The Cold War-era T-72 Main Battle Tank (MBT) proved itself an export success for the Soviet Empire during the 1970s and 1980s. Numerous global operators led to over 25,000 of the type being produced. Its reach made it an inevitability that the design would be upgraded by various means and several national powers took to local projects to achieve just that. For Romania, a long-time Soviet military ally, the "TR-125" ("Tanc Romanesc 125") project was enacted in an attempt to produce a more "Romanian-centric" combat system. However, the project stalled after the testing phase as the Romanian Army did not move on acquiring the product. Between three and five pilot vehicles are believed to have been made.
The TR-125 came about due to the fact that Soviet authorities did not allow the T-72M to be locally-produced in Romania despite the Romanian commitment to it (thirty units were purchased from the Soviet Union in 1978 and delivered the following year). This led to an action being taken to rebuild the Soviet product from the ground-up and Romanian engineer went to work in the mid-1980s. Many components of the tank were reproduced through local means and companies to result in what was designated the "TR-125". The "125" in the designator signified the tank's main gun armament of 125mm, this through the A555 model smoothbore gun tube.
Along with this weapon were a 7.62mm PKMT coaxial machine gun and 12.7mm DShK Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun fitted to the commander's cupola (both quite standard fittings for modern MBTs). The vehicle was powered by the 8VSA3 diesel-fueled engine of 900 horsepower and running gear included seven double-tired road wheels to a hull side (the original T-72 featured six wheels). The upper track regions were covered in side skirt armor for added protection. The crew remained three as in the T-72 (Commander, Driver, Gunner) and an autoloader fed the main gun system. The chassis, lengthened some over the original T-72, was suspended by a torsion bar system which provided excellent cross-country performance.
The pilot vehicles were formed in the late 1980s and testing continued into the early-1990s. The tank was heavier, longer, and more powerful than the original T-72s weighing some 55 tons (short). Hull length was 7.9 meters with a width reaching 3.6 meters and a height of 2.2 meters. By and large, the TR-125 mimicked the T-72 in both form and function.
While the Romanian Army did not proceed with the TR-125 design, the "TR-2000" initiative was born in its place during the latter part of the 1990s. This project, too, failed to materialize and ended in cancellation.