Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole's TreadHead Tuesday - The Soviet T-72 Series MBT - June 22nd, 2004
Posted on 06/22/2004 12:00:15 AM PDT by SAMWolf
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The T-72, a Soviet medium tank entered production in 1971. It was a parallel design with the T-64.
The T-72 was the main front-line tank used by the Red Army from the 1970s to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was also exported to other Warsaw Pact countries and several other countries such as Finland, India, Iran, Iraq and Yugoslavia, as well as being copied, both with and without licenses, in a number of other countries (the Yugoslavs called their copy the M84 and sold thousands of them around the world during the 1980s; the Iraqis called theirs the Assad Babyl, which means "Lion of Babylon," though the Iraqis assembled theirs from "spare parts" sold to them by the Russians as a means of evading the UN-imposed weapons embargo).
Various versions of the T-72 have been in production for decades, and the specifications for its armor have changed considerably. Early T-72 tanks had homogenous cast steel armor incorporated spaced armor technology and were moderately well protected by the standards of the early 1970s. Around 1980, the Soviets began building the tanks with composite armour Composite armour similar to the Chobham armour used in modern Western tanks, in the front of the turret and the front of the hull. Late in the 1980s, T-72 tanks in Soviet inventory (and many of those elsewhere in the world as well) were fitted with reactive armour tiles.
It is believed that since 1985, T-72 tanks in Russian military service have been fitted with laser rangefinders of French design; since 2000, some may have been fitted with thermal imaging night-vision gear of French manufacture as well (though this is less likely than that they might simply use the locally manufactured 'Buran-Catherine' system, which incorporates a locally manufactured version of the French AGAVA-2 thermal sight). Depleted uranium armor-piercing ammunition for the 125mm gun has been manufactured in Russia in the form of the BM-32 projectile since around 1978, though it has never been deployed, and is less penetrative than the later Tungsten BM-42, and the newer BM-42M, which compares in penetrative ability to the German DM-53. The T-72 with these enhancements and a skilled, motivated, proficient crew is a formidable opponent even by 21st Century standards, though it is not in the same class as the most modern Western designs such as the M1 Abrams.
Therefore it is not uncommon around the world and is found in the armies of many potential enemies of the US and other Western nations. Many Western analysts regard this as worrisome, due to the fact that, at least theoretically, its 125mm 2A46 main gun is capable of destroying any modern main battle tank in the world today, including the M1 Abrams. On the other hand, on those three occasions when Soviet clients using T-72s have met Western armies that possessed modern main battle tanks--Lebanon in 1982, Kuwait in 1991, and Iraq in 2003--the Syrians and Iraqis got thrashed very badly indeed, although this might have more to do with the poor training and low morale of their crews than with any deficiencies in the T-72 itself. It might also be mentioned that the versions these armies fielded were, in either case, at least 30 years out of date at the time, had not been significantly upgraded, were firing inferior ammunition (often with steel penetrators and half-charges of propellant), and were faced with well-equipped forces using the most up-to-date cutting-edge equipment.
Compared to modern tanks the T-72 does exhibit a number of glaring deficiencies, which it shares with other tank designs of Soviet origin.
Iraqi T-72 Hit with DU Sabot
Even the most recently produced T-72s are not especially well protected (with the notable exception of the T-72BM); NATO standard 120mm/L60 guns firing the M829 series DU APFSDS rounds, or German Tungsten DM-53 can kill it on the first shot from any angle out past two kilometers, and even the older NATO standard 105mm/L68 can do it at a kilometer or more--at least with depleted uranium Depleted uranium ammunition. 1st generation Reactive armour bricks help it only slightly as concerns APFSDS, but moreso against HEAT ammunition.
M-84 - Yugoslav-built version of the Soviet T-72.
The 125mm 2A46 series main gun is almost as powerful (depending on the ammunition) as the NATO-standard 120mm/L60 found in many modern Western MBTs (which is to say, highly powerful and highly lethal, at least theoretically capable of destroying any tank in the world today at a kilometer or more), but its rate of fire depends very much on the state of repair of the autoloader, which is necessary due to the extremely small and cramped interior apace in the turret, which prevents the addition of a fourth crew member as a loader. This autoloader is based on the autoloader from the T-62 series with mechanical improvements, and is rather slow and prone to malfunctions if not maintained properly.
It takes between seven and fifteen seconds to load a new shell into the main gun, during which time the main gun cannot be aimed due to the fact that the autoloader must crank the gun up three degrees above the horizontal in order to depress the breech end of the gun and line it up with the new shell. Even with a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer final aiming takes at least another three to five seconds. Even with a very proficient, well-trained crew, a tank with such an autoloader in a condition of poor maintenance (uncommon in elite or guards tank regiments) can only fire approximately four aimed shots per minute. In Western tanks with a human loader, the loading process is much faster, only requiring three to five seconds--and the gunner can aim the gun during this process and fire at the target the instant the loader signals readiness. Modern Western tanks can fire twelve to eighteen aimed shots per minute, compared to the four of most Soviet and Russian designs--though, of course, given the smoke and dust on the battlefield, combined with the relatively poor field of view afforded by even the most efficient and modern periscopes or thermal sights, it is generally regarded as unusual for a tank crew to be able to spot four targets in a minute in most tactical situations (though modern sensors such as thermal imaging sights are changing this).
