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Soviet Army T-72B m.1984

T-72B: Medium Tank


Main gun: 125mm 2A46M
Ammunition Stowage: 22 ready/22 stowed
Default Ammunition "A" (T-72B m.1985): 7/7 3BM32 APFSDS-T, 2/2 3BK21B HEAT-T, 11/11 OF-26 HEF-T, 2/2 AT-11 'Sniper/Refleks' ATGM
Default Ammunition "A" (T-72B m.1984): 7/7 3BM26 APFSDS-T, 2/2 3BK18M HEAT-T, 11/11 OF-26 HEF-T, 2/2 AT-11 'Sniper/Refleks' ATGM

Coaxial machine gun: 7.62mm PKT
Ammunition Stowage: 250 ready/1500 stowed
Default Ammunition: 250/1500 7.62x54mm

AAMG: 12.7mm NSVT
Ammunition Stowage: 60 ready/180 stowed
Default Ammunition: 60/120 12.7mm B-32 AP

Grenade Dischargers: 8x81mm 902V "Tucha"
Ammunition Stowage: 8 ready (individual grenades, 4 in each left/right salvo)/0 stowed
Default Ammunition: 4/0 x 2 3D6 Smoke

Armor protection:
Frontal Turret Armor: ~520mm vs KE, ~600mm vs HEAT
Frontal Hull Armor: 280mm-730mm vs KE, 340mm-850mm vs HEAT
(SB documentation)


Combat Weight: 44.5 tonnes
Length: 6.86m (Hull)
Width: 3.46m
Height 2.2m to turret roof
Engine: 840hp V84-1 V12 diesel
Top Speed: 60kph


The T-72B is an 1985 improvement of the T-72A, with new thickened front turret armor containing "BDD" (a NERA [Non-Explosive Reactive Armor] type armor array) giving it the US intelligence codename "Super Dolly Parton" and a thickened hull glacis array (+20mm eRHA). Entering serial production in 1988, it incorporates the 1K13-49 sight and guidance system in place of the TPN-1-49-23, allowing it to utilize the laser-guided 9K120 SVIR ATGM round. Armed with the 2A46M gun, this offers improved barrel life and less round to round dispersion compared to the 2A46 on the T-72A, and a more powerful engine has been fitted to cope with the increased weight. Distinguishing features is the thicker front turret, smoke grenade launchers on the left of the turret, snorkel on the rear, and an additional stowage bin on the left of the turret. Minor additional details include rubberized front fenders and the addition of borated polyethylene anti-radiation cladding to the turret exterior.

In Steel Beast Pro PE the T-72B is modeled in four versions: the initial T-72B m.1984 lacking reactive armor and fielded in limited numbers; the standard T-72B m.1985 (T-72BA) equipped with the Kontact-1 reactive armor suite; the T-72B1 m.1984 which lacks both reactive armor and the 1K13-49 sight, thereby removing its missile firing capability; and the T-72B1 m.1985 (T-72B1V) which shares fire control with the m.1984 but carries the reactive armor suite, reduced stowed ammunition in the fighting compartment, and sand filled external fuel tanks to increase vehicle survivability. Both versions of the T-72B1 are fully crewable and modeled.

Note that the fielding of two different models of T-72B results from Soviet doctrine involving the role of gun-launched ATGMs. As missiles such as the AT-11 are intended for use against enemy attack helicopters and ATGM platforms rather than enemy tanks, their use is restricted to command elements only. For scenario designers this means that a typical Soviet tank company (ten tanks) only has four tanks capable of firing the AT-11: the company commander (T-72BK) and each platoon leader (T-72B x 3) while the rest of the company use the T-72B1. To replicate this, scenario designers should divide existing T-72B platoons in the Mission Editor, change the wing tanks to T-72B1, and recombine the platoons.

The T-72B has formed the bulk of Russian armored formations since the mid 1990s, and various modernization programs underway will keep this model in service for at least another decade. Only recently available for export, T-72B and B1 models (along with the export only T-72S) are in service with nearly a dozen other nations including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Morocco, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Beginning with revision 4.156 both the T-72B m.1984 and m.1985 may be equipped with the Diehl Active Vehicle Protection System (AVePS) to enhance protection against RPG and ATGM threats.

T-72B external characteristics

Thermal Signature

T-72B m.1985, front-right T-72B m.1985, rear-left

T-72B m.1984, front-right T-72B m.1984, rear-left

Auto-loader Mechanism

T-72 auto-loader

The T-72 auto-loader differs from the T-64 and T-80 basket auto-loader, in that it has both propellant and projectile stored horizontally. The carousel is in turn covered by the turret floor and a steel loading gate, reducing the chance of loaded rounds detonating from fire or spall, unlike the exposed upright charges on the T-64 and T-80.

The carousel rotation is limited to 1 direction only. In normal operation, the cassette loader takes 6 seconds to load a round. However, it can take up to 15 seconds to load a round if the round desired is a 355 degree turn of the carousel away.

There have been rumors that the auto-loader has eaten the hands of gunners, and fed them into the main gun breech, but this is impossible as the gunner would have to put his hand into the breech, after pushing the gun load button. Most likely, the source of this urban legend goes back the the very first auto-loader models that were integrated into the T-62 as well as the unprotected hydraulic loading mechanism of the BMP-1 where a uniform could get snagged with moving parts and result in injuries.

In the case of an auto-loader failure, the TC has 2 manual cranks, one of which is attached to a bicycle chain, to rotate the carousel, and hoist the ammunition elevator. However, this is painstakingly slow, taking over 1 minute to complete the loading of a single round. Fortunately the auto-loader is very simple, and extremely reliable.