It just so happened that the first persons of our state rarely indulge us, ordinary citizens, with any specific information regarding the military-industrial complex of the country. This happened before, and now, when the special military operation in Ukraine has marked its one-year milestone, it is simply impossible to find out any specifics from official sources.
But there are exceptions: in their recent speeches, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev announced the total number of tanks planned for production in 2023. 1,500-1,600 units - this is how many combat vehicles of this class the industry should issue during this year. And, of course, we are talking not only about those made from scratch, but also those that have undergone re-preservation and modernization.
In total, there will be five tank models planned for release. All of them are known, but some of them have already received their mobilization options, which are known from open sources.
Production from scratch
Of course, at the bases for storing armored vehicles, we still have a very impressive reserve of tanks, which are in varying degrees of condition, ranging from complete understaffing to completely live combat units. And they are indeed being returned to service, but as far as Uralvagonzavod is concerned, this process is adjacent to the tank production line from scratch.
Here, as it is not difficult to guess, first of all, the conversation is about the T-14 on the universal tracked platform "Armata" - a tank that some have already managed to bury several times just last year, over and over again giving out "exclusive materials" that they decided to completely abandon the car due to the reorientation of production to the needs of the front.
Nevertheless, as they write in the BMPD blog, citing sources in the Russian Ministry of Defense, production of a certain number (perhaps several dozen units) of these tanks is planned for this year. At the same time, a lot of guesses immediately appeared about how the T-14s would be used: from sending them to the special operation zone and ending with the fact that they would allegedly serve as a replacement for equipment in parts of the interior districts. However, neither one nor the other has any basis, and most likely, the "Armata" will continue to be in trial operation.
The second tank to be produced is the T-90M. Again, according to sources from the Ministry of Defense, taking into account the T-14, they plan to produce several hundred units per year. And in principle, there are no questions about its use, since the “emki” have been fighting for a long time - they definitely won’t stay somewhere in the stash.
By the way, until recently, the wording “made from scratch” did not completely fit the T-90M: for the production of these tanks, a backlog of a couple of hundred units from the T-90 chassis was used. Now, completely military-style vehicles will go into operation.
The fact that the pace of production of the T-90M will at least not decrease and remain at the same level, or even increase at all, is a generally correct decision simply because it is the most modern and, most importantly, a serial tank in the Russian army. He does not cut the electronic component in any way, as was the case with other machines, and in general, in terms of design, excluding minor improvements, he did not change.
However, the basis of the one and a half thousand horde of tanks that Putin and Medvedev spoke about, most likely, will be taken from storage and modernized T-62M / MV, T-72B / B1 and T-80B / BV, from which T-62M / MV mod. . 2022, T-72B3 and T-80BVM.
T-72B3, T-80BVM and their mobilization variants
It would seem that the workhorses of the special operation in the face of the T-72B3 and T-80BVM do not need a special description - a lot has already been written and said about them for all the years of production and being in service with the RF Armed Forces. However, recently the tanks have undergone very significant changes: on the same "be-three" they have significantly increased protection due to the expanded installation of dynamic protection in the frontal and side projection, as well as the roof of the tower, and some progress on the part of the navigation systems, sort of like started.
Changes, of course, changes, but along with the release of these tanks, their mobilization options also appeared.
The bottom line is that the original versions of these tanks, which were produced both before the special operation and during 2022 in general, were equipped with the well-known Sosnaya-U - a contraption that is often called just a sight, but in fact is a full-fledged fire control system.
It includes both a daytime optical channel and a thermal imaging channel. And all this is flavored with a channel for guidance of guided missiles, its own ballistic computer and automatic target tracking. In short, although there were many complaints about it, especially in terms of its location in tanks, it is the best serial system in the Russian tank forces.
In the T-72B3, Sosna-U was adjacent to the 1A40 sighting system and was installed in place of the 1K13 night sight / missile guidance device. And in the T-80BVM it was the main day and night sight, in addition to which there was a backup television sight with individual power supply. However, recently some batches of tanks have received other equipment.
Now, judging by photographs from open sources and having no secrecy, “Sosna-U” for parts taken from storage and upgraded tanks began to be replaced with a thermal imaging sight 1PN96MT (1PN96MT-02) with a built-in laser rangefinder channel and ballistic computer.
Of course, it is impossible to call 1PN96MT-02 completely analogous to Sosny-U, but as a replacement, especially in the conditions of mass production of tanks for the front, it is quite. It’s already good that they didn’t leave the old Soviet “night lights” sights.
