Serbia has received another 30 T-72B1MS main battle tanks and 30 of BRDM-2MS amphibious armored vehicles from Russia. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, and Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff General Milan Mojsilović attended the handover of T-72MS tanks and BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicles donated to Serbia by the Russian Federation at the “Mija Stanimirović” barracks in Niš. The latest batch of vehicles, which were handed over in conjunction with the Serbian-Russian exercise Joint Response 2021.
The T-72MS tank dubbed “White Eagle”, is an upgraded variant of the T-72 tank. The tank was upgraded at Russia’s 61st Armoured Overhaul Institute (BTRZ). The T-72MS tank weighs 44.5 tons with the maximum speed of 60 km/h. It is fitted with a 125mm gun and a 42-projectile combat set, a 7.62mm PKT machine gun with a 2,000-round combat set and a 12.7mm KORD machine gun with a 600-round combat set. In addition to Serbia, Russia donated the T-72B1MS version of the tanks to Laos and Nicaragua.
The T-72B1MS brings basic explosive reactive armor, new thermal gunner’s and commander’s sights, and some small ergonomic improvements versus Serbia’s legacy M-84As. The explosive reactive armor isn’t as good as the T-72B3 and T-90A, so it is likely meant to perform only against light anti-tank weapons like RPGs and early ATGMs. While Serbia has developed the M-84AS variant individually, the Serbian government appears to have opted to buy Russian tanks rather than continue independent development and procurement of M-84AS.
The BRDM-2MS is an upgraded version of the Soviet-made BRDM-2, a 4×4 wheeled reconnaissance armored vehicle that was unveiled for the first time to the public in 1966. The BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicle is intended for reconnaissance in all combat operations and for all types of reconnaissance on land and water. In addition, it can be used as covering force, combat with enemy covering force, for transporting messengers and liaison officers, as a means of communication, as a command vehicle, and for attacking enemy landing force.
By equipping the Serbian Armed Forces reconnaissance units with the BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicles, the ability to observe, aim and fire at night has been improved. The BRDM-2MS armoured reconnaissance vehicle is equipped with a thermal imaging camera that allows spotting targets at a distance of 3.5 km, and recognition at 2 km. The vehicle has a two-plane stabilized turret and can successfully hit targets even while on the move.