Army of Belarus continues to receive Russian upgraded T-72B3 main battle tanks

Belarus' Armed Forces continue to modernize its armed forces. Another batch of T-72B3 main battle tanks was delivered on 6 May 2020, representatives of the Belarusian Defense Ministry told Belarus press agency BelTA. The Belarusian army received five main battle tanks T-72B3 modernized by the Russian manufacturer Uralvagonzavod.

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Belarus T-72B3 main battle tanks. (Picture source Belarus MoD)

In June 2019, during the Belarusian ministry of defense has signed withe Russian tanks manufacturer Uralvagonzavod Research and Production Corporation to modernize 11 T-72B main battle tanks to the level of T-72B3 in 2019-2020. Uralvagonzavod has been successfully upgrading T-72B tanks for the Belarusian army since 2015 under the Treaty on the Development of Military-Technical Cooperation between Belarus and Russia.

The T-72B3 is a development of the standard Russian-made T-72B series currently in service in the Russian army. The T-72B3 version was introduced in 2010 and considered as a third-generation of Russian main battle tank. The T-72B3 has significantly improved its combat characteristics with more firepower, protection, mobility and command controllability. Besides the improved armor and targeting systems, it kept all the good features of previous versions of T-72.

The main armament of the T-72B3 is a 125mm 2A46M-5 smoothbore gun fitted with a light-alloy thermal sleeve and a bore evacuator. The tank is fitted with a carousel automatic loader mounted on the turret floor and also on the rear wall of the turret. The tank carries a total of 38 rounds including 22 ready use projectiles in the carousel. A 7.62 mm PKTM machine gun is mounted coaxially to the right of the main armament and one 12.7 mm NSV machine gun is mounted on the commander's cupola.

The layout of the T-72B3 is similar to the standard T-72 main battle tank with driver's at the front, fighting in the center and the power pack at the rear. The conventional armour of the turret is upgraded with Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor. Kontakt-5 is a type of third-generation explosive reactive armour (ERA) able to defeat modern armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds. Kontakt-5 is made up of "bricks" of explosive sandwiched between two metal plates. The plates are arranged in such a way as to move sideways rapidly when the explosive detonates. In addition, the glacis plate is provided with 20 mm of appliqué armour.