Military Wiki
An upgraded T-72 by ATE South Africa features two conspicuous sights
An upgraded T-72 by ATE South Africa features two conspicuous sights
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1973–present
Production history
Designer Kartsev-Venediktov
Designed 1967–73
Manufacturer Uralvagonzavod
Produced 1971–present
Number built 25,000+

The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1971. It replaced the T-54/55 series as the workhorse of Soviet tank forces (while the T-64 and T-80 served as the Soviet high-technology tanks). In front-line Russian service T-72 are being replaced by T-90, a modernized version of the T-72. In Ukraine, T-72s are being replaced by the T-80 and T-84 MBTs. The T-72 has been exported and produced in many countries.

Current operators

T-72 operators in red.

Hungarian T-72 tanks

  •  Algeria – 500
  •  Angola – 22 T-72M1 bought from Belarus in 1999.[1]
  •  Armenia – 160[2]
  •  Azerbaijan – 542-636 T-72A, T-72B and T-72 Aslan
  •  Belarus – 1,465 T-72B.[3][4]
  •  Bulgaria – 80 T-72M2 and a large number (some 350) in reserve.[5]
  •  Cuba – About 50 Т-72М1 [2]
  •  Czech Republic – 543 inherited from former Czechoslovakia in 1993. 179 T-72 main battle tanks in service as of 1 January 2008.
  •  Djibouti – 42 bought from Yemen.
  •  Ethiopia – 50 bought from Yemen, 200 reportedly ordered from Ukraine in 2011.[6]
  •  Georgia – 50 T-72A and T-72M1 in 2004. 140 T-72A, T-72M1 and T-72B in 2005. 170 T-72M1, T-72B and T-72Sim1 in 2007. Approximately 200 T-72B1 and T-72Sim1 in 2008, 169 Т-72B1 and T-72Sim1 in 2009 and 180 T-72B and T-72Sim1 as of 2011[7]
  •  Hungary – 195 T-72M and T-72M1 in 2009.[2] 15 in active service, 113 in reserve, 77 donated to New Iraqi Army
  •  India – 1,900 T-72M and T-72M1 as of 2008[8]
  •  Iran – 480 T-72M1 and T-72S since 2002.
  •  Iraq – 1000 T-72s, T-72Ms, T-72M1s, Lion of Babylon and Saddam tanks were in service with Iraqi Army in 1990. 375 T-72s, T-72Ms, T-72M1s, Lion of Babylon and Saddam tanks were in service with Iraqi Regular Army in 2003. Only 125 T-72M1 are in service as of 2009 with the new Iraqi Army.
  •  Kazakhstan - 980[9]
  •  Kenya – 77 T-72AV from Ukraine in 2007. 33 delivered in Feb 2009 may bring total to 110.
  •  Kyrgyzstan - 215[10]
  •  Libya – 150 in 2003.[2]
  •  Malaysia -

    PT-91M tank of the Malaysian Army in March 2011

48 PT-91M and 15 support vehicles (6 WZT-4 {WZT-91M} armoured recovery vehicle, 3 MID-M {MID-91M} engineering tank, 5 PMC Leguan {PMC-91M} - armoured vehicle-launched bridge and one SJ-09 driver training tank), ammo, spares and support for $370 million USD.[11] Operating capability since 1.9.2010.[12][13] = 72

  •  Macedonia – 30 T-72A and 1 T-72AK from Ukraine.
  •  Morocco – 136 T-72B and 12 T-72BK from Belarus.[14][15]
  •  Mongolia – 85[16][17]
  •  Burma – 139 T-72S[citation needed]
  •  North Korea – Probably a T-72S was sold to the North Koreans in the early 1990s.[18]
  •  Poland – 586 T-72M1 and T-72M1D[19] (2006, 2007 - 597,[20] 2005 - 644, 2004 - 649 [21] ) and 135 T-72M1Z[19][22] (T-72M1 upgraded to PT-91 standard) (Also 98 PT-91 in service) Plans to withdraw the T-72M1 in 2018.
  •  Russia – 800-1000 Т-72BA with KONTAKT-5, 300 T-72BM "Rogatka", 3000 T-72B with KONTAKT-1 (being upgraded to the level of T-72BM "Rogatka"), 1000 T-72 other modifications (being upgraded to the level of T-72BM "Rogatka"), 4000 in reserve[23]
  •  Slovakia – 33 T-72M1 to be retired at end 2011.[24]
  •  South Sudan – 32 T-72s from the MV Faina as well as 67 T-72s from previous arms shipments.[25]
  •  Sudan - 391 T-72AV which 250 of them where bought from Ukraine and Belarus and some of them are second handed .. and the rest of the tanks where produced locally under license at MIC ( Military Industry Co.operation ).
  •  Syria – 1,600[26]
  •  Tajikistan - 44[27]
  •  Turkmenistan - 702[28]
  •  Uzbekistan – 70[29]
  •  Venezuela – 92 T-72B1. Delivered in 2009-2012, from Russia.[30] In June 2012, Russia and Venezuela agreed on deal for 100 more T-72s.[31]
  •  Vietnam – 480 T-72M1 as of 2005, supplied by Poland.
  •  Yemen – 39 in 2003.[2]

