The existence of a new modernization project with respect to the old T-72B tank became known several days before the opening of the exhibition. The battle machine with an unusual coloring got into the lenses of the photojournalists: unlike the rest of the equipment, demonstrated at the 2012 Technology Engineering Showroom, the updated tank was painted white. Because of this feature, as well as by analogy with a promising tank of past years, the car was called the “White Eagle”. At the same time, the real name of the modernization project remained unknown. According to some sources, the conventional index T-72BM1, not fixed by any official documents, is used to designate a new tank.
Until a certain time, the project developers remained unknown, but soon information appeared on this account. As the Chief Editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland Magazine V. Murakhovsky reported, the project was developed on its own initiative at Spetsremont OJSC, which is a structural subdivision of Oboronservis. Most of the design work and the preparation of the prototype were carried out at the 61-m armored repair plant in St. Petersburg. From this it was concluded that Russian tank-repair enterprises began to master the modernization of armored vehicles and, possibly, intend to continue to enter with proposals to the international tank market.
As far as is known, in the course of the modernization with the provisional name “White Eagle”, only some elements of the electronic equipment of the combat vehicle were updated. The tank received a Falcon Eye / Falcon Eye sight, produced by the Belarusian company Peleng. According to available data, only the thermal imaging module of this sight, which uses a third-generation camera, is installed on the tank. The type and manufacturer of the basic elements of thermal imaging equipment were not named. An interesting feature of this night sight is the relative ease of installation. Due to the existing design, the unit placed on the surface of the tower can be installed in almost any place.
The gunner of the updated tank has a new sight of the Pine-U model. A multichannel sight with a thermal imaging channel was also created at the Peleng enterprise. In addition, in Belarus, we designed and manufactured another device from the fire control system - a digital ballistic computer. In the fire control system of the tank "White Eagle" was introduced automatic target tracking. The device, developed by an unnamed Russian organization, has two channels (for the tank commander and the gunner) and allows, without crew participation, to automatically follow the chosen target, not paying attention to its maneuvers.
Updated workplace mechanic-driver. He has several devices to monitor the condition of the chassis. In addition, if necessary, the driver can use a special monitor, which receives a signal from the rear view camera. The camera itself in a protective casing is located at the stern of the tank, between the brackets to install additional fuel tanks.
Armament of the tank, as follows from the available materials, remains the same. "Main caliber" - smooth-bore gun launcher caliber 125 millimeters, belonging to the family 2A46. Additional armament consists of an 7,62-millimeter machine coupled to the gun and mounted on the roof of a turret of an anti-aircraft heavy machine gun. On the side surfaces of the tower smoke grenade launchers are preserved. The design of the hull and turret, as well as the tank defense system with the conventional name "White Eagle" also did not undergo any changes. The front honors of the hull and turret with separate elements of the combined armor are covered with blocks of the dynamic protection system. Chassis and power plant remained the same.
Shortly after the first reports about the existence of a new modernization of the T-72B tank, some details of the project appeared in the media. In particular, it was claimed that the main purpose of updating this tank was export deliveries. Probably, the comparative simplicity of modernization is connected with this, in which only a few elements of the sighting system were replaced, and the automatic target tracking machine was used. And yet, judging by the absence of other reports, the White Eagle tank failed to attract potential customers. Even a year after the end of the exhibition “Technologies in Mechanical Engineering-2012”, there is no information about the future supply of such tanks or upgrades of those already built to the corresponding state. Probably, the proposed path of modernization turned out to be uninteresting for countries operating T-72B tanks.
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