The AS1 and AS2 are significantly modernized versions of the Serbian M-84 main battle tank.
The M-84 is a powerful variant of the famous T-72 main battle tank, produced in the former Yugoslavia since the 1980s. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, the M-84 continued to serve in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Kuwait. In Serbia, about 212 are still serving as the core of the country’s Army, deployed in tank battalions of the four Army brigades.
The M-84 has undergone several modernizations to meet the requirements of modern warfare. The AS1 and AS2 are significantly modernized versions of the Serbian M-84 main battle tank. The first version designated as M-84AS1 was introduced in 2017. Later version features numerous improvements and were presented in 2020 and 2021. The AS1 and AS2 incorporate newly domestically developed modular explosive reactive armour, a modern battlefield management and fire-control system, a remote controlled weapon station and other updates. A total of 21 subsystems are updated with modern solutions.
Domestic first-generation explosive reactive armour was applied(comparable to Kontakt-5), covering a bigger area of the front turret and a sizeable portion of the front plate, providing better protection. The back of the hull and turret is further fitted with cage armour while armour plates attached to the frontal hull remained.
Although these changes were an improvement over the previous M-84, this design still had major flaws, especially when it comes to protection. It was criticized for the low reactive armor coverage, bad sensor placements and low situational awareness. The weaknesses of this initial version were recognized and further development of the modernization package commenced. The result was a revised M-84AS1 which was presented in 2020. In this version, the turret and hull are almost completely covered with domestic second-generation explosive reactive armour M19, providing increased protection from modern threats like top-attack or tandem-charge missles according to the designers.
The tank is fitted with the 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun and a 1,200 hp diesel engine giving a maximum speed of 72 km/h. M-84AS1 is integrated day-night sighting system with a thermal imager, a command information system, a soft-kill active protection system, a new radio system, a Remote-controlled Weapons Station with 12.7 mm machine gun, and CBRN protection equipment.
Improvements on the Serbian M-84 are considered superior to some of the other current modernization programs developed for the T-72. While basic armour of some T-72 versions is better than basic armour of M-84, additional newer and better placed modular Explosive Reactive Armour will provide better cover, and new systems will provide much better additional situation awareness with better gun and ammunition. In terms of protection, it is often considered even better than its Russian T-72B3 counterpart.