At the tank biathlon held in Alabino, as part of this event, a show of military equipment was held, which is in service with the Russian army. In addition to armored vehicles already known to the general public, the tank T-72B3 was openly demonstrated for the first time.
It should be noted that for some reason this premiere did not cause a stir among the visitors of the exhibition, everyone tried to take a picture of T-90А standing nearby. In principle, in fact, the outwardly modernized seventy-two warfare differed from the previously illuminated T-72B preliminary runs of the 1988 sample of the year only in that the Sosna-U multichannel sight was installed instead of the usual 1K-13-49 sight sight device. But since the windows of the sight were covered with a lid, not even all the tankers understood the difference. And she is.
This modern digital sight is equipped with a thermal imaging channel. Thanks to what the gunner-operator and commander tank in the “double” mode they are capable of effectively defeating various targets from a cannon and machine gun, and also launch guided missiles day and night, in any weather. By all characteristics, it is currently considered one of the best in the world. A similar sight, by the way, is on the latest T-90MS, as well as on a tank support combat vehicle (BMPT).
Another very important feature of this sight is that it is equipped with a target tracking machine. This allows the gunner operator to act on the principle of "shot-forgotten." It is necessary to find a goal, then automatics will work. And the fighter at this time can already be engaged in search of other purpose.
However, in contrast to the T-90MS, whose sight is covered with flaps opening from the crew seats, the crew members need to manually remove the protective cover from the updated T-72.
The 1А40 daytime sight, which was the main one on earlier versions of the Ural machines, was also revised and left as a backup (curiously, it is equipped with a laser-free protection). The machine has a wind sensor, the latest communications, improved weapon stabilizer and protection against weapons mass destruction. Also modified automatic loader guns for new ammunition and improved chassis, received tracked belts with a parallel hinge.
When T-72B3 was first seen in military units, many were puzzled that the right side of the tower, located next to the embrasure of the PKT machine gun, was not covered at all by dynamic protection. The old night sight was of an active-passive type, that is, under certain conditions, the illumination of an infrared illuminator was used, which was mounted just in the place where this “hole” appeared.
At the modernized machines presented in Alabino, this “hole” has already been eliminated, there are blocks of dynamic protection. Of course, all these half measures, the need to install on the Russian T-72, T-90 and T-80 type dynamic protection for the new generation Relikt, which can now be seen on Kazakhstani tank support vehicles, has long been overdue. But it should be understood that the T-72B3 is a budget upgrade, the designers of the machine were squeezed into the Procrustean bed of financial constraints of the previous leadership of the Ministry of Defense.
Therefore, instead of the 1000-strong engine B-92C2, which is installed on the T-90A and the previous version of the upgraded T-72BA, B-84-1 in 840 hp was left on this tank. And so the mobility characteristics have not increased.
According to the experience of the two Chechen wars and other military conflicts, tank practitioners and designers themselves have long suggested that closed machine gun installations (TPLs) should be installed on the updated T-72. But former officials also saved on them. And the current conflict in Syria shows that if Syrian tanks had ZPU, then many losses could have been avoided. Tankers would not need to get out from under the armor to the waist, which, you know, is fraught with fire.
Curiously, the Algerian army is upgrading its T-72 with the installation of such machine gun installations. The Algerians found money for a more advanced sight of the TKN-4 commander, and we still have a version of the old TKN-3 with very limited characteristics.
Of course, the Falcon Eye-type panoramic sight, which was already installed on the T-72 by the 61 BTRZ specialists and demonstrated at weapon shows, was very useful. Or the next version of the T-72B3 could be installed recently developed in Rostov tank assault and observation complex PNK-4C-02 with a thermal imaging channel and a laser rangefinder. This would significantly increase the commander’s ability to detect and hit targets.
Of course, the new electronics is expensive, but is it worth saving on it? Our western partners can count money, but they put all the most advanced equipment on their upgraded machines. What we can probably see next year, when the Americans and Germans come to us on their M-1A2 SEP V2, “Leopard-2А6” / А7. But the tasks of Russian tankers are not only to perform at competitions such as tank biathlon.
PS By the way, the tank crews of the 138 Brigade, in which T-72B3 appeared, became the winners in the tank biathlon, and the T-72B were used as training machines. True, the tankers say they regret that they were separated from their favorite T-80.