The National Interest is reporting that Russia is planning on modernizing one hundred and fifty additional Soviet-era T-72B main battle tanks to the T-72B3M standard. According to the article, the upgraded vehicles would offer performance comparable to the much more modern T-90, but for a fraction of the price.
According to Uralvagonzavod deputy general director Alex Zharich, who spoke to theRussian-language daily Izvestia, Russia plans to spend 2.5 billion rubles to upgrade one hundred and fifty T-72Bs to the new B3M standard for an average of 17 million rubles per tank. In U.S. dollar terms, that’s a total of $35 million for an average of $234,000 per tank—which means the T-72B3M upgrade is a relative bargain for the capability the vehicle is expected to deliver.
According to Izvestia, the upgraded tank will get a new 2A46M5 125-millimeter smoothbore gun along with a new sighting system called the Sosna-U, which will be paired with the 1A40-4 fire-control system. The tank will also receive a new ballistics computer to help increase its accuracy. Perhaps more significantly, the T-72B3M will receive an independent PK PAN sight for the tank commander, which has its own thermal imaging system.