Former operators

Ex-Romanian T-72M.

  •  Czechoslovakia – About 1,700 T-72/T-72M/T-72M1 were produced between 1981 and 1990. The Czechoslovak army had 815 T-72 in 1991. All were passed on to the successor states.
  •  East Germany – 35 T-72 (from USSR), 219 T-72 (from Poland and Czechoslovakia), 31 T-72M (from USSR), 162 T-72M (from Poland and Czechoslovakia) and 136 T-72M1. 75 T-72s were fitted with additional hull armour. Passed on to the unified German state.[32]
  •  Finland – Some 160-170 T-72M1s. About 70 T-72M1s (one armoured brigade) were bought from the Soviet Union and were delivered in 1984, 1985–1988 and 1990. A further 97 T-72M1s (including a small number of command versions T-72M1K and T-72M1K1) were bought from German surplus stocks in 1992-1994. All are now withdrawn from service and have been scrapped or sold as spares to the Czech Republic.[33]
  •  Germany – 549 tanks taken from GDR's army, all scrapped, sold to other countries or given to the museums.
  •  Soviet Union – Passed on to successor states.
  •  Romania – 30 T-72M were bought in 1978 from USSR and delivered in 1979. Withdrawn from service (in long term storage), 28 tanks are for sale (23 of them need repairs and 5 are operational).[34]
  •  Ukraine – 1,180[35] Most retired in favor of T-80 and T-84 some in reserve.
  •  Yugoslavia – Bought approximately 70 T-72s from the USSR, later developed the improved M-84.


Soviet Union and Russian Federation

A T-72M in Polish Army Museum, Poznań

Finnish Army T-72M1 Tank in Parola Tank Museum, Finland.

A T-72M in Polish Army Museum, Poznań, showing the large, evenly-spaced road wheels. The commander's hatch ring is reversed, with the antiaircraft machine gun facing forward and searchlight rearward.

Former Finnish Army T-72M1 Tank in Parola Tank Museum, Finland.

A T-72M in Polish Army Museum, Poznań

A Belorussian T-72B

A T-72M1 at the Yad la-Shiryon Museum.

A Georgian T-72B, covered in reactive armour (Sometimes incorrectly called T-72BV.).

A Belorussian T-72B hauled by an MZKT tractor

Aberdeen museum T-72M

The T-72 was designed and first built in the Soviet Union.

