Exactly forty years ago, a joint resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers was adopted for the prototype main battle tank "object 172m", which received the designation T-72 "Ural". Began the life of the mass of the modern Soviet tanks.
Soviet tankoprom lived extensively — in the best years, he drove in the ranks of the army of four versions of the main battle tanks that are not compatible to operate and repair. And if the "heaped" T-64 and T-80, stuffed with the best Soviet achievements in the field of sighting systems and fire control systems were considered the vanguard of the fight against the aggressive NATO bloc, the T-72 tank initially had the fate of the second line, the defender of the secondary areas, and also relatively cheap cars in the event of a major war.
The initial goal of the developers (Nizhny Tagil "Uralvagonzavod") and posed: do mobilization option Kharkov T-64, the implied main tank forces. But the designers have outgrown the idea of "ersatz-tank" and made a machine that, as a platform, first gained popularity in the international market, and, secondly, in fact, long survive those who had to replace the front after the first loss .
The tank came out kind. It was cheaper than the T-64 and more reliable in operation, especially on the part of the engine, and its running much better endured "dancing" on the terrain (like the T-64 while losing track). However, the propulsion system was replaced with hard, as opposed to the same T-64, which, despite its unreliability, characterized by a generally greater serviceability. The same was true of the suspension.
But the most important difference, as has been observed in the armed wing of the tank. T-72 on the background of the T-64 (and, further, the T-80) was extremely poor fire control system and an imperfect sighting system. In keeping with the basic philosophy of the model, "the recruit-tank" delights were not required.
So, guided weapons (anti-tank missiles, launched by smoothbore tank gun) T-72 was only in 1985 in a version of T-72B — while the T-64B produced with this complex for almost a decade, and T-80B — seven. And then, it was mainly because the T-72 is well settled in the army reserves shown to modernize and thus outgrown the boundaries of "cheap tank" demanding serious weaponry.
By the way, at the same time the T-72 has managed to become the most massive Soviet tank of this generation produced about 30 thousand units of all modifications (even 6 thousand were produced under license outside the USSR). For comparison, the volume of production of T-64 — about 8 thousand, T-80 — about 6.5 thousand
The relative ease and lack of critical systems have made T-72 an ideal platform for the export of the sample. The Soviet Union had just finished a plentiful supply of friendly countries of the "third world" tanks T-55 and T-72 at an opportune moment came to replace him.
As a result, this car has become the most belligerent of the late Soviet models of armored vehicles. Baptism of fire she took in Lebanon in 1982, where Syrian troops have encountered with the Israeli. Analyze the technical expertise of those wars — employment unusually worthless because of Homeric rabid propaganda on both sides, supported by specific mercantile interests of arms manufacturers to participate in zavarushku.
However, as far as can be judged, export Syrian T-72M is quite worthy to war with the Israelis. Fared T-72 and in the ranks of the Iraqi army during the war with Iran (1980-1988).
However, during operations in 1991 and 2003, the Iraqi T-72 is not able to offer serious resistance to the Americans and their allies. But it had an overall superiority of Western armed forces as the combat system, and the lack of some of the technical innovations of Iraq, which was bet by the Americans. In particular, in 1991 the American tank crews are widely used fight night in the desert with the use of modern thermal imagers. This allowed them without too much difficulty to destroy the Iraqi T-72 is not equipped with the most sophisticated night sights.
Came in 1991, and the most massive tank of his generation took part in nearly all the wars on the outskirts of crumbling of the Soviet empire. He has done some fighting in the two Chechen campaigns. The latest example — "five-day war" of 2008, better known as forcing Georgia to peace. There, these machines have converged with each other head-on: the Russian side has used the T-72B, the Georgian — T-72SIM-1 (Israeli modernization of the T-72M received from the Czech Republic and Ukraine).
Well, if you really look at all the examples of our days, the video recordings of the struggle that lead to varying degrees of success Syrian tankers on the T-72 with Syrian same guerrillas, now full of the entire Internet.
Forty years later,
In 2011, the Commander of the Army Alexander Postnikov, cursing with the industry through the press, has called the T-90 "seventeenth modification of the T-72."
This seems to be needed to demonstrate the insignificance of "radically new" Tagil development, but the opposite happened: the commander in chief actually admitted that this machine is on the doorstep of his forties still quite capable of working in the field.
Yes, T-90 — it is the same T-72 (first even had the T-72BU), in his already marginal, probably version. Seventeenth, or even what the bill, but it is better than the majority of the T-72B, standing by the Russian Army, and, in addition, good is exported. India, perfectly familiar with the T-72M1, is the licensed production of T-90S tanks. Get these tanks as Algeria, Azerbaijan, and even Uganda.
But this is evidently all. Bitter war over government order tankostroitelnyh two giants of the Soviet "defense" (Tagil and Kharkiv) now, for obvious reasons, can not, and monopoly "Uralvagonzavod" even in calm surroundings, ready to replace the T-72 under the code "Armata". According to some, it may roll out to a private screening for the leadership of the country in September this year.
And, by the way, it's time to have. And then the T-72, maloobuchenny inductee great European war, something podzaderzhalsya in rows, left to re-enlist — virtually alone, having lost older brother. During this time he had ceased to be maloobuchennym, and at the same time and the world has seen. But with such a rich, like a modern tank, the working career, 40 years old — the age to think about retirement. One problem: where to find a mate is not worse?