September 17, 2017
The forces of Russia’s Western Military District (WMD) have mobilized T-72B3 tanks with the latest modifications as part of the Zapad 2017 strategic exercises. The maneuvers were the first time the tanks were tested on a large scale, the military district’s press service announced this on Sunday.
“The Zapad 2017 joint strategic exercises were the first large-scale test for the crews of the T-72B3 tanks with the latest modifications, which became part of the armament of the Western Military District’s tank army. The crews of the T-72B3 tanks are making multiple kilometer marches through rugged terrain with various types of ground and natural obstacles, and have been taking combat shots in daytime and at night, and have also been rehearsing high-speed maneuvers,” the press service explained.
The press service of the Western Military District noted that the new T-72B3 is equipped with more powerful engines and automatic gear transmission, as well as a control and power unit automation system. It is fitted with a modernized fire control system and a rear-view camera. The tank also gained new protection, consisting of composite armor and anti-cumulative screens.
As reported earlier, the Russian military is acquiring a new version of the modernized T-72B3 the production of which started last year. The improved tanks are equipped with 1130 horsepower engines and new defensive elements, including on board screens with built-in Relict dynamic defense modules and latticed anti-cumulative engine transmission compartment screens. According to open source information, the modernized tanks will also acquire new 125 mm guns and Sosna-U scopes. This version of the tank was shown to the general public at Victory Parade rehearsals and at the parade itself in 2017.
The Zapad 2017 Russian-Belarusian joint strategic exercises are taking place in both countries’ territory from 14-20 September. They will involve roughly 12,700 soldiers (including around 10,200 in Belarusian territory), about 70 planes and helicopters, and up to 680 items of military equipment, including approximately 250 tanks, up to 200 guns, multiple-rocket launcher systems and mortars, and also 10 ships.