Russia’s most prolific tank, the T-72, got destroyed in Ukraine. In this video, Chris examines why the Russian armored philosophy hasn’t really worked on the modern battlefield.
In hindsight, Russia could have tailored its tank developments over the past two decades to improve its survivability. Heavy armor, active protection system technology, and a complete redesign of the T-72 from the ground up would have improved survivability.
Is the T-72 a good tank?
The Russian T-72 tank is very fast-moving, lightweight, and has incredible firepower. It also costs half a million dollars to produce.
The T-72 is emblematic of the Soviet Union’s politics, marred in petty infighting and egregious corruption. It fits into the Russian military’s doctrine of throwing tons of armored vehicles at the enemy.
The T-72 is based on the T-62 design, which evolved over time since World War Ii. It was the first tank to be capable of firing the armor-piercing thin stabilized discarding Sabot round.
The T-62 had some problems, so they upgraded to the T-64, but it had a bunch of mechanical problems, so they began working on the T-72. Two rival tank teams would end up competing against one another to create the T-72.
The T-72 had a new larger 125 millimeter main gun, used the same base armor composite instead of the older homogenous castile, required a smaller three-man crew, and could reach a top speed of 47 miles per hour.