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  • T-72 (Ural) Main Battle Tank (MBT)

    One of the most successful post-World War 2 tank designs, the Soviet-era T-72 Main Battle Tank succeeded the T-54/T-55 series systems.

     Updated: 6/22/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Soviets/Russians have always maintained a penchant for successful (and globally popular) tank designs since they unveiled their war-winning T-34 Medium Tank during World War 2. The T-34 began a long-running history of capable, cost-effective combat machines designed to match - or in some cases surpass - available Western offerings. The Cold War-era T-72 proved no exception, granted with excellent speed for its class and an inherent reliability that is always require by the modern battlefield. Perhaps most important to procurement authorities, the T-72 was a budget-conscious end-product which could be produced in the tens of thousands during a period when every effort was being made to stay one step ahead of the United States and Europe in comparable developments. As such, the T-72 has gone on to see an extended service life in many foreign inventories and has undoubtedly proven an export success. With over 25,000 examples delivered, the T-72 ranks only second to the most successful post-World War 2 tank - the T-54/T-55 (with as many as 100,000 being built). In comparison, the wartime T-34 saw 84,000 units produced.

    The T-72 originated as a design to counter the expensive nature of the technologically-advanced T-64 of 1963. The T-64 was the primary spearhead Soviet Main Battle Tank and introduced the D-81T 125mm smoothbore main gun. To this point, Western offerings relied on a rifled 105mm system and have since gone on to adopt a 120mm smoothbore design themselves. The T-64 also coupled the 125mm main gun with an automatic loader which reduced the crew size to three and contained overall operational weights to manageable levels while promoting a reduced profile on the horizon. The T-64B was the first Soviet tank line to support firing guided anti-tank missiles from the main gun barrel which broadened its tactical value considerably. However, its procurement costs proved limited and only 13,000 T-64 tanks were produced from 1951 to 1962 from plants originating in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

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    T-72 (Ural) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1972
    Type: Main Battle Tank (MBT)
    National Origin: Soviet Union
    Manufacturer(s): Various - Soviet Union/Russia / Poland / Czechoslovakia / India / Iran
    Production: 25,000

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 3
    Length: 22.80 feet (6.95 meters)
    Width: 11.78 feet (3.59 meters)
    Height: 7.28 feet (2.22 meters)

    Operating Weight: 51 tons (46,000 kg; 101,413 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: Yes
    Nightvision Equipment: Yes - Infrared

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x V-84 V-12 air-cooled, multi-fuel diesel engine developing 840 horsepower at 2,000rpm.

    Maximum Road Speed: 42 mph (67 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 300 miles (483 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    1 x 125mm smoothbore main gun
    1 x 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun
    1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun
    2 x 6 smoke grenade dischargers

    39 x 125mm projectiles
    300 x 12.7mm ammunition
    2,000 x 7.62mm ammunition
    12 x smoke grenades

    Global Operators / Customers

    Algeria; Angola; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Finland; Georgia; Hungary; India; Iran; Iraq; Kazahkstan; Kyrgyzstan; Libya; Macedonia; Morocco; Poland; Soviet Union (Russia); Serbia and Montenegro; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Syria; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Nations; Uzbekistan; Yemen

    Model Variants

    T-72 - Base production model

    T-72K - Commander's Base-version Vehicle

    T-72A - Various modifications

    T-72AK - Commander's A-version Vehicle

    T-72AV - Features explosive reactive armor

    T-72M - Export model of T72A

    T-72M1 - Additional armor; Modernized variant

    T-72B - Additional turret armor

    T-72BK - Commander's B-version Vehicle

    T-72B1 - Sans anti-tank launcher

    T-72S - Export variant of T72B model

    T-72S1 - Export variant of T72B1 model

    T-72BM - Features updated explosive reactive armor.

    PT-91 "Twardy" - Polish-produced T72 offshoot

    TR-125 - Romamian-produced T72 offshoot

    M-84 "Degmen" - Croatian-produced T72 offshoot

    T-72 155mm - Trialed

    T-72 120mm - Trialed

    MTU-72 AVLB - Bridgelayer

    BREM-1 - Armored Recovery Vehicle

    IMR-2 - Battlefield Engineering Vehicle

    BMR-3M - Anti-mine Vehicle

    BMPT - Armor Support Vehicle

    T-72M4 CZ

    T-90 - Modernized version of T-72 for Russian Army