September 10th, 2011 By Robert Czulda, DEFENCE TALK
During the MSPO 2011 military exhibition in Poland, Polish defense company Bumar for the first time presented a package of equipment intended to increase the tank’s survivability during urban and asymmetric operations. This package is intended for T-72 and PT-91 tanks (Polish development of the T-72M1).
This new package is a result of the consideration given by the Polish Ministry of National Defense to send tanks to support withdrawal of Polish troops from Afghanistan. A decision to send such armor support to Afghanistan has not yet been made and it is highly unlikely for Polish decision-makers to make such deployment. However Bumar, the biggest military producer in Poland, is also willing to offer this solution to foreign buyers. T-72 is still a very popular tank in many armies worldwide. Bumar package is attractive financially and easy to install on tanks already in service.
Engineers have focused on removing main shortcomings of the T-72 tanks, such as the low elevation of the main armament, high vulnerability of the tank commander when manning the anti-aircraft machine gun, obsolete means of omnidirectional observation and poor resistance of side and armor against light portable anti-tank weapons.
Tank PT-72U has an increased protection from RPG-7 grenade launchers. This protection is provided by ERAWA reactive armor in front part of the tank and turret. Additionally, PT-72U is equipped with chassis bar armor (cage armor) and turret bar armor. What is more, the turret has an additional basket which extends functions of existing and modified containers. Screens are positioned 500 – 700 mm away from the main armor to allow effective dissipation of the penetrating jet. Another change is attaching a driver’s seat to the upper hull and installation of an Energy-absorbing Bottom Panel made from composite materials.
12,7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun operated manually by the commander has been replaced with the ZSMU-1276A3 Kobuz remote controlled weapon station from ZM Tarnów. Its elevation angle is between -5o and +55o, horizontal angle of fire rotation is 360o. PT-72U is equipped with motion detector, air conditioning system, ODR-HV ODF Optotronics omnidirectional observation system with a set of eight day-night cameras and a rotary passive camera which has up to 26 times optical zoom.
The list of modifications:
Remote-controlled Armament Module: 12,7 mm gun (elevation angle of the gun: between -5o and +55o, horizontal angle of fire rotation 360o, capacity of the ammunition chest – 150 rounds);
Omnidirectional observation system (Hv system equipped with 8 day-n ight cameras with the observation angle 55o and a rotary passive camera FLIR which has up to 26 times optical zoom);
Chassis bar armor and turret bar armor. Also, the turret has an additional basket which extends functions of existing and modified containers;
Reactive armor and supplementary armor of the vehicle’s bottom;
A ploughshare for removing road blockades and a mine flail;
Smoke/dispersion grenade launchers;
Electric power generator 17 kW, by board voltage 28,5V
Air conditioning system, power 8 kW;
Modern internal and external communication tools, which allow communication also via the Internet;
Centralized diagnostic system and vehicle steering system which are both assembled on the steering desktop of the driver;
Intelligent map-controlled system of the combustion engine;
Microprocessor, ergonomic control system of the ammunition loading system which can be controlled from the position of the commander and the gunner. It includes advanced diagnostic and safety system;
External sounding system.