01:22 GMT12 August 2020
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    The Zapad-2017 Russia-Belarus strategic joint military exercises provided the first large-scale test for crews of the newest T-72B3 tanks, which entered service with the Western Military District, the Russian Defense Ministry's press service said.

    In its press release on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the ongoing Russia-Belarus military drills had provided the first large-scale test for the crews of the T-72B3, the latest version of the T-72 Soviet main battle tank.

    "The T-72B3's crews are made to travel many kilometers across rough terrain with various soils and natural obstacles, as well as conduct combat fire in the daytime and at night, also drilling high-speed maneuvers," the press release said.

    It added that "the T-72B3's newest version features a more powerful engine, automatic transmission, a rear-view camera and an upgraded fire control system."

    In addition, the tank is equipped with a propulsion unit control system which allows the crew to run the T-72B3 with the help of a display.

    The tank's new all-aspect protection system includes multi-layer armor and anti-cumulative shielding, according to the press release.

    The T-72B3 is Russia's latest modernized version of the T-72 Soviet battle tank. With its advanced armor protection, the tank is touted by the media as a "super-protected" vehicle.

    A T-72B3 tank during the final rehearsal of the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the WWII victory. File photo
    © Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich
    A T-72B3 tank during the final rehearsal of the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the WWII victory. File photo

    Apart from the new Relikt explosive reactive armor package, which covers the rear part of the turret, the tank is also fitted with anti-cumulative screens which protect rear parts of the hull.

    The modernized T-72B3 can travel 70 kilometers per hour thanks to its 1,130 horsepower engine, which has improved the tank's mobility despite its increased weight of about 45 metric tons.

    The tank features a new smoothbore 125-mm gun characterized by increased survivability of the trunk, and the Sosna-U sighting system, which helps the tank's crew of three destroy a target at a distance of up to five kilometers.

    Up to 12,700 servicemen (about 7,200 from Belarus and some 5,500 from Russia), as well as up to 70 aircraft and helicopters and up to 10 warships are taking part in the Zapad-2017 drills, which are due to wrap up on September 20.

    Also participating are 680 vehicles and weapons systems, including about 250 tanks and up to 200 artillery units, as well as multiple rocket launchers and mortars.


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    test, military drills, armor, protection, crews, tank, T-72B3, Zapad-2017, Russia
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