PT-76-2000: A Modernized Amphibian
(Originally posted: May 27, 2022)
Background:The vehicle I am suggesting is based on the PT-76, specifically the PT-76B. This vehicle, introduced in 1959, was an improved variant of the original PT-76. It features thin armor, reasonable mobility, a decent gun, and amphibious capabilities. In this way, it was able to provide cheap but effective armor for many nations for a very long time. Israel, however, believed the design could be improved upon, and in the 1990s (earliest I can verifiably confirm), the PT-76 received a brand new overhaul from Nimda. This new tank has been seen with several designations, though the official designation appears to be PT-76-2000 (Thank you @Merkko and @ofekk213). The vehicle saw adoption by only one nation, and that is Indonesia. They accepted it into service in the late 1990s as the PT-76(M). Their tanks have since been upgraded even further, but some remain at the Nimda level. This upgrade package would enable a unique and interesting light tank to join the Israeli tank tree, and I hope you will enjoy reading about it! This is my very first vehicle suggestion post, so if there is anything I should do to to fix it or enhance it, please don't hesitate to make suggestions!
Note: I am proposing the Israeli tank, not the Indonesian one. The Indonesian variant cannot fire APFSDS, but the Israeli one can, and there are some other minor differences. Any reference to the Indonesian version is purely to fill in information that I couldn't get elsewhere. The Israeli model is the prototype/technology demonstrator and uses the Cockerill MK3 with the single-baffle muzzle brake, therefore it can fire APFSDS. That is the version which I am proposing here. Sorry for any confusion!
The Tank:The PT-76 is a vehicle we all know and love (or hate), and it is a mainstay of not only the War Thunder community, but also the world stage. This small, nimble, amphibious light tank first came on to the scene in 1951, and has been used by dozens of nations, many still to this day. One of those nations was Israel. The Israeli army captured many during their wars with the surrounding Arab nations and wound up pressing them into service. However, by the 1990s, these tanks were beginning to get a bit long in the tooth, so Nimda Group Ltd. put together an upgrade package which significantly increases the potential for modern combat use by this vehicle.
An Egyptian PT-76B captured by Israel and displayed at Yad la-Shiryon.
The Upgrades:The primary upgrade here is the gun. The PT-76-2000 has been up-gunned to mount a Belgian Cockerill 90mm MK3 cannon in place of the original 76.2mm D-56T cannon. This new gun enabled it to fire a much wider range of modern projectiles, including APFSDS, HEAT-FS, HESH, HE, and more. This gun should be familiar to tankers already, as it is featured on such vehicles as the AUBL/74 and C13 T90. The coaxial machine gun has also been replaced with an FN MAG chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. This allows the tank to better fit within the modern NATO standard instead of relying on Russian ammo for the older SGMT. The available ammunition for the 90mm gun comes from Mecar, and includes:
M625A1 HEP-T aka HESH-T
M618A1 SMK(WP)-T (Smoke)
(Could not find a decent image, but the shell is already in-game)
The only two shells not yet featured in War Thunder for the Cockerill Mk.3 gun are the M616A1 HE and M652A1 APFSDS. As such, I won’t be posting the data for the other shells since it would just be copied over. I can, however, share the ballistic charts I was able to find for the APFSDS and HE.
This was taken directly from the Nimda Group product brief available as a .pdf on their website:
And this chart was taken from ARMSCOM:
I was unable to find how many rounds this carries, but due to how much larger the ammunition is, I would imagine the amount is somewhat reduced, possibly significantly so. Regarding the machine gun, one source puts that at 1000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
Next on the list is the engine and its associated components. This upgrade brings in a brand new Detroit Diesel 6V-92T 6-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 300hp with the original transmission. They do offer an option to replace the original transmission with an Allison X-200, but that would be up to the developers to decide. Obviously its performance would be enhanced with that addition, as the X-200 features a more modern construction with four forward gears and two reverse gears, as opposed to the single reverse gear of the baseline PT-76. Even without the new transmission though, the engine alone improves the mobility drastically adding around 60 more horsepower and a turbocharger.
The fire-control system has also been improved, with an upgraded day/night sight (unsure of the model), a laser rangefinder, and it retains full two-plane stabilization, though with a new system. This system also controls the turret drive and is fully solid-state electric, meaning it likely has much better turret traverse and gun elevation speeds, but I can’t find any concrete data on those numbers.
EDIT: A friend of mine has provided me with another source which clarifies some information about the mobility of the vehicle as well as informing me of the fact that a roof-mounted MG is also present, though this is the only source I have found to show that. It does not say what model, but given the wording and what we already know, it is safe to assume another 7.62mm FN MAG.
What Stayed the Same:The armor has not been changed, nor have the tracks. The turret remains the same as well, aside from the new gun fittings. It still retains its amphibious capabilities, and it is still propelled via the rear waterjets with the trim vane erected up front while in the water. As a result, while this has much improved mobility and firepower, you are still as weak as ever to enemy fire.
Lastly, here is a video clip demonstrating the tank in action:
If there is anything I have forgotten to add, please let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading my post, and I hope to make many more suggestions in the future!
PT-76 - Wikipedia
ARMSCOM - SEARCH | armscom.net
The World Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles by George Forty and Jack Livesey - Page 217