  • T-72 "Ural" (Ob'yekt 172M) (1973)[36] - Original version, armed with 125 mm D-81TM smoothbore tank gun. Unlike the later versions it had the searchlight mounted on left. It also has flipper type armour panels. It had the TPD-2-49 coincidence optical rangefinder sight protruding from its turret.[1][37][38]
    • T-72K - Command version of T-72 "Ural" with an additional R-130M radio. Company command versions were fitted with two R123M/R-173 additional radios and also carried a 10 m telescopic mast. Battalion and regiment command versions were fitted with two R123M/R-173 additional radios and the R-130M that uses the 10 m mast when its erected. In NATO code T-72K was represented by three different designations: T-72K1, T-72K2 and T-72K3 which represented the company command version, battalion command version and regiment command version.[1][38]
    • T-72 (Ob'yekt 172M-E, Ob'yekt 172M-E1) - Soviet export version armed with 125 mm D-81T smoothbore tank gun with 44 rounds. It was sold to Iraq and Syria and was also built in Poland by "Bumar-Łabędy".[37][38]
      • T-72 fitted with a French 155 mm F1 turret for trails in India.[1]
      • T-72 fitted with a British 155 mm Vickers T6 turret for trails in India.[1]
    • Robot-2 - Remote controlled T-72 "Ural".[1]
    • Ob'yekt 172-2M "Buffalo" - Modernization of T-72 made in early 1970s. The angle of the front armour slope was changed to 30 degrees. 100% metal side-skirts protecting sides of the hull, added armour screens protecting the turret, ammo storage was increased to 45 rounds, modified suspension, added smoke grenade launchers, engine's power was boosted to 840 hp (630 kW).[38]
    • T-72 "Ural-1" (Ob'yekt 172M1) (1976)[36] - new 2A46 main gun, new armour on the turret.[38]
    • T-72V - ("V" for vzryvnoi - explosive) unofficial designator for tanks, fitted with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour fitted to hull front and turret.[1]
    • T-72 "Ural" modernization. Large numbers of early T-72 production models were modernized in 1980s. The modernization included placing the search light on the right-hand-side of main armament, blanking off the TPD-2-49 coincidence optical rangefinder and fitting of rubber skirts protecting the tracks instead of the flipper type armor panels.[1]
    • T-72A (Ob'yekt 176) (1979)[36] - An improved version of the basic T-72 "Ural". Overall, its offensive capabilities are similar to the basic T-72 "Ural", but it is much better protected. The differences between T-72 "Ural" and T-72A include the searchlight being placed on the right hand side of turret, the TPD-2-49 coincidence optical rangefinder being replaced by the TPD-K1 laser rangefinder, added plastic armour track skirts covering the upper part of the suspension with separate panels protecting the sides of the fuel and stowage panniers instead of the flipper type armor panels used in T-72 "Ural", the turret front and top being heavily reinforced with composite armour better known by its US codename - "Dolly Parton", provisions for mounting reactive armor, an electronic fire control system, MB smoke grenade launchers, flipper armour mount on front mudguards, internal changes, and a slight weight increase.[1][1][36][38][39]
      • T-72A obr.1979g - Additional glacis armour with thickness of 17 mm of high resistance steel.
      • T-72A obr.1984g - Late production model with anti radiation lining.
      • T-72AK (Ob'yekt 176K) - Command version of T-72A. In NATO code T-72AK was represented by three different designations: T-72AK1, T-72AK2 and T-72AK3 which represented the company command version, battalion command version and regiment command version.[1][36][38]
      • T-72AV - ("V" for vzryvnoi - explosive) model with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour fitted to hull front and turret.[1]
      • T-72M (Ob'yekt 172M-E2, Ob'yekt 172M-E3, Ob'yekt 172M-E4) - Soviet export version, similar to T-72A but with thinner armour and downgraded weapon systems. Also built in Poland and Czechoslovakia[1][40]
        • T-72MK (T-72M(K)) - Export version of T-72AK. It is a command vehicle for battalion commanders and has additional radio equipment including the R-130M radio, AB-1-P/30-M1-U generator and a TNA-3 navigation system. The main external difference is a 10 m telescopic antenna stowed under the rear of the stowage box during travel. An additional antenna base for this telescopic antenna is mounted on the left side of the turret. Because of the additional equipment the number of round for the 125 mm tank gun had to be lowered from 44 to 38. In NATO code T-72MK was represented by three different designations: T-72MK1, T-72MK2 and T-72MK3 which represented the company command version, battalion command version and regiment command version.[1]
        • T-72M1 (Ob'yekt 172M-E5, Ob'yekt 172M-E6) - Soviet export version, with thicker armour and similar to T-72A obr.1979g. It also is fitted with 7+5 smoke grenade dischargers on turret front. (built also in Poland and ex-Czechoslovakia).[40]
          • T-72M1K - Commander's variant with additional radios.[39]
          • T-72M1V - T-72M1 with Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour ("V" for vzryvnoi - explosive).[39]
          • T-72M1M (Ob'yekt 172M-E8) - Soviet export version. It's a T-72M1 upgraded to T-72B standard.[39] It has the Arena Active Protection System.[40]
  • T-72B (Ob'yekt 184) (NATO code: SMT M1988)[39] {1985}[36] (SMT – Soviet Medium Tank) – Much improved version with 1A40-1 fire control system, thicker armour, turret front and top was heavily reinforced with composite armour better known by its US codename "Super Dolly Parton", 20 mm of appliqué armour in the front of hull, 9K120 system which gives T-72B 9M119 "Svir" (NATO code: AT-11 Sniper) laser-guided antitank missile capability, new 2A46M main gun, 1K13-49 sight, stabilization system, and a new V-84-1 engine with 840 hp (626 kW). On early models the smoke dischargers were mounted on the turret front (as per T-72A), later they were grouped on the left side of the turret to prepare for the installation of ERA bricks.
