The T-72M2 Moderna Tank Development
The Russian T-72M Tank was the export version of the Russian Armies T-72A. The T-72M lacked the composite armour and other systems of the T-72A. The T-72M was sold to Russian Allies and manufactured under licence in WARSAW countries such as the former Czechoslovakia, as was the later improved version, the T-72M1.
Since the ending of the WARSAW Pact, a number of former member countries still operating the T-72M/T-72M1 have developed upgraded versions of the tank as a cheaper option than importing new tanks, for both modernization of their own T-72 and for the export market.
Slovakia, which was part of the former Czechoslovakia, is one such country. Developedby ZTS Tees Martin in the early to mid-90’s it focused on improved armor, improved electrical systems, greater mobility and improved firepower.
The T-72M2 Moderna Tank Status
A small number of prototypes were built for trials, but the upgrade package was never bought by the Slovakian Army nor any export orders received.
The vehicle was fitted DYNA explosive reactive armor across the front and sides of its hull as well as turret front and top. Some prototypes were also seen BAR armor.
The vehicle was fitted with a laser designation warner to alert the crew if they were being targeted by an enemy laser range finder, which could activate the Smoke Grenade Launchers to obscure the tank.
The fighting compartment was also fitted with a new fire suppression system.
The tank was also fitted with a modernised version of the standard Russian 125mm smoothbore and autoloader.
The vehicle had the interesting addition of the Oerlikon Contraves 20mm Chain Gun. Fitted in a mount at the rear of the turret it gave the added bonus of increased elevation to engage elevated targets such as aircraft or fighting in urban areas.
The vehicle was built with just x1 20mm chain gun and the “Moderna” version with x2 (one either side of the turret). They would be aimed just like the main gun, by traversing the turret.
The Fire Control System was over hauled with imported Western technology, a new ballistic computer, sensors, gunners sight and the addition of a Commanders Independent Sight giving the vehicle a hunter killer capability bringing it up to a 3rd generation Main Battle Tank standard.
The original engine was replaced with a more powerful 850hp S12U turbocharged diesel, giving better power to weight ratio and overall improved cross country capability.
The T-72M2 Moderna Specifications
Firepower: 125mm smoothbore Main Gun, 7.62mm Coaxial MG, 20mm Chain Gun
Ammo Storage: x37 125mm
Length Gun Forward: 9.8m
Length Hull: 6.95m
Weight: 43+ tonne (Combat)
Engine: 850hp S12U turbocharged diesel
Top Road Speed: 60+ km/h
Operational Range: 480km
Fording: 1.8m (5m with preperation)
Vertical Obstacle: 0.85m
Side Slope: 40%