T-72B3M also adds cage armor at the rear hull and backside of the turret.

Mobility

Some T-72B3 retained their 840 hp V-84 diesel engines. Most B3 and all B3M were upgraded with the 1.130 hp V-92S2 engine. The engine gives the T-72B3 an improved dash speed. The tracked chassis provides a good all terrain mobility. Despite its increased weight the T-72B3 has a lower weight than its Western counterparts. The issues with neutral steering and low reverse speed remain.

Users

Russia is the main user of the T-72B3. Over 1.700 existing T-72B have been overhauled to B3 and B3M standard. Small numbers of these tanks are reportedly in service with Belarus and Syria. These tanks have been used in large numbers by Russia in its war against Ukraine. Russian reports indicate that these perform adequately against Ukrainian tanks. With their guns, fire control, optics and ammunition being a generation newer than their counterparts that claim is plausible. However, many T-72B3 seem to have been destroyed by modern Ukrainian and Western anti-tank missiles.

Variants


T-72B3

First batches were upgraded to T-72B3 standard, also known as T-72B3 obr 2011 in Russia. Many vehicles retained their V-84 engine. The T-72B3 upgrade includes the 2A46M-5 gun, Kontakt-5 era on glacis and turret front, improved autoloader, Sosna-U gunner's day and thermal sight with monitor for commander and various other upgrades. Easily recognizable by the Sosna-U sight while retaining the rubber side skirts.

T-72B3M

Further improved upgrade package, also known as T-72B3 obr 2016 in Russia. This adds the large and distinctive new side skirts, slat armor and Relikt ERA to the turret sides. There is also a PK PAN sight for the commander with day and thermal optics. All T-72B3M include the more powerful V-92S2F engine and drivetrain upgrades.

Media


Details


Facts T-72B3M
General
Origin
Russia
Type
Main battle tank
Crew
3 (commander, driver, gunner)
Dimensions
Weight
46.5 t combat load
Length
9.53 m gun forward
6.86 m hull
Width
3.6 m
Height
2.26 m
Main armament
Type
125mm 2A45M-5 smoothbore gun
Mount
Main gun in turret
Ammunition
Up to 39 shells, 22 in autoloader
Elevation
-5° to +13°, powered
Traverse
360°, powered
Rate of fire
8 rpm
Stabilizer
Yes, both axis
Coaxial armament
Type
7.62mm PKTM 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 6P50 Kord heavy machine gun
Mount
Commander's cupola
Ammunition
300 rounds, 50 ready to fire
Stabilizer
No
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
0.9 kg/cm²
Suspension
Torsion bar
Automotive
Engine model
ChTZ V-92S2F
Engine type
V12 liquid-cooled diesel
Power output
1.130 hp
Transmission
Automatic
Fuel
1.200 L internal + 400 L external
Mobility
Speed
65 km/h on road
35 to 45 km/h off road
5 km/h reverse
Range
500 km on road
Turn radius
Pivot
Power to weight ratio
24.3 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.43 m
Wall
0.85 m
Trench
2.6 to 2.8 m
Gradient
30°
Fording
1.2 m unprepared
1.8 m prepared
5 m with snorkel
Protection
Armor type
Steel with laminate armor over frontal arc
Kontakt-5 ERA on turret front and glacis plate
Relikt ERA on side skirts and turret sides
Slat armor on hull and turret rear
NBC system
Yes
Fire supression
Automatic
Smoke system
8x Type 902 Tucha smoke grenade dischargers
Exhaust diesel injection
Equipment
Night vision
Passive IR for driver
Thermal for commander and gunner
Fire control
1A40-4 fire control system
Sosna-U stabilized day and thermal sight for gunner
PK PAN day and thermal sight for commander
Radio
R-168

Subcomponents


PKT

A 7.62mm PKTM machine gun is fitted as coaxial armament.

Kord

A 12.7mm 6P50 Kord heavy machine gun is mounted onto the commander's cupola.