    • T-72BA ERA fitted with 227 "Kontakt-1" ERA bricks to the hull and turret. The glacis plate and turret is covered with a layer of single ERA blocks and the turret's bottom row is mounted horizontally. There's also an ERA array on the sideskirts. They're often incorrectly called T-72BV.[1]
    • T-72BK (Ob'yekt 184K) - Command version of T-72B, recognizable by having multiple radio antennas and a radio mast stowage under rear turret bin.[1][38]
    • T-72S "Shilden" (T-72M1M1,[37] Ob'yekt 172M-E8) - Export version of T-72B with only 155 ERA bricks, simplified NBC system, no anti-radiation lining etc.
    • T-72B1 (Ob'yekt 184-1) - T-72B without ATGM capability and with the T-72A's optics.
      • T-72B1 fitted with "Kontakt-1" ERA. It has eight SGD on left-hand-side of the turret and explosive reactive armour on turret and hull front.
      • T-72B1K (Ob'yekt 184K-1) - Command version of T-72B1.[38]
    • T-72B obr.1989g - T-72B equipped with advanced Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armour, composite armour in sides of turret as well. Often called T-72BM or T-72B(M) but this is not correct. NATO code: SMT M1990.[1][38]
    • T-72B obr.1990g - Additionally fitted with new FCS, cross-wind sensor and sometimes V-92S2 engine.
      • T-72B obr.1990g with an improved commander's cupola with a larger sight.[1]
        • T-90 (Ob'yekt 188[38]) - This is a further development of the T-72, incorporating many features of the heavier, more complex T-80. It was first called T-72BU
    • T-72BM "Rogatka" obr.2006g (Ob'yekt 184M) - Upgrade of T-72B under "Rogatka" programme. First shown at the 2006 Russian Arms Expo, it is upgraded with new fire control system including a gunner's thermal sight, "Nakidka" camouflage kit, new 125 mm 2A46M-5 main gun with muzzle reference system, V-92S2 1,000 hp diesel engine and new "Relikt" 3rd generation explosive reactive armour which is claimed to be twice as effective as Kontakt-5.
    • T-72B3 - Equipped with new fire control system, new ballistic computer to reduce crew firing calculations and improve accuracy, and new thermal sight to provide night/day all weather combat capabilities. First delivered to the 20th Armored Guards Brigade in October 2013, with the unit to receive 150 T-72B3s in total.[41]
  • BMO-T (Boyevaya Mashina Ognemyochikov) - This is a transport vehicle for flamethrower-squads armed with RPO launcher.[1]
  • BMPT (Ob'yekt 199) - Heavy convoy and close tank support vehicle (Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov). All new turret armed with 2 30 mm 2A42 autocannons (500 rounds), 1 boxed 9M133 Kornet ATGM launcher on left-hand-side of weapons mount (4 rounds), AGS-17/30 30 mm grenade launchers and a 7.62 mm PKT MG (2,000 rounds). It be also fitted with either 2 7.62 mm PKT MGs or 30 mm AGS-17/30 as bow weapons and a 902A "Tucha" 81 mm smoke grenade launcher array. Features new fire control system with thermal sights and a ballistic computer and 3rd generation "Relikt" explosive reactive armour and "Kaktus" modular armour. It is equipped with Agat-MR passive and thermal night vision devices, an NBC detection and protection system, a crosswind sensor and parts of the KAZ "Shtora" active protection system. The vehicle can be fitted with either the KMT-8 or the EMT mine clearing system. It also has the engine from T-90A.[1] The term BMP-T that is very often found is not correct.
  • TOS-1 - Large box-type multi-barrel rocket launcher with 30 tubes that replaces turret.[1]
  • TZM-T - Reloading vehicle for the TOS-1 mobile multi-barrel rocket launcher.[1]
  • BREM-1 (Bronirovannaya Remonto-Evakuatsionna Mashina) - Armoured recovery vehicle with a hydraulic crane with capacity of 12 tonnes mounted at the front of the hull on the left side. It also has a main winch with capacity of 25 tons which can be increased to 100 tonnes, auxiliary winch, hydraulically operated dozer/stabilizing blade at the front of the hull, towing equipment and a complete range of tools and recovery equipment.[1]
    • BREM-1M - improved version fitted with one-piece side bin, a more powerful crane and improved recovery tools. The crew can remain inside the vehicle for recovery operations.
  • IMR-2 (Inzhenernaya Mashina Razgrashdeniya) - Combat engineering vehicle (CEV). It has a telescoping crane arm which can lift between 5 and 11 metric tons and utilizes a pincers for uprooting trees. Pivoted at the front of the vehicle is a dozer blade that can be used in a V-configuration or as a straight dozer blade. When not required it is raised clear of the ground.[1] On the vehicle's rear, a mine-clearing system is mounted.
    • IMR-2M1 - Simplified model without the mine-clearing system. Entered service in 1987.
    • IMR-2M2 - Improved version that is better suited for operations in dangerous situations, for example in contaminated areas. It entered service in 1990 and has a modified crane arm with bucket instead off the pincers.
    • IMR-2MA - Latest version with bigger operator's cabin armed with a 12.7 mm machine gun NSV.
      • Klin-1 - Remote controlled IMR-2.[1]
  • MTU-72 (Ob'yekt 632) (Tankovyj Mostoukladchik) - bridge layer based on T-72 chassis. The overall layout and operating method of the system are similar to those of the MTU-20 and MTU bridgelayers. The bridge, when laid, has an overall length of 20 meters. The bridge has a maximum capacity of 50,000 kg, is 3.3 meters wide, and can span a gap of 18 m. By itself, the bridge weighs 6400 kg. The time required to lay the bridge is 3 minutes, and 8 minutes for retrieval.[1]
  • RKhM-7 "Berloga-1" (Razvedivatel’naya Khimicheskaya Mashina) - NBC reconnaissance vehicle without turret and with fixed superstructure.
  • Ob'yekt 327 - Self-propelled 152 mm gun. Prototype only.


