Development for countries with a T-72 park. The modernization program of the tank involves the use of modern main components of serial tanks, such as the power plant, the SLA, armament, and, as an option, arming the NATO standards (120 mm cannon) with the ammunition available in the autoloader in the lure of the tower.

To increase the combat effectiveness of the T-72 tanks, which are in operation, the Kharkov Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau. A.A. Morozov developed and implemented a comprehensive program for their modernization. The program ensures the elimination of the T-72 lagging behind combat characteristics and protection from modern combat tanks.


The program includes activities to increase

  • Firepower
  • Of protection
  • Mobility

It is possible to upgrade in any combination of directions, based on the customer's conditions.


Options for comprehensive modernization of the T-72:

  • T-72AG
  • T-72MP
  • T-72-120
Armament modernization

It is possible that the T-72AG retains the original 125mm 2A46 smoothbore gun when being upgraded. However, as the original weapon system errors are considerable when the gun is fired, this leading to a lower tank gun accuracy and to degradation of the performance of the whole weapon system, it would be expedient to replace the current gun with a Ukrainian-made updated 125mm gun designated KBM1 in order to achieve the highest hit probability from the tank weapon system not only in static engagements, but also in moving target or moving-own-vehicle engagements. The KBA1 gun has two recoil brakes rather than one available in the original main gun of the T-72. The KBA1 gun has enhanced characteristics and can be easily installed instead of the original gun without any major changes to the tank design. The gun has a quick-replacement barrel, which can be changed under field conditions without the need to remove the gun from the tank.

The T-72AG features a 12.7 mm remote-controlled anti-aircraft machine gun which is installed on the commander's cupola and can be laid and fired from within the safety of the turret. The machine gun is remotely controlled and intended to engage both air and ground targets from the commander's station under full armour protection. The aiming angle in elevation is -5° to +70°, in azimuth - in the range of +/- 75° to the right and left of the vehicle longitudinal axis or 360° together with the tank turret. In the vertical plane, the machine gun is stabilised within the angle range of -3° to +20°.

The allowance of ammunition is placed in 3 magazines (each containing 150 rounds) and includes armour-piercing/incendiary and armour-piercing/incendiary/tracer cartridges.

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Fire-control system modernization

The armament and the fire control system of the original T-72 can only make it possible to efficiently engage targets when firing static versus static engagements. The fire efficiency decreases dramatically in case of firing from a stationary position at a moving target or firing on the move at static and moving targets. To overcome this drawback, the upgraded T-72AG tank is fitted with an up-to-date fire control system which allows stationary and moving targets to be efficiently engaged while the vehicle is stationary or moving. The original vertically stabilised TPD-K1 sight is replaced with a 1G46 sight with a line of sight  which is stabilised in both the elevation and traverse axes. The sight incorporates a laser range-finder and a missile guidance capability. The fire control system also includes a tank ballistic computer and input information sensors.

The tank ballistic computer calculates ballistic corrections for various types of ammunition. In order to calculate ballistic corrections, the computer  automatically takes into account all the inputs from the sensors including tank speed, angular target speed, gun trunnion axis cant, crosswind speed, target range, and course angle. Additionally, the following parameters are manually input: ambient air temperature, charge temperature, barrel wear ambient air pressure and so on. The computer also computes the time when the high-explosive fragmentation projectile with controlled detonation should be detonated over the target. This computer also ensures possibility of quick introduction of the ballistic characteristics of newly-developed ammunition.

The original TPN-1 (TPN-3) night sight with dependant line of sight and nigh visibility range in the active mode of 300-600 m is replaced with a gunner's TO1-KO1E night sighting system which includes a TPN-4E night sight. This sight has a night visibility range of 1,200 m in the passive mode of operation. The line of sight is stabilised in the vertical plane and has an electric connection to the main gun. When firing at night by using the TPN-4E sight, the target range is measured with the help of the laser range-finder of the 1G46 sight. In so doing, the tank ballistic computer calculates and introduces angles of sight and lead angles.

Although the image intensification night viewing equipment offers a relatively simple and effective night vision capability at a reasonable cost, in order to achieve the same level of night vision capability as that of up-to-date tanks, the gunner's station can be fitted with a thermal imaging sight instead of TPN-4E image intensification sight. Unlike the image intensifier, which requires some ambient visible radiation - however faint - and is of limited value in smoke and mist, the thermal imager will function in complete darkness, in smoke and mist, and the tank will be able to fight equally effectively by day and night and in all weathers. The thermal image and operation information are also displayed on the commander's monitor.

