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Belarusian army receives modernised T-72B3M MBTs

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T-72 monument in its production place, Nizhny Tagil. A file photo.

MINSK (TASS-DEFENCE): The first modernised T-72B3M main battle tanks have entered service with the Belarusian army, Belarusian VoenTV TV company reported.

"Today the combat vehicles have been solemnly handed over to the personnel of the 969th Tank Reserve Base," the report said.

The event was attended by Belarusian Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Andrei Ravkov, representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces, as well as the Russian delegation from the Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation.

According to the TV channel, the upgraded T-72B3Ms are equipped with a more powerful 1,130-hp engine and an improved armament mix. Among other changes made to the vehicle are its armour reinforced with side screens of the hull with a removable modular armour kit.

"The new guided weapon system guarantees a high probability of destroying the target at the halt and on the move to a range of up to five kilometers, while the addition of an automatic target tracker has simplified the gunner’s job when firing from the move and against moving targets," the military noted.

Also, the tank has received a new 125-mm gun with longer barrel life, a new VHF radio station R-168-25U-2 Akveduk, new fire-fighting equipment and a new Belarusian-made multi-channel gunner sight Sosna-U.

In addition, the vehicle is equipped with a digital ballistic computer with a set of environmental sensors. "It automates data preparation for firing and significantly improves the accuracy of fire," the report said.

Earlier it was reported that the Russian Ministry of Defence continues upgrading the T-72B3 tanks to the T-72B3M configuration.

The vehicle received a new sighting system with a digital display, as well as a rear view TV camera. Changes were also made to the tank's armour, which was reinforced with side screens including the Relikt explosive reactive armor (ERA) modules, add-on slat armour, as well as new ERA modules in a "soft" case.

In 2006, the Relikt system with the 4S23 ERA tiles was adopted by the Russian Armed Forces and appeared on the T-72B, T-80BV, T-90MS tanks and BMPT vehicle.

In comparison with the Kontakt-5, the Relikt ERA system was distinguished by a much higher maintainability achieved through modular design, in addition to significantly higher protective characteristics. So, the front protection is made as a single module, which can be easily replaced in the field in the case of damage.

The use of a new explosive in the 4S23 made it possible to increase the efficiency and reliability of the ERA system against APFSDS projectiles, including low-speed ones, against which the Kontakt-5 operated unstably. Its effectiveness against tandem HEAT warheads has also been significantly increased through the optimized design of the built-in ERA and the use of the new 4S23 tile.

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