T-72 Ural (obr. 1984) - The forgotten modernization of the Ural

Would you like to see the modernized version of the T-72 Ural of the 1980’s added to the game?
  • Yes, I think this variant should be added
  • Maybe
  • Unsure
  • I don’t think this vehicle should be added

0 voters

T-72 Ural (obr. 1984) - The forgotten modernization of the Ural

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Note - The obr. 1984 part of the vehicles designation may not be the actual name of the vehicle however this based off the earliest point this vehicles modernization would have started and the earliest date of entering service would be 1985 based off how long it took for the first T-72AV to return to service while receiving a similar modernization, this is based of a certain part of the upgrade which was only introduced in 1984 for Soviet vehicles. This suggestion also mentions a Ural-1 version modernized to this state however this has been done due to a lack of distinction between these modernized vehicles being original a Ural or Ural-1 however no evidence suggest that the Ural-1 did not, yet why the suggestion focus on the vehicles as Urals is due to the fact that all the information mentioned by the main source on this vehicle is focused more towards the Ural more than the Ural-1 when it comes to this modernization.


Background and History

The T-72 Ural was the first production variant of the T-72 family of main battle tanks which were produced between 1973 to 1974 for the basic Ural series with the Ural-1 series being produced from 1975 to 1979 with the vehicle seeing many changes over the years in each production model as the vehicles design slowly shifted into what would become the T-72A. In terms of design the Ural series and the Ural-1 series vehicles which were built prior to 1977 by the 1980’s were already starting to look dated, this was due to there inferior protection as even compared to the T-64A the armor of these earlier T-72’s did not use any form of composite of spaced armor scheme in the turret but instead was built with the turret as the turret only consisted of MBL-1 armor grade cast steel as the plant which designed the T-72 had perfected the method of creating one piece turrets when the plant designed and built the T-62 though the turret was a two piece construction as the front, sides, and rear of the turret were all cast as one part however the roof was installed as a separate cast pieces. The upper front plate did include a more modern style of composite armor as the original Ural vehicles used the same Type of UFP which would appear in the Ural-1 series as well though the latter would also see the introduction of a improved UFP armor layout however the turret design had some flaws.

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Since these vehicles turrets were made up of only cast steel which was still of a considerable thickness of up to 410mm at least at the thickest parts of the original Ural’s turret cheeks with it going down to 320 to 320mm towards the sides and 290mm at the thinner parts of the main armor sections of the cast armor for the turret cheeks however even frontally their lack of any spaced armor in the turret meant that the armor was less effective than that of any sort of spaced or composite armor scheme as the turret introduced in the Ural-1 from 1977 and onwards used a composite armor scheme which did not require any enlargement of the turret yet gave the vehicle far better protection overall. In the 1980’s the Soviet Union had ordered that all existing T-72 produced up to that point were to undergo modernization, including the T-72 Ural’s with the cast turrets. This modernization was extensive as it improved the protection of the UFP with an additional armor plate and Kontakt-1 ERA installed on the vehicle in the same manner as the T-72AV, along with this the Gill armor was removed on all vehicles in exchange for steel reinforced rubber side skirts, they also had new mud guards added which replaced the older ones however not all of them received the new mudguards. The vehicle also saw a newer gun installed and the vehicle also saw newer optics installed as the original gunners sight was replaced with the TPD-K1 sight which gave the vehicle the ability a more effective way of range finding as the optic was capable of laser range finding, as a result the old optic was removed from the turret including the old rangefinder though the housing for the old rangefinder was left on the vehicle but was closed off as the cover for the optic was sealed onto the opening though some may have had them removed but in most cases they were just sealed. The vehicle also included further upgrades such as anti-neutron cladding, new stowage bins, and smoke grenade launchers however the engine was not upgraded however all of these changes brought these vehicles to the same standards of the T-72A obr. 1983. In the end however these vehicles would fall into obscurity as with the fall of the Soviet Union it’s likely that all were removed from service as even with these upgrades they would still be vulnerable to modern anti tank missiles, yet their story has yet to end as they have been found in storage with other T-72 tanks such as some of the images in this suggestion of ones which were taken in Ukraine, and from what information is available with the work of bringing vehicles back into service in Ukraine which has been ongoing for quite some time this even includes Urals as some images available online have shown.

