The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1972 and became the most popular tank (est. 50,000 built) of the second generation of tanks in the world. First modification of the tank (such as T 72A) are not widely used any more due to their outdated characteristics, however T-72B representing 3rd generation of tanks and further modifications of the tank still remain the backbone of the Russian army and armies of some other countries.
T-72B is fitted with a 125mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun and a 12.7mm air defense machine gun mounted on the commander's cupola. The T-72B carries 45 rounds of 125mm ammunition, 22 rounds of which are carried on an automatic loading carousel. The gun is also designed for firing guided anti-tank missiles. The tank is equipped with Explosive Reactive Armour “Contact” and ‘Tucha’ smoke discharging system. T-72B is powered by multi-fuel diesel V-84-1 delivering the maximum of 840 h.p.
T-72BM is the further modernization of T-72B made for the Russian army. Its main distinctive feature is installation of the second generation of ERA and automated fire control system.
Russia currently operates circa 1400 of T-72B/BA tanks as of 2014.