  • T-72M2 - upgraded T-72M1 with new night vision and thermal devices, improved armour (up to 650 mm) and anti-radiation cladding, rubber side skirts, C4I and IR suppression coating.[1]


  • M-84D - modern upgrade of the M-84A4 with technology developed for M-95 Degman.
  • M-95 Degman - 3rd generation tank based on the Yugoslav M-91 Vihor prototype.


  • T-72 - A designation used for all unmodified T-72 main battle tanks in service with Cuba.[42]
    • T-72M1 (Not to be confused with Soviet T-72M1) - T-72 equipped with a Chinese radio set instead of the Soviet one and better protection for it against humidity, heat and bumps.[42]
    • T-72M2 (Not to be confused with Slovak T-72M2) - T-72 with steel protection shield in the front of the AA HMG.[42]

Czech Republic

T-72M4 CZ

  • T-72M3 CZ - T-72M3CZ includes the gunner's thermal image sight with two part doors and the tank's commander tall cylindrical thermal image sight. Tank's driver passive IR sight viewer leaves that and Laser range finder and the ballistic calculator make computerized and added internal navigation equipment - this variant was not accepted by the Czech Army in favour of T-72M4CZ.[1]
    • T-72M4 CZ - Added new ERA armour for protection from the HEAT and APFSDS round, additional armour array around turret with flat-face frontal aspect, MB smoke grenade dischargers on each side of turret. The tank is equipped with a new Galileo Avionica TURMS-T computerized FCS (it is equal to the one used in C1 Ariete), power pack was equipped with Perkins CV12-1000 740 kW/1,000 hp water-cooled diesel engine and an Allison XTG-411-6 automatic transmission. All drive train work was taken over by Israel NIMDA and the existing transmission instead of the Allison. Also the weight of the T-72M4CZ grew by 4 tonnes, tank's commander tall cylindrical sight is similar to the one used in French Leclerc MBT. Czech Republic has upgraded 30 tanks to the T-72M4CZ standard.[1]
      • VT-72M4 - Modernized VT-72 (BREM-72) ARV with T-72M4CZ upgrades including the power pack and communications upgrades.[1]

Former East Germany

T-72Ms on Parade in Berlin 1988

FAB 172M driver training vehicle

  • T 72M - This designator was not only used for the standard T-72M, but also for 75 basic T-72s that were upgraded by RWN in 1986. These tanks (Kampfpanzer) were fitted with rubber side skirts, smoke grenade launchers "Tucha" and the additional 16 mm steel plate on the upper glacis plate.[32]
  • T 72M "Übergangsversion" - East-German army designator for 23 late-production T-72Ms from Poland, fitted with the additional hull armour. Delivered in 1986.
  • T 72(K) and T-72(K1) - East-German army designators for command tanks (Führungspanzer).
  • T 72TK - East German designation for VT-72B (BRAM-72B). The vehicle was planned to enter service with NVA in 1990, but only one was actually handed over to IB-9 (Instandsetzungsbatallion 9) at Drögeheide (Torgelow). Two others were still in Grossenhain (Central tank workshop near Dresden) on 3 October 1990. At this place the tanks got fitted with relevant NVA kit and the cranes were tested/certified.[1]
  • BLP 72 (Brückenlegepanzer) - The East-German army had plans to develop a new bridgelayer tank that should have been ready for series production from 1987 but after several difficulties the project was canceled.[43]
  • FAB 172M or FAP 172U (Fahrausbildungspanzer) - Driver training vehicle. Three vehicles were made by using the chassis of the cancelled BLP 72 project.