The original commander's TKN-3 vision device (with the night visibility range of 300-400 m in the active mode of operation) is replaced with a PNK-4S observation and sighting system which includes a TKN-4S combined day/night sight. The TKN-4S sight has a vertically-stabilised  line of sight and three channels: a day unity vision channel, a day channel with magnification of x8 and a night channel with magnification of x5.4. A simple switch enables the commander to change from the daylight channel to the night (image intensification) channel and back again. This commander's sight ensures a night visibility range of up to 700 m in the passive mode of operation and enables the commander to fire the main gun and the coaxial machine gun as well as anti-aircraft machine gun at angles of sight of up to +20° from within the safety of the turret. To fire the anti-aircraft machine gun at elevation of up to +70°, the PZU-7 anti-aircraft sight is installed. The PZU-7 sight enables the commander to engage air targets moving at a speed of 100 to 300 m/s, as well as ground targets at distances of up to 1,600 m.

At customers' request, the T-72 tank being upgraded can be fitted with a commander's PNK-5 observation and sighting system which includes a TKN-5 sight. The TKN-5 sight incorporates a laser range-finder and a lateral lead angle input device.

In the original T-72 tank, the main armament cannot be operated by the commander. In the T-72AG however, override facilities for the commander are provided and, if required, the tank commander can take over the fire control system and lay and fire the main armament as well as the coaxial machine gun. The crew can also carry out hunter/killer target engagements. Provided that the TKN-5 sight is installed, the commander can override the gunner and engage stationary and moving targets from the stationary or moving tank almost as efficiently as the gunner.

The new tank fire-control system can include a missile guidance system, with the 125mm guided missile being able to achieve effective penetration of the armour of all in-service tanks at all reasonable battle ranges. The guided missile equipment is similar to that installed in the Oplot MBT and enables the T-72AG to fire a laser beam-riding missile out to a maximum range of 5,000 m.

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Commander's sighting system modernization
  • overriding the gunner and firing the main gun on the move by using the commander's TKN-4S sight at targets located at a distance of up to 2,000 m as well as firing the machine-gun on the move at targets located at a distance of up to 1,800 m
  • firing the anti-aircraft machine gun on the move from within the tank under complete armour protection at ground and low-altitude air targets at a distance of up to 2,000 m
  • increase of the target detection range:
    • in the day-time up to 4,000 m
    • at night up to 700 m (by using the TKN-4S commander's sight)
  • target designation to the gunner with high accuracy
Characteristics Serial tank T-72 Upgraded tank T-72
Day/night sight
Model, type TKN-3 sighting device TKN-4S sight
Target detection range (m):
in the day-time 2000 4000
at night 400 700
Stabilization of the field of view No 1-axis stabilization (in vertical plane)
Magnification x6 x1, x8
Day anti-aircraft sight
Model, type K10T collimation sight PZU 7
Target detection range (m) - 2000
Line-of-sight depression/ elevation (degrees) - -5 to +70
Anti-aircraft machine gun
Calibre (mm) 12.7 12.7
Ammunition (number of maga-zines number of rounds in each) 5x60 3x150
Depression/elevation (degrees) - -3 to +20
Aiming mode Manual automatic (1ETs29 electric drive)
Speeds of aiming in vertical and horizontal planes (deg/sec) - 0.1 to 35
Range of firing on the move by using the sight (m) No 2000
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Gunner's sighting system modernization
  • increase of effective fire range up to 5,000 m in the day-time and up to 1,200 m at night from a stationary position and on the move
  • increase of target detection and recognition range due to installation of the Irtysh sight with magnification of up to x12
  • range-finding to a distance of up to 5,000 m in the day-time with probability of 0.9 by using a laser rangefinder with amplitude-time selection
  • launching a guided missile at a distance of up to 5,000 m
  • automatic allowance for deviation of the current conditions of firing from normal with the help of a high-precision ballistic computer
Characteristics Serial tank T-72
(FCS 1A40 )
Upgraded tank T-72
(FCS 1A42)
Day sighting system
Model, type ВPD-є1 1G46
Target detection range (m) 4000 5000
Stabilization of the field of view 1-axis stabilization (in vertical plane) 2-axis stabilization
Missile guidance laser channel (m) No yes (firing range of up to 5000 m)
Laser rangefinder
Probability of trustworthy measurement of range (PTM) to a TANK-type target at distances:
500... 2500 m 0.9 0.9
2500... 3000 m 0.7 0.9
3000... 4000 m 0.5 0.9
PTM if there are screening objects 0 0.9
PTM if targets are small-size 0 0.8
Systematic error of range-finding (m) 25 10
Magnification x8 x2.4...x12
Error of stabilization of the line of sight (mrad) < 0.5 < 0.2
Error of angle transmission from the gun to the sight (angular minutes) 5 2
Speed of drift of the stabilized line of sight (mrad/min) <16 < 12
Built-in test equipment (BITE) No Yes, semi-automatic
Missile guidance system
Available No Yes
Method of guidance - laser beam riding
Hit probability at a distance of 5000 m - 0.8
(0,9 at a distance of 4000 m)
Night sight
Model, type TPN-1 TPN-4E
Viewing distance under conditions of natural illumination at night equal to
(3...5)x10- 3 lx (m)
600 1200... 1400
Mode of operation Active Passive
Magnification x5.5 x6.8
Field of view (degrees) 6.0 5.4
Method of guidance of the line of sight mechanical linkage with the main gun Electric drive following the stabilized line of sight of the 1G46 gunner's main sight
Armament stabilizer
Main gun drive Electrohydraulic electrohydraulic (improved)
Stabilization accuracy in vertical plane (mrad) 0.8 0.4
Possibility of firing on the move No Yes
Turret drive Electrohydraulic Electromechanical
Stabilization accuracy in horizontal plane (mrad) 1.2 0.6
Ballistic computer
Input of the angle of sight Semi-automatic Automatic
Input of the lateral lead angle Manual Automatic
Taking into account the parallax for the gun and machine gun No Automatic
Culculation of angles of sight and lead angles for the coaxial machine gun No Automatic, with allowance for cross wind
Fire-gating it is provided with the help of mechanical contacts it is provided by the computer with possibility of adjusting it
Allowance for the deviation of the current conditions of firing from normal No the following factors are taken in account: cross wind, cant, angular and linear velosities of target, target position angle, air temperature, air pressure, charge temperature, gun bore wear
Allowance for individual angles of jump No Yes
Target hit probability when firing at a TANK-type target at a distance of 2000 m 0.2... 0.5 0.55... 0.8
Accuracy of the target indication system (mrad) 40 2... 4
Additionally
Fire control override system No yes; the commander is provided with capability of firing the main gun and coaxial machine gun on the move in the day-time and at night, even if the gunner's main sight is faulty
Automated hydropneumatic cleaning of glasses of the sights and observation devices only possibility of cleaning the main sight is envisaged, the proportioning being performed manually possibility of cleaning all the sights (including those of the commander) is envisaged, proportioning being performed automatically by means of a timer (0.2 s)
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Protection upgrade

