T-72 M1 Main Battle Tank

The “product 172” was designed in Nishni Tagil as the variant of T-64 with less advanced but more reliable engine.

It was close to the T-64 only in its first iteration. Before the series production started almost all the construction, including running gear was replaced and the T-72 shared with T-64 only the gun, communication equipment and some components of FCS.

t19   001



The smooth-bore 125mm D-81T gun was the world’s most powerful tank weapon in mid seventies and retained its advantages for quite a long time. Unfortunately the range of shells offered for D-81T by Soviets was limited and became obsolete very soon. The auto loader device purpose-built for T-72 and different to those used in T-64 and T-80 enabled the tank to fire up to 8 shells per minute.

t19   002


Another advantage of T-72 is its low silhouette. The price for it is the cramped inner space assuring only minimum comfort for the crew. That feature made any upgrade of the T-72 difficult too.

t19   003

Series production of T-72 started in 1974. It was released for export in 1975. The basic version with co-incidental range finder TPD-2-49 was replaced in 1979 by the T-72A with TPD-K1 laser range finder and thicker multi layered armour of the front part of the turret. Early T-72As retained rectangular, separated and folded side protection screens while the later had conventional side skirts made of reinforced rubber. Another improvements were introduced in 1980: an enhanced V-46-6 engine, more accurate 2A46 gun and Tucha smoke grenade launchers.

t19   004



The export variant of T-72A was called T-72M and was available since 1980 with simplified multi layer glacis plate and without of ceramic “filling” in the cast turret armour while T-72M1 (introduced two years later) had the protection level equal to T-72A. T-72M/M1 replaced the oldest export variant of T-72 on the foreign production lines very fast (India just started production with “M” in 1987). It became a base for numerous local upgrades like Yugoslav M-84, Polish PT-91, Slovak T-72M2 etc.

t19   005


Even the latest Chinese MBT called “Type 98” has the hull and running gear very similar to those developed for T-72 thirty years earlier. Despite of its age T-72s in its newest incarnations belongs to the elite pool of world’s most powerful MBTs. It is one of world’s most popular modern tanks – only in Soviet Union about 30 000 were built while the number of licence produced MBTs of that type is close to 4500.

t19   006

[…]

Read more…

TS19   okl

  • Recommended - Aircraft

Lavochkin La-5 Vol. I
Lavochkin La-5 Vol. I The history of the design and development of Lavochkin fighter...
Dornier The Yugoslav Saga 1926 - 2007
Dornier The Yugoslav Saga 1926 - 2007 Claude Dornier’s contribution in the field of aviation started...
Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Vol. I
Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Vol. I Nakajima K-43 Hayabusa, code-named Oscar by the Allies, was the...
I-16 Rata The fighter that saved the USSR
I-16 Rata The fighter that saved the USSR The author of this monograph would like to inform his reader...
Boeing (McDonnell Douglas)  F/A-18  A/B/C/D  Hornets Vol. I
Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornets Vol. I The F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and two-seat, twin engine,...
Mitsubishi  A5M Claude
Mitsubishi A5M Claude The mid-1930s saw the ever increasing numbers of fast monoplane...
Grumman  F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service
Grumman F-14 Tomcat in US Navy Service For many years, the author of this book wished to publish a work...