Former Czechoslovakia

  • T-72M (Ob'yekt 172M-E3) - This model was built under licence by ZTS Martin. In Western sources it is often referred to as T-72G which might be the designator for the version exported to the Middle East. In the late 1980s the tanks produced for the Czechoslovak army and for export as well were fitted with some improvements from the Soviet T-72A programme, including rubber side skirts (instead of "gill armour") and 902B "Tucha" smoke grenade launchers.
  • T-72M1 (Ob'yekt 172M-E5) - This export version of the T-72A was also build by Martin. An external difference with the Soviet original is the reduced number of KMT mounts on the lower glacis plate.
  • VT-72 (BRAM-72) (Vyprošt’ovací Tank) - Czechoslovak armoured recovery vehicle based on T-72 chassis.[44]
    • VT-72B (BRAM-72B) - Czechoslovak ARV based on BREM-1 with dozer blade with prominent rams mounted on the front of the vehicle, hydraulic crane on the right side of vehicle and a large built-up superstructure at the front of the hull with a large tackle block in front of it.[1]


  • T-72 SIM-1 - Increased implementation of K-1 reactive and K-5 passive armor. New FALCON command and control system, GPS navigation system and Polish SKO-1T DRAWA-T fire control system with thermal imager and laser rangefinder (from PT-91 Twardy).[45] It has also a friend-or-foe recognition system.


Ajeya MK2

By the late 1970s, Indian Army HQ had decided to acquire new-generation replacements for its UK-origin fleet of Royal Ordnance Factories-built Centurion and Vickers-built Vijayanta Mk1 MBTs and consequently, paper evaluations concerning the firepower and mobility characteristics of the two principal contenders being offered for full in-country production—AMX-40 developed by GIAT Industries of France, and the Chieftain 800 (which later evolved into the Challenger 1 from Royal Ordnance Factories (then owned by British Aerospace PLC)—were conducted by the Indian Army. Between these two contenders, the Army had by early 1980 zeroed in on the 43-tonne AMX-40 MBT, which was still on the drawing boards and was meant to be powered by a 1,100 hp Poyaud V12X 12-cylinder diesel engine coupled with a LSG-3000 automatic power shift transmission built by RENK Aktiengesellschaft of Germany (offering a power-to-weight ratio of 25.6 hp/tonne, and armed with a 120mm smoothbore cannon. However, AMX-40 has only marginal protection by the standards of 1980'x. After coming back to power, the Indian Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi requested additional evaluation, including MBTs from the USSR, following which the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations (which after 1991 morphed into Oboronexport, then Rosoboronservice and ultimately Rosoboronexport State Corp) made a formal offer to India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) for supplying the 37-tonne T-72M Ob'yekt 172M-E4 MBT off-the-shelf, and according an approval for licenced-production of the 41.5-tonne T-72M-1982 Ob'yekt 172M-E6 to the MoD-owned Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) in Avadi. By early 1981, two T-72Ms—powered by a 780 hp diesel engine, armed with 125mm 2A46M smoothbore gun and offering a power-to-weight ratio of 20 hp/tonne, were subjected to an exhaustive series of in-country firepower and mobility trials by the Army. After review of trial results, T-72M and T-72-1982 (powered by a Model V-84MS four-stroke 12-cylinder multi-fuel engine developing 840 hp and offering a power-to-weight ratio of 18.8 hp/tone) were selected as Army’s future MBTs, and a procurement contract for 2,418 T-72s was subsequently inked.[46]

  • Ajeya MK1 - Indian version of the T-72M1. In parallel with buying various T-72M off-the-shelf from the Soviet Union, India also launched production at a domestic heavy engineering plant in Avadi.[1]
  • Ajeya MK2 - Indian version of the T-72M1 with ERA and banks of 6 smoke grenade-launchers on each side.
  • Combat Improved Ajeya For a rather long time the Indian Army did not intend to modernize its T-72 tanks since it was relying on their own tank project the Arjun. However, the Arjun program had been undergoing difficulties. As a result they adopted the Operation Rhino plan aimed at re-equipping 1,500 T-72M1 tanks. The upgrade program provides for installation of a Polish SKO-1T DRAWA-T fire control systems/thermal imagers supplied by the Polish PCO/Cenzin (from PT-91 Twardy), DRDO explosive reactive armour, a navigation system from Israel's Tamam, German Litef or South African RDI, a locally developed laser illumination warning system, new radios manufactured by Tadiran or GES Marconi and an improved NBC protection system will be fitted. The tank is planned to be powered by a 1,000 hp (750 kW) S-1000 engine made by the Polish firm PZL-Wola (also from PT-91 Twardy). It is also upgraded with new fire detection and suppression systems and laser warning systems on either side of the turret. Indian sources often say that 1800-2,000 T-72M1 tanks will be upgraded top to bottom while the rest will undergo only partial improvement.[1]
  • Tank EX - Indian integration of the Arjun turret onto the T-72 hull, Prototype only.