The vast majority of T-72s do not have FLIR thermal imaging sights, though all T-72s (even those exported to the Third World posses the characteristic (and inferior) 'luna' IR illuminator. Thermal imaging sights are extremely expensive, and the new Russian FLIR system, the 'Buran-Catherine Thermal Imaging Suite' was only introduced recently on the T-80UM tank. Most T-72s found outside the former Soviet Union do not have laser rangefinders. And only the most modern Russian tanks incorporate the ballistic computers that have been found in Western tanks since the mid 1970s.
Finally, all Soviet and Russian tanks designed after the Second World War are designed with relatively limited angles of elevation available for the main gun. This is due to the fact that the low profile of the tank and the correspondingly low turret top cause the breech to contact the top of the turret, inhibiting the de-elevation of the gun (this was seen as a reasonable tradeoff for a low profile, though this decision has been reversed with newer versions like the Black Eagle and T-84-120, which would seem to indicate that the original decision was faulty, however the new tanks actually mitigate this problem with very little increase in profile). The main gun can only be depressed very slightly from the horizontal, only a few degrees--which does not sound significant until you recall that in defensive situations, the "hull down" position, with the tank parked just behind the crest of a ridge and just the muzzle of its gun and part of its turret visible to the anticipated target, have been demonstrated to be highly important. Western tanks have considerably more elevation range and can be parked in a "hull down" position with just the gun and a tiny sliver of the turret showing, whereas Soviet designs under most circumstances cannot take up a "hull down" position at all because they cannot depress their guns far enough to park behind a ridge and shoot down the hill.
The Russian T-72 main battle tank was produced at the Malyshev HMB Plant, based in Kharkov, Ukraine and at UKBM Nizhny Tagil, Russian Federation. In addition to production in the USSR it has been built under license in Czechoslovakia, India, Poland and the former Yugoslavia.
The T-72 medium tank is similar in general appearance to the T-64. The T-72 has six large, die-cast, rubber-coated road wheels and three track return rollers. It has a 14-tooth drive sprocket and a single-pin track with rubber-bushed pins.
The T-72 has greater mobility than the T-62. The V-12 diesel engine has an output of 780 hp. This engine appears to be remarkably smoke-free and smooth-running, having eliminated the excessive vibration which was said to cause high crew fatigue in the T-62. Although the engine is larger than that of the T-64, the heavier (41 mt) T-72 is believed to have approximately the same road speed as the T-64. The T-72B1 is powered by a multi-fuel V-12 piston air-cooled 840 hp engine that will run on three fuels: Diesel, Benzene or Kerosene. Two 200-liter auxiliary fuel drums can be fitted on the rear of the hull.
The T-72 has better armor protection than the T-62, due to the use of layered armor and other features of the T-64. The advanced passive armor package of the T-72M and T-72M1 can sustain direct hits from the 105mm gun equipped M1 Abrams at up to 2,000 meter range. The later T-72Ms and T-72M1s are equipped with laser rangefinders ensuring high hit probabilities at ranges of 2,000 meters and below. The turret has conventional cast armor with a maximum thickness of 280-mm, the nose is about 80-mm thick and the glacis is 200-mm thick laminate armor. Besides the PAZ radiation detection system, the T-72 has an antiradiation liner (except on export models) and a collective NBC filtration and overpressure system.
The T-72 employs the same armament, ammunition, and integrated fire control as the T-64. The low, rounded turret mounts a 125mm smooth bore gun with a carousel automatic loader mounted on the floor and rear wall of the turret. The 125mm gun common to all the T-72 models is capable of penetrating the M1 Abrams armour at a range of up to 1,000 meters. The more recent BK-27 HEAT round offers a triple-shaped charge warhead and increased penetration against conventional armors and ERA. The BK-29 round, with a hard penetrator in the nose is designed for use against reactive armor, and as an MP round has fragmentation effects. If the BK-29 HEAT-MP is used, it may substitute for Frag-HE (as with NATO countries) or complement Frag-HE. With three round natures (APFSDS-T, HEAT-MP, ATGMs) in the autoloader vs four, more antitank rounds would available for the higher rate of fire.
|The Russian T-72 Ural tank is the most widely-deployed main battle tank of the current generation. Used by the armies of the former Warsaw pact and Soviet Union, it has also been exported in large numbers to many of the states in the Middle East including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Iran, and has been seen in combat in the Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War and the Yugoslav civil war. Curiously the T-72 was produced parallel with the T-64A tank, and later the T-80, a subject of considerable debate and mystery till now. The T-72 Ural tank was envisaged to be designed and produced as a cheaper, though less effective, partial-alternative to other main battle tanks in the Soviet armoury. Its vulnerability is demonstrated by an analysis of its performance in both the 1982 Syrian-Israeli War and the 1991 Gulf War, the latter in particular showing that the T-72 is no match for the latest Western main battle tanks. It's EDZ reactive armour which, when it first appeared in December 1984, gave NATO a nasty shock.|
Who They Are: Operation: Stitches Of Love was started by the Mothers of two United States Marines stationed in Iraq.