In order to increase the protection level, the T-72AG is fitted with additional armour modules for the front hull and turret, explosive reactive armour for the hull and turret, and protective side skirts fitted with explosive reactive armour in the forward part of the hull. The design and function of the ERA is identical to that installed on the Oplot MBT.

Armour Package Design

In so doing, the modular armour package design is used, which offers a number of advantages:

  • possibility of re-equipping the tank armour protection as new armour materials become available and new protection technologies emerge;
  • new approach to restoration of the armour protection in case it has been hit by a projectile, consisting in replacing the damaged armour modules with new spare ones instead of having to repair the damaged modules under field conditions;
  • possibility of operating the tanks in peacetime with explosive reactive elements removed, which makes it possible to save fuel due to a lower weight of the vehicles; however, in case of emergency the ERA elements can be quickly re-installed on the tank by the tank crew;
  • from the manufacturer's point of view: possibility of manufacturing the ERA modules at the specialised enterprises, the tank production/repair plant having only to weld the ERA attachment points.

Efficiency

Installation of armour modules and explosive reactive armour results in the following increase of the T-72 tank protection level:

  • against chemical energy attack (high-explosive anti-tank projectiles) - by twice;
  • against kinetic energy attack (armour-piercing projectiles) - by 1.6 times.

The explosive reactive armour ensures the tank protection against the following weapons over the frontal arc:

  • anti-tank hand grenades, manual and stationary grenade launcher rounds and no-recoil gun rounds;
  • anti-tank guided missiles of the Shturm-S, TOW-2 and Milan type;
  • high-explosive anti-tank rounds fired from 125mm guns;
  • armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot projectiles fired from 125mm guns or 120mm guns from a distance of 100 m.

The placing of the explosive reactive armour elements inside armour containers makes them impregnable to damage from 7.62mm small arms, 12.7mm automatic gun rounds, and artillery shell fragments.

The explosive reactive armour elements do not detonate when hit by 30mm automatic gun projectiles or exposed to effects of the incendiary mixtures of Napalm type or volumetric explosions.

