The Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) plans to upgrade its fleet of T-72M4 CZ main battle tanks (MBTs) in order to retain their operational effectiveness until 2025. The T-72M4 CZ is an upgraded Czech version of the Soviet-made main battle tank T-72. The upgraded battle tank T-72M4 CZ is an armoured, tracked vehicle with high manoeuverability and heavy-terrain passability. Plans call for modernising the MBT’s primary weapon system, including upgrading the Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System (TURMS-T) fire-control system (FCS), in particular the replacement of the Attila thermal camera, which is considered to be obsolete. The original Russian-designed tank T-72 of the 2nd generation has been completely modernised to the level of its 3rd generation variants. In addition to other major improvements of the tank, the 3-man crew is now better protected against enemy fire, the effects of blast, radiation and chemical agents.
In 1979-80 the then Czechoslovakia commenced licensed production of the Russian T-72 with ZTS Martin undertaking production of the complete chassis and ZTS Dubnica’ nad Vahom responsible for the complete T-72 turret. It entered service with the Czechoslovakian army in 1981. After the dissolution of the Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s upgrade programs were developed both in Czech Republic and Slovakia to keep their fleets of T-72 MBTs operational and combat capable. In the 1990s Czech MoD issued request for a substantial modernization program of the ageing T-72 tanks. The upgrading of thirty tanks was made under a contract between MoD and VOP 025, Novy Jicin, Czech Republic, concluded in 2001 in a value reaching 4 bn CZK. The upgrade was a joint venture between Nimda, Finmeccanica – Selex Galileo of Italy and Vop Cz (VOP25). The upgrade consist of a new powerpack in the form of Perkins Condor CV 12, Allison XTG-411-6N automatic transmission and Selex Galileo TURMS/T Fire Control System. The navigation system was upgraded with NBV-97, which was developed by LeteckÃ© PÅ™Ãstroje Praha SRO and a new communications suite has been added. For protection, a new ERA is called DYNA, meaning DYNamic Armour developed in Czech was added along with full NBC protection and a fire detection and suppression system by German company Kidde Deugra.
The T-72M4 has improved armor protection. The tank is fitted with composite armor and new Polish DYNA explosive reactive armor. It provides protection against HEAT, APFSDS and HESH rounds. The T-72M4 is fitted with mine protection system, that neutralizes mines with magnetic fuse. This tank is fitted with new German automatic fire suppression system. It also has new NBC protection system. Upgraded tanks are fitted with laser warning system. It detects once the vehicle is illuminated by a laser beam and identifies direction of the threat. Then smoke grenades can be discharged to hide the tank. . The main armament is a 125 mm gun 2A46M. The crew comprises a gunner, driver and commander. Maximum speed on the road is 61 km/h, and in terrain 44 km/h. The original Czech Army requirement was for 355 upgraded T-72M1 series MBTs but this number has now been reduced to around 250 units. The ACR currently fields 30 T-72M4 CZ MBTs, with another five held in storage. This tank is comparable with third generation MBT.