|Manufacturer:||VOP 025 Novy Jicin, s.p.|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Modernization of the vehicle|
In 1979-80 the then Czechoslovakia commenced licensed production of the Russian T-72 with ZTS Martin undertaking production of the complete chassis and ZTS Dubnica' nad Vahom responsible for the complete T-72 turret.
As both of these companies are now in Slovakia there is a separate entry under Slovakia for this T-72 MBT and its many variants, some of which are in service with the Czech Republic.
Following a competition in 1995 the VOP 025 (Military Repair Plant 025) was selected to be the prime contractor for the Czech Republic T-72M1 upgrade programme.
Two prototypes of an upgraded T-72M1 MBT were completed by VOP 025, these being designated the T-72CZ M3 and the T-72CZ M4. The only major difference between the two vehicles is that the T-72CZ M4 has a new Israeli NIMDA power pack.
Both prototypes of the upgraded T-72M1 were completed several years ago but at February 1999 no production order had been placed by the Czech Republic. This was due to integration problems in the turret area.
From an automotive aspect, the T72CZ M4 was by far superior as it had a higher power-to-weight ratio, greater acceleration and slightly higher top speed.
The original Czech Army requirement was for 355 upgraded T-72M1 series MBTs but this number has now been reduced to around 250 units.
Each T-72M1 has been upgraded in a number of key areas. To reduce target engagement times and improve first round hit probability of the 125 mm smooth bore gun under day and night conditions, a new Italian Officine Galileo TURMS-T (Tank Universal Reconfigurable Modular System) fire control system has been installed.
The commander and gunner have primary stabilised day/thermal sights with the gunner also having a laser range-finder. The commander's sight is the roof-mounted periscope type and allows the commander to find targets and then designate them to the gunner.
This enables hunter/killer target engagements to be carried out. Under night conditions, targets can be typically recognised at a range of 4,200 m and identified at a range of 2,100 m.
The heart of the fire-control system is the Turret Management ballistic Computer (TMC) which combines the functions of the ballistic computer and gun control system within a single unit. This replaces the existing K1 box and has seven function blocks which include analogue interface, resolver interface, digital and relay logic interface, communications interface, hydraulic driver power switching and power supply.
The Russian 125 mm 2A46M smooth bore gun fitted with a fume extractor and thermal shield is retained but a muzzle reference system has been installed.
The existing T-72M1 hydraulic gun control system is retained but digital control and filtering has been incorporated as has control and compensation of the existing mechanical backlashers of the MBT.
New tank commander's and gunner's joysticks have been fitted as have new sensors including turret position sensor, turret traverse accelerometer, meteorological sensor, ammunition powder temperature sensor, elevation transducer and turret gyro, vertical sensor and weapon gyro.
The commander is provided with a new fixed cupola on the forward part of which is mounted the stabilised panoramic sight with a new 12.7 mm machine gun support on the right side.
The turret has been fitted with a Polish PCO SSC-1 laser warning system while battlefield survivability has been further enhanced by the installation of explosive reactive armour (ERA) over the frontal arc. A German Kidde Deugra fire detection and suppression system has also been fitted.
The ERA, called DYNA has been designed in Poland and is claimed to give protection against both kinetic energy (for example armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) and chemical energy (High Explosive Anti-Tank) attack.
In addition to VOP 025, many local Czech Republic companies have also been involved in the T-72CZ M3 and M4 upgrade. Synthesia has developed enhanced 125 mm APFSDS-T ammunition while Letecke Pristroje Praha SRO has developed the NBV-97 inertial/Global Positioning System land navigation system and the DITA-97 diagnostic system.
Mounted on the front of the hull front is the locally designed Metra Blankso SP system which has been designed to neutralise mines fitted with a magnetic fuse.
Mesit Uherske Hradiste SRO has developed the internal communications system while Meopta Prerov AS has developed the drivers TKN-3P passive night vision periscope and DICOM have developed the external communications equipment.
As previously mentioned, there are two versions of the Czech Republic upgraded T-72CZ, the M3 and M4. The former retains the original power pack with the addition of two turbo-blowers for the engine and a modified transmission.
The T-72CZ M4 has the new NIMDA power pack which has been designed specifically for the upgraded T-72 MBT. This consists of a British Perkins Engines Company Condor CV-12 rated at 1,000 hp (the 1,200 hp version is standard on the Challenger 1 and 2 MBTs), coupled to a US supplied Allision Transmission XTG-411-6 fully automatic transmission with four forward and two reverse gears, thermostat cooling system and a 650 A alternator.
This is the 23rd power pack to have been designed by NIMBA and can be removed in about 60 minutes. It is envisioned that if selected CKD local assembly of the engine while Praga would carry out local assembly of the transmission with VOP 025 being responsible for the complete power pack.
If required, the T-72M3 CZ and T-72M4 CZ can be fitted with the NBZ-90 articulated front-mounted dozer system to enabling the vehicle to prepare fire positions and clear battlefield obstacles.