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Specifications of the upgraded defensive complex

Weight of the additional protection complex (together with positioning and fastening parts and ERA elements) is 3,150 kg.

It takes to the tank crew 5.5 to 6 hours to replace one set of ERA elements on one tank (including their extraction, washing and re-installation).

ERA elements installed on a tank do not require any special maintenance in the process of tank service.

In order to carry out installation of the additional protection complex on the tank, neither non-standard technological equipment nor special instrument nor high-qualification specialists are required.

Delivery Set Required for Upgrading of the Armour Protection of the T-72 Tank:

  1. frontal protective module to be installed on the tank hull front;
  2. parts and assemblies of the turret additional protection;
  3. parts and assemblies required for modernization of the racks over tracks;
  4. hull side screens and shields;
  5. explosive reactive armour elements.

Increase of Protection of the T-72 Tank Turret

Add-on armour is installed on the front and side parts of the turret.

Measures Increase of resistance
against armor-piercing projectiles against HEAT projectiles
Turret
Installation of add-on armour and explosive reactive armour 145 % Н1 200 % Н1
Hull
Installation of add-on armour and explosive reactive armour 145 % Н1 200 % Н1
Installation of side screens with explosive reactive armour 200 % Н2 200 % Н2
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Additional defensive measures

"Varta" Optronic Countermeasures System

As an option, the T-72AG can also be fitted with a Varta optronic countermeasures system which ensures the following:

  • decoying away incoming anti-tank guided missiles by means of setting light jamming in the sector of ±20° relative to the main armament bore axis in the horizontal plane and of ±2° in the vertical plane;
  • suppression of anti-tank guided missile guidance control systems that use laser semi-active homing systems with laser target illumination, by means of laying quick-generation aerosol screens in the sector of ±45° relative to the main armament bore axis.

The major components of the Varta optronic countermeasures system consists of an and a aerosol screen laying system.

The optronic suppression station comprises two jammers, two modulators and a control panel. The jammers and modulators are placed outside the tank in protective cases, while the control panel is located inside the tank.

The main elements which make up the aerosol screen laying system are:

  • four laser threat warning sensors. The sensors are installed on the turret roof in protective cases;
  • a control unit, two control panels and an indication panel. One control panel is installed at the gunner's station and is only intended to lay aerosol screen in the manual mode. The other control panel is installed at the commander's station and serves to control the system from the commander's station in the automatic, semi-automatic and manual modes of operation. This unit also displays information about the system parameters and the direction of the enemy laser beam directed at the tank. The indication panel is installed in the commander's rotating hatch. The panel displays information about the direction of the enemy laser beam directed at the tank;
  • twelve aerosol grenade launchers are installed either side of the turret (six per side).

NBC Protection System

In order to enhance the crew protection against the mass destruction weapons, the T-72AG is fitted with current state-of-the-art NBC protection system intended to make the crew compartment air-tight. The system snaps into action automatically, with audible and light indication being provided simultaneously. In so doing, when the tank is operating on a radioactive-contaminated area, the system makes it possible to measure the gamma-irradiation within the range of 0.9-150 R/h.

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T-72AG

For existing T-72 MBT users the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau is offering an upgrade package under the designation T-72AG which includes many of the key components of the Oplot/T-80UD main battle tanks. The package is intended to address the fightability, firepower, and survivability deficiencies identified in the T-72 main battle tanks in comparison with the current generation of battle tanks.

The conduction of the proposed modernisation at local facilities in the customer's country is technically feasible and even advisable in order to reduce the cost, as the modernisation package has been developed with simplicity of installation and minimum cost being considered as most important factors. In an attempt to keep costs to a minimum due primarily to the involvement of local production facilities, the upgrade programme envisages collaboration at the systems level between the Ukrainian and local production facilities. In so doing, as many as possible locally produced components and sub-systems are to be used, most of the work is supposed to be done in the customer's country, and only the most sophisticated equipment will be purchased, with final assembly taking place at local facilities. A further reduction in the overall cost of the project can be achieve provided that many of available T-72s are involved, as, inevitably, with increased scope will come a reduction in price of one upgraded tank. So, the project can be carried out in an efficient and cost effective manner supposing a local company is found with minimum requirement to divert its production facilities to ensure their capability of dealing with T-72 MBT upgrade business.

The T-72AG is a design which provides the optimum balance between firepower, mobility and protection. The T-72AG characteristics are similar to those of up-to-date tanks while the upgrade cost is considerably less than the costs of the modern tanks - a factor important enough to warrant consideration. So, it may turn out that, supposing the T-72AG upgrade programme is adopted, this will help the local military to bring their T-72 tank fleet up to the highest standard they can afford and to extend the life of the current generation of T-72 MBTs by 15-20 years - and all at an economical cost.

