T-72, one of the most massive tanks in the world, forms the basis of the tank fleet of a number of countries. Its possible future against the background of the modern development of armored vehicles tried to assess the Czech edition of CZDefence:
The T-72 is one of the greatest examples of military equipment [...] It is surprising how vital this tank is until now, half a century after its creation. The T-72 is a living structure that is constantly being improved.
- writes the Czech military expert David Hall.
"T-72 will never become MBT"
As stated, during its service, the T-72 has been sharply criticized more than once. After the war in the Persian Gulf, in which thousands of machines of this type took part, they did not really show themselves, they even began to be called "death tanks".
This designation, of course, is completely wrong, as are the opposite views, which only extol the T-72 [...] Any weapon system has its pros and cons
- writes CZDefence, pointing out that the advantages of the T-72 include its simplicity and reliability, and the disadvantages - "the very concept borrowed from the T-64 tank, which was followed by other Soviet tanks."
This refers to the introduction of an automatic loader, which made it possible to reduce the crew, but led to an unsuccessful placement of ammunition [possibly, we are talking about the risk of ammunition detonation]. Among other "ailments", the T-72 has less powerful observation devices, an outdated fire control system, etc.
They are trying to eliminate these shortcomings in the process of modernization, equipping the tank with new MSA, engines, additional armor. The ultimate goal of these improvements, as explained on the pages of CZDefence, is to bring the T-72 closer to Western designs, the so-called "main battle tanks".
These attempts were ultimately unsuccessful. The T-72 will never be a full-fledged MBT; it was and will remain a typical medium tank. But the question is, shouldn't you use this factor?
- the author asks.
"Only a support tank will come out of it"
According to him, medium tanks are currently experiencing a renaissance. Completely new designs are being created, such as the Turkish-Indonesian MMWT, the Chinese VT-5 and the American MPF, "and beyond them the future for decades to come." Their main task is not to fight enemy tanks, but to provide fire support. The listed models have a mass similar to the T-72, but have a smaller caliber - a 105-mm cannon, whose roots go back to the British L-7 gun, instead of the 125-mm 2A46.
However, despite the larger caliber, the 2A46 is less suitable for the needs of fire support [...] The L-7 gun [and its modern modifications] is much better suited for this task
- says Hall, pointing out that due to the installation of 105-mm caliber, it is possible to transform the T-72 into a modern medium tank, performing mainly fire support tasks.
In his words, to create a full-fledged modern medium tank based on the T-72, it will be necessary to dismantle or modify the automatic loader, install a new simple and cheap MSA and light additional armor.
Such a medium tank could be of interest to many developing countries. Therefore, it is worth taking this opportunity