T-72-120

The T-72-120 upgrade explains how tank development can pass the point of diminishing returns. It’s a Ukrainian upgrade of a T-72 to have a bustle autoloader for a 120mm NATO tank gun along with the usual advanced electronics. There was a very similar variant of the T-80/84 called the “Yatagan” as well.

t72120

While it looks impressive, it’s easy to see why this tank sputtered out.

  • In exchange for for somewhat safer ammo storage (which is still in a scrunched-up Soviet tank) and a 120mm caliber gun, you have to redesign and rebuild the entire loading system of the tank. The cost-benefit isn’t the best.
  • The post-USSR tank glut doomed it just as easily as it doomed almost every other design of the period. You want a 120mm tank, you get a surplus Leopard II.

That being said, I like the look this tank and the Yatagan had, this sort of “east-west fusion” of low-slung tanks with prominent ERA and long bustle turrets.

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