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Despite how I have mentioned the Ural and Ural-1 for the ones which predated 1977 there is a lack of distinction between those which were modernized Ural or Ural-1 vehicles however based off what I have found the T-72 Ural-1’s built between 1977 to 1979 seemed to not have received such a modernization as all images of these vehicles seem to predate 1977 for when they were produced as none of the images I have found could be of one that was built after 1976, and this modernization also makes identifying between a Ural and Ural-1 harder as some of the defining features between the variants are not visible on the vehicles due to changes which make identifying them more difficult with the turret being any sort of effective method of identification between some variants.

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Specifications

Weight - Likely 42.6 tons (This is not a official number however this is based on the around of weight the ERA adds to a T-72AV (not the TURMS) and then adding this with the original weight

Engine - 12 cylinder V-46-4; 780 hp (574 kW)

Max speed - 60 km/h

Gunner optic - TPD-K1 (TPN-1-49-2 for night vision)

*Uses a laser rangefinder as a result of new optic however the casing for the old rangefinder was never removed

Commander optic - TKN-3M

Armament

Main gun

2A46M cannon (39 rounds total (22 in autoloader)) (Not capable of using anti tank missiles)

Coaxial machine gun

1 x 7.62mm PKMT machine guns (2,000 rounds total)

Commander’s machine gun

1 x 12.7mm NSVT machine gun (300 rounds total)

Smoke grenades - Up to 8 x 81mm smoke grenade launchers

Armor

*This is a summary of the armor as the armor itself would be very similar to the T-72A in-game so I won’t mention anything that is the same with this and the T-72A in-game unless necessary

Turret armor

Spoiler

Front - Somewhere around 410mm (official number) or greater

Sides - Up to 310 to 320mm still on the turret cheeks and 290mm at the main armor sections ends of the turret cheeks

Extra roof armor added, probably similar amount to the T-72A in-game with it’s add on armor package)

Hull Armor

Spoiler

Upper front plate composite armor - 16mm RHA + 80mm RHA + 105mm glass textolite + 20mm RHA (UFP angled at 68 degrees)

(Uses standard steel reinforced rubber side skirts like other T-72 variants so hull protection on the side should be the same as the T-72AV TURMS in-game)

Additional armor
Vehicle equipped with Kontakt-1 ERA in the same sort of layout as a T-72AV


Sources

Spoiler

Tankograd: T-72: Part 1

Tankograd: T-72: Part 2

T-72 - Tank Encyclopedia

T-72 - Wikipedia

Image sources

Spoiler

Tankograd: T-72: Part 2

Reddit - Dive into anything

Kharkov Tank Repair Plant · Ukraine travel blog

1 Like

Wouldn’t int be better to use the Version without the laser rangefinder? would set it apart more from the t72a

1 Like

You do realize that most of them lack composite armor for the turret? Only from 1977 onwards did they have composite armor I’m the turret and well if you think this is too similar to the T-72A the T-72 Ural-1 obr 1978 would be almost the same gameplay wise as the T-72A with the only difference being less ammo and no smoke grenades however that version directly led to the T-72A.

Compared to the T-72A this vehicle is still worse since it’s protection is only on par because of the ERA, otherwise the protection is still worse as it still doesn’t have composite armor for the turret so it’s just as vulnerable as the T-72 Ural originally was since it’s just a cast turret, honestly I suggested this instead of the T-72AV since for one the premium Syrian version already exist and because it is a more extensive upgrade than the T-72AV is compared to a T-72B since that just adds ERA to the vehicle.