T-72 Asad Babil abandoned near Baghdad, April 2003


  • T-72 Lion of Babylon (Asad Babil) - Iraqi-assembled version of the T-72M1
  • Saddam - T-72M modified by Iraq to suit local conditions. Some of the suspension shock absorbers were removed and a searchlight on right-hand-side of main armament was added.[1]


PT-91 "Twardy".


  • T-72M (Ob'yekt 172M-E3) - This model was built under licence by "Bumar-Łabędy" in Gliwice. In Western sources the T-72M is often referred to as T-72G which might be the designator for the Middle East export version. Like Soviet tanks, the Polish T-72M was initially fitted with "gill armour"; later the tanks were upgraded with rubber side skirts and "Tucha" smoke grenade launchers. Late production models have the additional 16 mm steel plate welded on the upper glacis plate, like the T-72M1.
  • T-72M1 (Ob'yekt 172M-E5) - This export version of the T-72A was also build under licence in Poland. An external difference with the Soviet original is the reduced number of KMT mounts on the lower glacis plate.
    • T-72M1D - Polish designation for T-72M1K.[36]
    • T-72M1Z - (Z stands for Zmodernizowany - modernized) T-72M1 upgraded to PT-91 standard.
  • Jaguar - When Polish T-72 production started in 1978, the Poles considered upgrading them and the first T-72 upgrade program was launched by the Institute of Armament and Equipment of the Polish Army in 1982. The project was codenamed Jaguar since that was the designation under which Soviet Union handed a set of plans over to Poland. The Jaguar never left the conceptual design phase.[1]
  • T-72 "Wilk" - In 1986, the Polish T-72 Wilk project was instituted to allow the tank repair plants to upgrade T-72 tanks at their own facilities. In particular, it was proposed that the Soviet-made Volna fire control system be replaced by the Czechoslovak-made Kladivo FCS or by the Polish Mérida, both originally designed for T-55AM "Merida". Beside the new FCS, the Radomka illumination-free night vision devices were installed in the driver's compartment, as were the LIS-Varta night sight, Obra laser illumination warning system, Tellur anti-laser smoke dischargers, solid or sectionalized metal side skirts and the Polish-developed Erawa-1 or Erawa-2 explosive reactive armour were also fitted. It was further developed as PT-91.
  • PZA Loara - SPAAG prototype based on T-72 chassis.[1]
    • PZA Loara-A - SPAAG based on PT-91 chassis.[1]
  • SJ-09 - Polish driver training vehicle. The turret has been replaced by a flat-plate cabin with dummy gun barrel.
  • WZT-3 - ARV based on T-72M.[1]
    • WZT-3M - WZT-3 based on PT-91 Twardy.


  • TR-125 - Romanian tank based on T-72 with extra armour, modified suspension and more powerful diesel engine.


Serbian upgraded T-72 featuring reactive armour

  • M-84AS - An M-84A tank modernized to T-90 level by Yugoimport SDPR.
  • M-84AI - Armoured recovery vehicle created from the chassis of a M-84A. Completed with the help of Polish experts, resulting in a vehicle similar to the WTZ-3. Standard equipment includes: A TD-50 crane, front-mounted stabilizing dozer blade, main and secondary winches.
  • Yugoimport T-72 modernization package - Upgraded engine, communication gear and ERA.


