The war in Ukraine is a treasure trove of new open-source material to show how the modern battlefield will change in the 21st century.
Social media continues to prove how much any nation with drone technology – even commercially available drones – can dramatically change modern warfare forever.
Ukraine is proving that it can battle Russia even with the most basic equipment.
Video First Confirmed Russian Loss of Modernized T-72B in Ukraine
A second T-72B Obr. 2022 could also be seen in the video damaged and abandoned nearby.
What We Know
In the 29-second video clip, which was posted by the Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) social media account, the Russian tanks were seen coming under attack from Ukrainian military drones after what looked like striking a mine at some point.
The Russian Workhorse
It was in December that Russia began to receive the highly-upgraded T-72s. The Research and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod – a subsidiary of the Uralvagonzavod Concern (UVZ) of the Rostec State Corporation – delivered the batch of modernized T-72B3M tanks to the RF Ministry of Defense as part of the state defense order (GOZ), Financial Express reported.
The T-72 was considered a revolutionary step forward in MBT design, having a crew of three compared to the hour of Western tanks.
Its use of an autoloader increased the theoretical rate of fire to up to eight rounds per minute – however that has been shown in practice to be especially optimistic.
The Cold War-era MBT has also remained the workhorse of the Russian military, as the MBT has been steadily upgraded since it was first introduced into the Soviet Army in the early 1970s.
Upgrades have included a new type of diesel engine, enhanced suspension and armor protection, as well as additional defensive features including a smoke-grenade launcher.
Enhancing the Cold War-Era T-72
The most recent upgrade is the T-72B3 Obr. 2022, which has taken a basic 1980s-era model and enhanced it with a suite of new features including a Sosna-U day-night digital gunner’s sight, new reactive armor, a rear-looking video camera, and a fresh barrel for its 125-millimeter main gun.
A new fire control system (FCS) can reportedly automate the process of preparing a shot, while it can significantly improve shooting accuracy.
These latest models are also equipped with a forced diesel engine V-92S2 with a capacity of 1000 h.p. developed by ChTZ-Uraltrak.
However, as noted by David Axe of Forbes, none of these new features significantly improve the T-72’s performance – these are still old tanks and an even older tank design. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks, and you can only take even a problem-prone platform so far.
This is notable in that the upgrades also don’t do anything to address the T-72 MBT’s most fundamental issue – namely its dangerous ammunition storage in the turret to facilitate the use of the aforementioned auto-loader.
As a result, Ukraine has now successfully destroyed the first T-72B Obr. 2022 MBT, and it almost certainly won’t be the last one to meet a similar fate.
Of course, Russia has already lost some 2,000 tanks in Ukraine – so what’s a few more?
Another T-72B obr. 2022 was also damaged and abandoned nearby. pic.twitter.com/ZQnD2qfU0J
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 5, 2023
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.