What They Are Doing: We are gathering 12.5"x12.5" quilt squares from across the country and assembling the largest quilt ever produced. When completed we will take the quilt from state to state and gather even more squares.
Why They Are Doing This: We are building this quilt to rally support for the Coalition Forces in Iraq and to show the service members that they are not forgotten. We want the world to know Nothing will ever break the stitches that bind us together as a country.
Ideas to start a local project:
Obtain enough Red, White and Blue material (cloth) for a 12.5 x 12.5 quilt square.
If you have someone in your family that sews, make it a weekend project and invite neighbors to join you.
Consider this tribute as a project for your civic group, scouts, church or townhall group.
Locate an elementary school with an after school program in your neighborhood or locate an after school program in your neighborhood not attached to a school and ask if you could volunteer one or two afternoons and create some squares with the kids.
Invite some VFW posts to share your project in honor of their post.
Send us email@example.com for digital photos of in progress and finished project for various websites, OIFII.com and the media.
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Good Night Snippy. I'm beat tonight.
Me too. I had a great time and lots of laughs, thanks.
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper foxhole.
Treadhead Tuesday Bump for the FOXHOLE
Pilot Mike Melville waves as he sits atop SpaceShipOne as it is towed following his historic flight of the world's first privately funded rocket plane beyond Earth's atmosphere at the Mojave Airport in California, June 21, 2004. SpaceShipOne, designed by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan and funded by billionaire Paul Allen, reached a height of 62 miles making Melville the world's first private astronaut. REUTERS/Mike Blake
An eager fan, or perhaps a Space Groupie.
M82A1 light .50 cal being handled by a Spankentruppen sniper squad...
Wow, (SpaceShipOne) was that not a great event yesterday?? I watched the flight on FOXNEWS.
Thank You for today's Flag-o-gram. Love the lady! :)
On This Day In History
Birthdates which occurred on June 22:
1478 - Philips de Schone, Archduke of Austrian/King of Castilia (Philips I)
1757 George Vancouver, surveyed Pacific coast from SF to Vancouver I
1814 James Henry Lane, MC (Union), died in 1866 [or Jul 28 1833]
1837 Paul Morphy New Orleans, greatest chess player of all time (1857-61)
1856 H Rider Haggard author (King Solomon's Mine, She)
1858 Giacomo Puccini Italy, operatic composer (Madama Butterfly)
1887 Sir Julian Huxley London, biologist/philosopher, Darwin's Bulldog
1896 Francis C Denebrink US Naval officer (WW I, WW II, Korea)
1898 Erich Maria Remarque novelist (All Quiet on the Western Front)
1900 Jennie Tourel [Jennie Davidson], St Petersburg Russia, mezzo-soprano
1903 Carl Hubbell pitcher (NY Giants)-253 wins, 2.97 lifetime ERA
1903 John Dillinger one of America's Most Wanted
1906 Billy Wilder movie director (Some Like It Hot, Apartment, Stalag 17)
1907 Anne Morrow Lindbergh aviator/author (Gift from the Sea)
1920 Paul Frees Chicago Ill, animation voice (Bullwinkle)
1921 Gower Champion choreographer (42nd Street)
1922 Bill Blass Ft Wayne Ind, fashion designer (Nancy Reagan)
1928 Orson Bean Burlington Vt, comedian (I Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth)
1929 Ralph Waite actor (Last Summer, Cool Hand Luke, 5 Easy Piece)
1933 Dianne Feinstein (Senator D-Ca.)
1941 Ed Bradley Phila, CBS news correspondant (60 Minutes)
1947 David L Lander Bkln NY, actor (Squiggy-Laverne & Shirley)
1947 Don Henley drummer/singer (Eagles, Boys of Summer)
1948 "Pistol" Pete Maravich NBA star (Atlanta Hawks)
1948 Todd Rundgren rock singer (Hello it's Me, Bang on the Drum All Day)
1949 Lindsay Wagner LA Ca, actress (Bionic Woman, Paper Chase, Nighthawks)
1949 Meryl Streep NJ, actress (French Lieutenant's Woman, Sophie's Choice)
1954 Freddie Prinze NYC, comedian/actor (Chico & the Man)
Good morning! Happy Heavy Metal Tuesday :)
Be back in a bit, t-storms rolling in at the moment.
After the Iraqi tanks blown to pieces, my favorite one is the one with the anti-aircraft guns on it. :-)