  • T-72M1A - T-72M1 upgraded with suspension of the driver's seat from hull roof, DSM 16.1 engine monitoring system, ERA armour package around the turret with a flat front section, fire detection and suppression system, improved transmission, improved hull floor protection, laser Detection Warning System, modified electrical harness, PNK-72 driver's night sight, SGS-72A commanders stabilized passive sight, gunner's sight with a large head with two section door, S12U diesel engine, Slovenian EFCS3-72A fire control system and MB smoke grenade dischargers on the each side of the turret. It also has two external sensor rod mounts on turret roof.[1]
  • T-72M2 - Slovak modernisation. Development was completed but without any order for tank fleet modernisation.
  • VT-72C - Improved VT-72B produced since 1999 for India. It is fitted with a more powerful Polish S-12U diesel engine and has a modified interior.[1]
  • VT-72Ž - Combat engineer tank. Similar to the VT-72B but with a modified telescopic arm with bucket.
  • MT-72 - Slovakian scissors-type bridge based on T-72 chassis. When deployed the bridge is 20 m long and will span a gap of 18 m. It is capable of carrying loads of up to 50 tonnes.[1]
  • ShKH 2000 "Zuzana" (Zuzanne) - A 155 mm (45 calibers) version (the first prototype of which was completed by ZTS in December 1992) of the Dana 152 mm self-propelled gun-howitzer installed on a modified T-72M1 chassis.[1]


  • M-84 - Indigenous design based on the T-72M but with several upgrades.
  • M-84A - Improved version based on the T-72M1, with new SUV-M-84 computerized fire-control system, including the DNNS-2 gunner's day/night sight, with independent stabilization in two planes and integral Laser rangefinder. Other upgrades include a stronger 1000 hp engine.
    • M-84AK - Command version of M-84A fitted with land navigation equipment.
  • M-84AB - Export version of M-84A. About 150 were exported to Kuwait.
    • M-84ABK - Command version of M-84AB fitted with land navigation equipment.
    • M-84ABN - Navigation version of M-84AB fitted with extensive communication equipments, land navigation equipment, and a generator for the command role.

South Africa

  • T-72 "Tiger" - The modernization package from LIW includes two large sights installed on the front of the turret.[1]


  • T-72MP - modernization package for the T-72 by Ukrainian company KMDB, including improved engine, armour and fire control with sights SAVAN 15MP (gunner) and SAGEM VS (commander). The upgrade is built in co-operation with Sagem of France, and PSP Bohemia of the Czech Republic.[47]
  • T-72AM "Banan" - Ukrainian T-72A upgrade covered extensively with early generation "Kontakt-1" ERA tiles (V-shaped array around sides of turret and an array on sideskirts). It also has 6TD-1 or 6TD-2 diesel engine (1250 hp) from the T-84 and additional smoke grenade launchers.[1][39]
  • T-72AG - KMDB modernization package with components from the T-80UD, including improved engine 6TD-1, "Kontakt-5" armour, fire control system with TKN-4S and 1G46 sights, and main armament.[48]
    • T-72AMG - As T-72AG but retains the original engine.
  • T-72-120 - KMDB modernization package, including an auto-loaded main gun KBM2 capable of firing NATO 120 mm ammunition or ATGM.[49]
  • T-72E - Upgraded version of the T-72B ("E" stands for "Export") showed at IDEX 2011 and developed together with the T-64E. The hull front and sides are protected by Kontakt-1 ERA boxes, while the turret front, sides (sides' frontal part) and top is homogeneously protected by "Nozh" armor. The engine is upgraded, it is an 5TDFMA-1 multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 1050 hp. The tank features also air conditioning, day-and-night sighting system with integrated laser rangefinder and ATGM capability. The weight is 42.7 t, giving the tank a power/weight ratio of 24,6 hp/t.
  • BMT-72 - Ukrainian T-72 upgrade. The unique compact design of the Ukrainian-developed BMT-72 power pack, based on that of the T-84, made it possible not only to considerably increase the power capabilities of the vehicle, but also to introduce into the vehicle design a troop compartment. The troop compartment is located between the fighting compartment and the power pack compartment. In the troop compartment roof there is a set of three hatches in slightly raised portion of the hull roof behind turret that allow the troops to get in or dismount the vehicle. There are also steps on the end of each catwalk at rear of vehicle. The main visual difference between BMT-72 and T-72 is a seventh pair of roadwheels.[1][50]
  • BTS-5B - Ukrainian version of the BREM-1.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 "JED The Military Equipment Directory"[unreliable source?] (registration required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 ""
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  4. The BS-Fusion Security System stopped the current process
  5. Modernization plan of the Bulgarian military
  6. Ukraine sells 200 tanks to Ethiopia
  8. Indian Army Equipment at
  9. Kazakh Army Equipment
  10. Kyrgyz Army Equipment
  11. Nowa Technika Wojskowa - October 2005 page 9 - Pierwsza prezentacja "Malaja" - by Andrzej Kliński
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  13. "Ulang Tahun Kor Armor Diraja ke 58". YouTube. 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  14. 1999: 30 T-72B 2000: 58 T-72B & 12 T-72BK
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