Maybe this will explain that T-72 was not the only and not the best Soviet tank....
Contrary to the basic believe of the western and even Russian public T-72 is not a development of T-64A (the Soviet Main Battle Tank). T-72 vas development of Ural design bureau experimental tank that lost the competition to T-64 predecessor o. 430. That is why T-72 use the 22 rounds autoloader previously planned for modernized T-62. A completely different drivetrain and different turret.
The T-72 series itself was a “mobilization” tank of the soviet army. It was designed for mass production in war time in huge numbers.
T-72 predecessor o. 140 and 167
The most important threads of Soviet tank development before 1966
Basically the first automatic fire control and gun-lunched missile appeared on T-64B in 1976. Then it was installed on T-80. The automatic fire control was never installed on T-72 or it’s versions.
The same story with armor – while the T-64-s and T-80 was equipment with high cost composite armor the T-72 had the simplest possible sand rods and then reflecting plates which were much less valuable than advanced compositions of T-80U …
So the key idea is that T-72 was not the primary Soviet tank, it was exported worldwide to any nation possible. While no T-64 or T-80 was ever exported (After Soviet Union T-80U was exported to ROK, Cyprus and T-80UD to Pakistan)…
The most important threads of Soviet tank development after 1966
1-st T-72 and T-80/64 were equipped with different guns.
T-80/64 received newest guns much before T-72-variants.
T-64 fire control consists of (basic information)
Targeting complex 1A34
-laser sight 1G42 with block of shot permission 1G43 and tank ballistic computer 1V517.
The AUTOMATIC sensors of entering information are
Heel sensor 1B14
Wind sensor 1B11
relative bearing sensor
tank speed sensor
The following information is entered before combat manually is temperature of the air, type of ammunition batch, atmosphere pressure, charge temperature, air temperature, barrel wear.
In the automatic fire control the correction factor for target range, tank speed, target speed, wind are entered automatically. The gunner just puts the mark on the target and the gun is adjusted automatically to required position, the mark does not change it’s position.
What is T-72B fire control –
The automatic fire control was not installed on T-72.
Instead of ballistic computer the tank is equipped with ballistic corrector.
The correction factor for target range tank speed, target speed, wind are not entered automatically. The wind correction factor is measured “by eye” (until the last serial versions and T-72C).
The gunner puts the mark on the target measures the range with LRF, the mark moves lover depending on range … It requires more time then with automatic FCS.
Another diference of T-72B from T-64/80B is that T-72 can not fire guided missiles while moving…
placements of fire control elements inside the T-72B combat compartament
1 – executive cylinder of vertical drive VN
2 – Block for entering corrections
3 – guidance block for 9K120
4 – control block
5 – converter for 9K120
6 – electric module of 1A40-1
7 – round
8 – guided missile
9 – block for entering range
10 – horizontal drive GN
12 – electric machine booster
13 – 1K13 sight
14 - 1A40-1 targeting complex
Edited by Harkonnen, 14 January 2006 - 1632 PM.