On Monday, the Serbian Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces unveiled a new generation of M-84 main battle tanks that will be designated as M-84 AS1 at the “Čačak” Technical Overhaul Institute. After the presentation, Minister Vulin pointed out that the Serbian Armed Forces are certainly a regional tank force and one of the most powerful tank nations in the whole of Europe. According to him, the Serbian Armed Forces are being modernized, equipped, strengthened and all their segments deserve equal attention. In the previous years, the Serbian Minister of Defence paid special attention to Serbian Air Force and Air Defence, but now it is Serbian Army’s turn.
The M-84 is a Yugoslav third generation main battle tank, a variant of the Soviet T-72. The M-84 is still in service in Serbia, Kuwait, Croatia, Slovenia and other countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina use a minimal number. The M-84 modernization began in 1991 and was never completed. This is the first time that a modernization of M-84 is being completed, this is its first phase and Serbian Armed Forces will continue to improve Serbian Army field strength and our armoured units’ capabilities. Having in mind the potentials of the M-84 tank platform, the Serbian Armed Forces will carry out the modernization of this tank in two stages, eight subsystems in the first stage and another 12 in the second.
First of all, improvements have been made in the protection of tanks from all types of current threats – modern anti-tank missiles, modern tandem cumulative anti-armour missiles and the so-called “top attack” ammunition. This is the main segment at this stage. Also, the M-84 have improved the situational awareness of all crew members, especially the commander’s, with his 360-degree surveillance system and a remote-controlled combat station that has a special fire-control system and thermal imaging camera and allows the commander to operate successfully in specific situations, in ambushes, in a populated area, etc.
The “Čačak” Technical Overhaul Institute employs its capacities and transfers the experiences acquired during the maintenance of these assets. By carrying out this task, the Institute modernizes its capacities and equipment and assists the Military Technical Institute in performing the modernization. The tank’s armoured and optoelectronic protection, new caterpillars and gun barrel have been modernized, and the complete digitization of the commander’s, gunman’s and driver’s positions has been implemented. It is important for the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces that, by investing in the capacities of the Institute, rationality and autonomy of further maintenance of this asset during its life cycle is achieved.