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T-72M4

Main battle tank

T-72M4

The T-72M4 has significantly improved capabilities comparing with the older variants of the T-72

 
 
Entered service 2003
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 48 t
Length (gun forward) 9.8 m
Hull length ~ 6.9 m
Width 3.76 m
Height 2.18 m
Armament
Main gun 125-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, x 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 5 to + 14 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 37 rounds
Machine guns 2 100 x 7.62-mm, 720 x 12.7-mm rounds
Mobility
Engine Perkins Condor CV12-1000 TCA
Engine power 1 000 hp
Maximum road speed 61 km/h
Range 700 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.83 m
Trench 2.7 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m

 

   The T-72 main battle tank was licensed-produced in the former Czechoslovakia. It entered service with the Czechoslovakian army in 1981. After the dissolution of the Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s upgrade programs were developed both in Czech Republic and Slovakia to keep their fleets of T-72 MBTs operational and combat capable.

   In the 1990s Czech MoD issued request for a substantial modernization program of the ageing T-72 tanks. One of the requirements was improved overall protection, and improved protection against NBC threats. Two prototypes, the T-72M3 and T-72M4 were completed to meet requirements of this upgrade program. The only major difference between these two prototypes was the engine. The T-72M4 was powered by a British Perkins Condor CV12-1000 TCA diesel. Eventually the T-72M3 was dropped in favor to the T-72M4. This tank was accepted to service with the Czech Republic. Sometimes it is referred as the T-72M4CZ. Original Czech Army requirement was for 355 upgraded tanks. However due to budget cuts only 30 tanks were upgraded to the T-72M4 standard. Some sources report that these were delivered between 2003 and 2005.

   Many of the T-72 systems were upgraded. As a result the T-72M4 is a much capable combat machine than its predecessor. In terms of capabilities it approaches the latest main battle tanks.

   The T-72M4 has improved armor protection. The tank is fitted with composite armor and new Polish DYNA explosive reactive armor. It provides protection against HEAT, APFSDS and HESH rounds. The T-72M4 is fitted with mine protection system, that neutralizes mines with magnetic fuse. This tank is fitted with new German automatic fire suppression system. It also has new NBC protection system. Upgraded tanks are fitted with laser warning system. It detects once the vehicle is illuminated by a laser beam and identifies direction of the threat. Then smoke grenades can be discharged to hide the tank.

   The T-72M4 has the same 125-mm smoothbore gun as its predecessor. A muzzle reference system was added for improved accuracy. The gunner can quickly check that there is an accurate relation between the gun and the sight. This tank is fitted with an autoloader. Enhanced 125-mm APFSDS-T rounds were developed for this tank.

   Also there are 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun and roof-mounted 12.7-mm machine gun. The 12.7-mm MG is manually operated by the vehicle commander.

   The T-72M4 is fitted with new Italian Officine TURMS-T (Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System) fire control system, new ballistic computer and a host of new sensors. All of these improvements reduced time required to engage the target. Also upgraded tanks have significantly improved first round hit probability. Vehicle commander uses new panoramic sight allowing hunter-killer target engagements. Once commander spots and identifies the target, he lays the gun and lets the gunner complete all the aiming and firing process. During that time commander looks for the next target. Also commander can fire the gun from his station. It is claimed that this tank can recognize targets at night up to a range of 4 200 m and identify them at a range of 2 100 m. It is significant improvement over the old Soviet night vision systems. Maximum range of fire at daytime is up to 5 000 m.

   This tank is operated by a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   The T-72M4 is powered by a British Perkins Condor CV12-1000 TCA turbocharged diesel engine. It is the same engine, as used on the Challenger 2 main battle tank, but derated from 1 200 hp to 1 000 hp. Its power is adequate, as upgraded T-72 weights significantly less than the Challenger 2. It is worth noting that Perkins engine proved to be reliable. Also it is more fuel efficient than original engine. New engine is mated to Allison automatic transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It is claimed that the powerpack can be replaced in 2 hours. Due to increased power the T-72M4 has greater acceleration and improved cross-country speed and mobility.

 

Variants

 

   VT-72M4 upgraded VT-72 armored recovery vehicle. It is fitted with engine and systems of the T-72M4 main battle tank.

 

Video of the T-72M4 main battle tank

 

 
T-72M4

T-72M4

T-72M4

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T-72M4


 
T-72M4

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