Armored squads of the Central Military Region of the Russian Army recently conducted exercises testing the operational capabilities of the upgraded T-72B3M tanks. The Russian military participated in these exercises that took place in the outskirts of Chelyabinsk city. This test was attended several teams of armored forces, artillery and reconnaissance and monitoring forces in the Russian army, and these forces simulated a process in which the virtual enemy sites were monitored so that these sites could be subjected to missile and artillery attack from a distance of 12 km. After the completion of the artillery boot operations, Russian armored corps entered enemy positions supported by the modern developed T-72B3M tanks and clashed with enemy forces in a virtual battle.
The crews fired on the move and from shelters at targets located at a distance of up to 2 thousand meters from a 125-mm gun equipped with a Sosna-U multi-channel sight, which reduces the time for target detection and hitting. The gunner is equipped with the Sosna-U sighting system paired with the 1A40-4 fire-control system which provides the gunner with day and thermal sight, as well as capabilities of using laser guided ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile). The Sosna-U is a multi-channel thermal imaging gunner sight which includes second-generation thermal imaging camera with features of 8-12 microns.
T-72B3M, also referred to as T-72B4, is an upgraded variant of the T-72B3 main battle tank (MBT) developed by Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation. The layout of the T-72B3M is identical to that of the standard T-72 with driver’s cab at forward hull, fighting compartment in the centre and the power-pack at the rear. The T-72B3M will be comparable to the more advanced T-90, but with much lower costs. The tank has a crew of three, with the driver is seated at the front center of the hull. The other two crew members are seated in the turret, with the gunner on the left and the commander on the right. The T-72B3M is protected with the new Relikt explosive reactive armor. It will replace the old Kontakt-5 system and is expected to be two times more effective. The side skirts are now T-90 style, including the large flat ERA modules.
Main armament of the T72B3M / T-72B4 consists of one 2A46M5 125-mm smoothbore gun which is a modernized variant of the standard 2A46M cannon, also known as the D-81TM. This gun system features reduced recoil and an stabilized gun mount. The cannon can also fire 9M119 Refleks (NATO designation AT-11 Sniper) anti-tank guided missile system. The range of the missile is 100m to 4,000m and takes 11.7 sec to reach maximum range. The system is intended to engage tanks fitted with ERA (explosive reactive armour) as well as low-flying air targets such as helicopters, at a range of up to 5 km.