Main battle tanks (part 13) - T-72M2 Moderna (Slovakia)
It must be recognized that the main battle tank T-72, created in 70-ies of the last century and which is represented by thousands of units around the world, still remains the most used today. It has a successful design, armed with the now popular, 125-mm smooth-bore gun with a full automatic loader. The optimum angle of the armor and the low silhouette of the T-72 tank make it a truly formidable fighting machine that is hard to hit and which is very hard to destroy.
However, along with the advantages of the tank T-72 there are significant drawbacks. Despite the fact that its automatically charged gun provides a high rate of fire, which exceeds similar guns mounted on tanks of other states, this advantage is leveled by the presence of outdated optical instruments, fire control systems, calculators, sensors and communications equipment of this tank. In addition, his main armored defense is not always able to withstand anti-tank systems. weapons last generation. In order to bring the T-72 up to the level of up-to-date protection and interaction on the battlefield, many armies go to invest money in upgrading tanks, which makes it possible to get at their disposal a combat vehicle that is unique in its tactical and technical characteristics.
The armies of the former Warsaw Pact are in a special position. In an effort to unite with Western security organizations, they recognize the need to bring their own armored vehicles to the technical level of their potential opponents. The main problem is that most countries do not have the financial resources to implement this through the acquisition of new machines. The only and most realistic way out is the modernization and the so-called "Westernization" (improvement in the Western style) of the best-developed tanks in the USSR that they currently have in service, that is, T-72 tanks.
The most striking example in this matter is the situation with the modernization of the T-72 in Slovakia. After the collapse of Czechoslovakia, the new state of Slovakia was faced with the problem of providing its own armed forces with modern tanks that would meet the requirements for protection and control. As a result, it was decided to modernize the T-72, which had previously been produced in the state under a USSR license. After evaluating the offers of various Western companies, the French company SFIM was chosen as the main partner for cooperation, and the Belgian company SABCA was the main component supplier. An important agreement was also signed, which guaranteed the participation of the Slovak industry in the modernization of the tank and providing 40% production of all components.
The first fruit of this international collaboration at the end of 1994 was the development of improvement programs for VEGA and VEGA +. These programs, above all, provided for the installation of an entirely new automated SLA on the tank, made by the Belgian company SABCA, without making any changes to the turret or the technical equipment of the tank. VEGA + VEGA + advanced models of the main T-72M1 tanks were assembled in the 1996 year and received the symbol T-72M1-A. In addition to the above installation of the new MSA in these tanks mounted DZ DYNA. In order to preserve the maneuverability of the combat vehicle, the former level, this is due to the fact that after installing the DZ, the tank mass increased by 3,5 tons, it was decided to install the new S-12U engine, which is the Polish forced version of the B-46 diesel engine.
In 1995, Slovakia presented the next modernization of the T-72M1 tanks carried out under the LYRA program. Improved in accordance with her combat vehicles received the symbol T-72M2 "Modern" (Moderna). A feature of these tanks is a completely new SLA SRP, which gives equal opportunities for both the tank commander and the gunner to use a tank gun. In addition to elements taken from the previously upgraded T-72M1 tank, the new SLA has a built-in panoramic sight of the commander of the MVS580 tank, a TIGS gunner's thermal sight, advanced sensors for monitoring shooting conditions, a multiprocessor electronic control unit for controlling the turret.
The first prototypes of the T-72M2 “Modern” tanks, besides the 125-mm smoothbore gun, were armed with an additional two 20-mm fully automatic KAA-001 guns, which simultaneously mixed in a vertical plane. In order to increase the degree of protection of the combat vehicle, the second generation DYNA-S dynamic protection and the warning complex of being in the field of laser irradiation LIRD-4D are installed on it. This modification of the tank is actively being promoted for export deliveries, but, in spite of all the efforts made, orders from foreign customers have not been received.
The advantages of the T-72M2 "Modern" are a relatively small price and the ability to manufacture all the components of the machine at Slovak enterprises. Among the deficiencies identified were a weak engine (almost 150 hp less power compared to Ukrainian 6TD), which, with the same mass as the T-72MP, impairs mobile qualities, simplified radioelectronic equipment, a small elevation angle of an additional 30-mm artillery unit (30 °), which makes it virtually impossible to conduct effective fire on the upper floors of buildings or air targets.
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