The T-72B3, like its predecessor, has a low profile that makes the vehicle more stable at high speeds.

Record of T-72B3 at Tank biathlon 2019

At Tank biathlon 2019, the Russian team has set a new record with the T-72B3 tank conducted in field conditions up to 85km/h. This was an unprecedented record for modern main battle tanks in the world. The powerful maneuverability in the field of this Russian tank has also received high praise from international military experts.

To achieve such astonishing records, it was due to the design philosophy and strategy of using tanks of the former Soviet Red Army and today’s Russian army.

T-72B3
T-72B3

Russian tank design philosophy

In the second world war, to deal with the powerful Nazi tanks, but slowly, the Soviet Union developed two lines of tanks simultaneously. The heavy tank, strong firepower for tank combat mission. The remaining tank line, highly maneuverable, easy to build and repair to quickly compensate for damage in combat. This thinking has been reflected in the design direction of the T-34 medium tank and the KV heavy tank.

Combat practice proved, although the T-34 tank did not have thick armor or had more firepower than the Nazi German Panther, Tiger or King Tiger tanks. In return, the T-34 was more maneuverable and flexible in combat, using the speed to close to fire on weak points and won.

This thinking continued to be applied by the Soviet Union to the later generations of tanks such as the T-54 and the IS-7; T-62 and T-64; T-72 and T-80. In particular, the T-72 tank is considered a very successful design.

T-72 Tank

T-72 tanks have been in service with the Soviet army since 1973. By the early 1990s, a total of nearly 20,000 T-72s were produced in the Soviet Union and many other countries. This tank line was licensed by the Soviet Union to manufacture and assemble in the Czechoslovak Union, India, Romania and the Yugoslav Union. Variations of the T-72 tank have been exported to more than 30 countries.

Compared with the American and European tanks of its era, the T-72 was more compact and maneuverable. The powerful 125mm main gun helps the T-72 tank, although weighing only about 41 tons, still powerful enough to defeat other modern tanks.

T-72B3 tank Engine

The T-72B3, like its predecessor, has a low profile that makes the vehicle more stable at high speeds. Its goal was to use firepower and maneuverability to make up for its lack of armor.

In the T-72B3 version, the Russian tank is equipped with a turbocharged V-84-1 diesel engine with a capacity of 840 horsepower, reaching a power-to-weight ratio of 1/19. This ratio is combined with an 8-speed, 7 forward and 1 reverse automatic transmission system. In addition, the optimized suspension system for operation in complex terrain makes the T-72B3 really like a racing car.

The torsion bar suspension of T-72B3 each side consists of six roadwheels with the idler at the front, drive sprocket at the rear and three return rollers supporting the inside of the track only. Shock-absorbers are fitted at the first, second and sixth roadwheel stations. The T-72B3 can climb 60% gradient and traverse a side slope of up to 40% fully loaded. The tank can ford hard bottom water crossing up to 1.2 m without a deep water fording kit and up to 5 m with the kit. It can also climb a vertical obstacle of 0.85 m maximum and cross a trench up to 2.8 m.

In the latest upgraded version, the T-72B3 mod 2017, the engine has been replaced by a 1,130 horsepower V-92S2F engine, making the tank more maneuverable and reaching higher speeds.

Fire Power of T-72B3

Not only maneuverable, the T-72B3 also significantly improved firepower and armor compared to its predecessor. Although still using the 125mm main gun, the T-72B3 is able to use the new generation shells that were used in the T-90 line. Most notably, the anti-tank missiles fired through the main gun barrel such as 9M119 Svir or 9M119M Refleks, which help to extend the range up to 5-6km.

To improve combat efficiency, the T-72B3 is also equipped with a panoramic Sosna-U support system that allows commander and gunner to cooperate in combat conditions, regardless of day and night.

In terms of protective armor, the T-72B3 is reinforced with an explosive-reactive Kontakt-5 armor, which enhances survivability.

In general, the T-72B3 tank can be considered a worthy successor of the Soviet legacy. Combines high maneuverability with new upgrades, to suit modern combat environments.

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