Main characteristics T-72 T-72AG
General
Weight (t) 41.5 45.5
Max road speed (km/h) on dry natural soil road (km/h) 60 65 (75 with high-speed gear-box)
Average speed 32-38 40-45
Engine power output (hp) 780 1,000 (1,200 if 6TD-2 engine is installed)
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/t) 19 21.7 (26.08)
Specific fuel consumption (g/kW-h) 245 218
Periodicity of air cleaner cassette maintenance under extreme dustyconditions (km) 300 1,000
Deep fording without preparation (m) 1.2 1.8
Commander’s sight
Type observation device TKN-3 day/night sight TKN-4S
Target detection range (m)
by day 2,000 5,000
at night 400 700
Field-of-view stabilization no in one axis
Fire control override mode no yes
Gunner’s day sight
Type TPD-K1 1G46
Target detection range (m) 4,000 5,000
Field-of-view stabilization in one axis in two axes
Line-of-sight stabilization error (mrad) 0.5 0.2
Magnification 8 (fixed) 2.7 to 12 (zooming)
Gunner’s night sight
Type TPN-3 (passive/active) TPN-4 (passive) or thermal imager
Target detection range (m) 400 (without illumination) 1,200 or 3,000
Other specifications
Effective firing range (m)
APFSDS 1,800 2,500
guided missile no 5,000
Tank ballistic computer no yes
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T-72MP

Modernisation of T-72 main battle tanks is carried out in three key areas:

  • improvement of mobility by installing a 1000 hp engine or 1200hp engine;
  • increase of protection by installing additional add-on armour plates on the hull glacis plate and on the turret front as well as by installing explosive reactive armour;
  • enhancement of firepower by installing up-to-date sighting systems, armament control drives, ballistic computer etc.
Main characteristics T-72 T-72MP
General
Weight (t) 41.5 45.5
Power-to-weight ratio (hp/t) 19 21.7 (26.08 if 6TD-2 engine is installed)
Engine power output (hp) 780 1000 (1200)
Periodicity of air cleaner maintenance under extreme dusty conditions (km) 300 at least 1000
Max road speed (km/h) 60 65
(70 with high-speed gear-box)
Deep fording without preparation (m) 1.2 1.8
Max acceptable ambient air temperature +40 +55
Protection
Armour add-on plates no yes
Explosive reactive armour no yes
Power pack compartment top deckthermal protection no yes
Dazzle painting no yes
Fire/explosion suppression system only fire-fighting equipment yes
Fire control system
Gunner’s day sight
Model, type TPD-K1 SAVAN-15
Target detection range (m) 4000 5000
Field-of-view stabilization in one axis in two axes
Gunner’s night sight
Model, type TPN-1
(image intensification)
SAVAN-15 (with thermal imager)
Target detection range (m) 400 3000
Field-of-view stabilization no in two axes
Commander’s sight
Type TKN-3 VS 580 panoramic sight and monitor of the thermal imager of SAVAN-15
Target detection range by day (m) 2000 5000
Target detection range at night (m) 400 3000
Field-of-view stabilization no in two axes
Fire control override mode no yes
Tank ballistic computer no digital computer with built-in testsystem
Anti-aircraft machine gun, type open (unprotected by armour) closed (protected by armour)
Stabilization no in two axes
Firing modes only when the tank is stationary when the tank is stationary or moving
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T-72-120

The Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau has developed a T-72 tank main armament upgrade package which envisages use of a 120mm gun and NATO-standard ammunition.

It is possible to fit the T-72 tank with a 120-140mm main guns; in so doing, the scope of required re-designing is rather small, as these guns have the overall dimensions similar to those of the guns 2A46, 2A46M and KBA3. The breech-part of the offered 120mm KBM2 gun with a quick-replacement barrel has a high degree of commonality with the breech-part of the original gun of the T-72 tank.

In order to be able to use 120mm NATO-standard fixed ammunition, the automatic loader of the gun is installed in an isolated self-contained compartment in the turret bustle. The level of armour protection of the automatic loader compartment is analogous to that of the Leopard and Abrams tanks.

The total allowance of ammunition of the tank includes 40 rounds, of which 22 are positioned in the automatic loader.

Parameter Value
Main gun
Calibre, mm 120
Ammunition 40 (22 in the autoloader)
Anti-aircraft machine gun
Calibre, mm 12,7
Control method remote
Stabilization in vertical axis
Coaxial machine gun
Calibre, mm 7,62
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