T-72M1 (ATE/IST)

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Introduction:

Between 2003 and 2005 two South African defence firms ATE International and IST Dynamics were contracted by the Algerian army to upgrade their BMP-1 and T-72M1 tanks. For this forum post we will focus on the T-72M1 upgrade. The testing and evaluating of the upgrades where done in South Africa, with the defence firms utilising one of the T-72M1 tanks as a test platform which have been acquired in 1990 from Poland as part of Operation Carbenet. The upgrade included full day and night fighting capabilities, and digital fire control systems. The most prominent upgrade to the T-72 was the two panoramic stabilised sights fitted to the tank. The sights are placed on a two-axis rotating mounting allowing the sights to move independent from each other. The sights featured thermal imaging, laser range finder, target tracking and hunter killer mode. After initial development and testing in South Africa, the modifications were then sent to Algeria for operational evaluation. Unfortunately, after the evaluation ATE and IST was not contracted for the production of the T-72 upgrade as Algeria instead opted to purchase T-90 tanks. In 2006 ATE and IST would unveil the modified T-72 to the public for the first time at the 2006 African Aerospace and Defence expo (AAD) held at AFB Ysterplaat, in order to market it towards other countries which also operate the T-72 tank. Sadly, due to limited interest for the T-72 upgrade from ATE and IST, the project was scrapped leading to the T-72 being donated to the South African Armour Museum in Bloemfontein where it is still on display and occasionally drives around on museum open days.

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Spesification:

Main Armament: 125mm (2A46M) cannon

Secondary Armament: two 7.62 mm (PKT) MG

Crew: 3 (driver, gunner, commander)

Combat weight: 41,5t

Engine: Model V46-6, V-12

Horsepower: 780 hp

Gearbox: seven forward, one reverse

Top Speed: 60km/h

Thermal/Night sight: Yes

Smoke grenades: Yes

Smoke ESS: Yes

Laser range finder: Yes

Hull armour: (front: 215mm), (sides: 80mm), (rear: 40mm)

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Primary Sources:

Senior System Engineer: Pierre Thivend “ATE contact with Algerian Army” (page 3)

FORCESDZ: “The modernisation of the T-72 by IST Dynamics” (page 25)

SA Armour Museum: https://www.saarmourmuseum.com/t-72-mi-main-battle-tank-poland

Secondary Sources:

VPK: “An unusual version of the T-72 was created in South Africa”: A friend among strangers: an unusual version of the T-72 was created in South Africa - ВПК.name

6 Likes

A really cool way to spice up the SA line! +1

3 Likes

Sure, why not. It’s good to see other countries being represented in War Thunder even without TT(take an example of Argentina)

1 Like

Very nice +1

1 Like