On the mobilization version of the T-80BVM tanks produced in 2023, the sighting system was completely redesigned.
Since the existing "teplak" 1PN96MT-02, which is installed on these machines, does not have an optical channel, it was decided to introduce the 1G46 optical sight into the fire control complex, which, not without reason, was considered one of the best products of this kind in the USSR and became an integral attribute T-80U and various modifications of T-90. However, its capabilities do not lose relevance: the guided missile guidance channel, the development of corrections for firing using a ballistic computer with a set of firing conditions sensors and the built-in laser rangefinder perform their duties properly.
As for the T-72B / B1 tanks, which after modernization receive the T-72B3 index, things are similar with Sosna-U: 1PN96MT-02 is used again, but without 1G46 - there is still the same sighting system 1A40 with an optical sight-rangefinder TPD-K1 and a device for generating lateral lead. Can this be called a mobilization option or will the tanks get their own, at least informal index, is still a question.
The reasons for the appearance of the mobilization variants of the T-80BVM and the upgraded T-72B (T-72B3) are clear: there will not be enough Sosna-U for everyone, especially with such a forced release. Therefore, the troops will simultaneously be able to see tanks in both standard and simplified versions. But these four will become the basis of the 1,500-strong horde planned for 2023. Here we can only hope that in the end the release of the Sosna will still be equalized with the release of military vehicles.
T-62M/MV arr. 2022
Completes the list of modernized T-62M tanks and its variations.
Their overhaul and refinement is carried out by the 103rd BTRZ in Atamanovka, Trans-Baikal Territory. Although, perhaps, most of those who even occasionally glance at news channels know about these cars.
The fact that these vehicles would be massively removed from storage and modernized became known last fall, when retired general and State Duma deputy Andrei Gurulev announced grandiose plans to produce 800 tanks in three years. However, the actual pace of production is not yet clear - at least one battalion has been released for sure, but the improved "sixty-twos" have already been sent to the front and seen in battle.
The Soviet T-62M tanks with additional protection in the form of metal-polymer blocks, as well as the T-62MV with hinged dynamic protection "Contact" are taken as the basis for modernization. Their variations in the form of the T-62M-1 and T-62MV-1 are also sent there, the main distinguishing feature of which is the more powerful 690-horsepower V-46-5M engine instead of the standard V-55U for 620 horses.
At the factory, they are being overhauled, equipped with lattice screens and, if we talk about the T-62M, dynamic protection in the frontal part of the hull and turret roof, and also, probably, are being finalized in terms of communication systems. However, the main innovation is the 1PN96MT thermal imaging sight already familiar to us, which is put in place of the 1K13 night sight / missile guidance device.
The peculiar pride of the T-62M series tanks and its variants - the Volna fire control system - thanks to which the vehicles significantly improved their combat characteristics, is now missing.
Due to the fact that the tank is deprived of laser rangefinders KTD-1-1 (KTD-2) above the gun, instead of which they put plugs, it is no longer possible to fire with semi-automatic correction through a standard optical sight. All this replaces 1PN96MT with its own ballistic computer and rangefinder.
In general, the “sixty-twos” from the Atamanovsky plant, although they do not claim the rank of modern ones and will not be able to stand on the same rank with any “Abrams” or “Leopards 2”, but the modernization turned out to be solid. Not without questions, of course, but quite tolerable - much better than in the original form of the Soviet model.
How many of them will be able to release this year is a question. But, given the speeding up of the pace of production in accordance with presidential decrees, battalions 5–7 will still be sent out of the gates of the plant. For now though, this is just speculation.
Much can be said as conclusions, but the main thing here is that we really need a lot of equipment, especially tanks. In conditions when the West plans to deliver to Ukraine this year at least about half a thousand combat units of this class alone, not including other vehicles, forced production is simply necessary in the near future.
Yes, for the most part, this mass of our equipment will consist of reactivated and upgraded tanks, but one should not expect anything else in this situation - the same Uralvagonzavod plows literally in emergency mode, repairing and upgrading up to two or three battalions of tanks per month , including cars arriving from the front. And while maintaining the production of T-90M.
Of course, there are questions about the tanks being upgraded, both in terms of security and electronics, but it just so happened that now we are not in the situation to give full priority to quality and high cost to the detriment of mass production. Yes, and there is hope that with the production of Sosny-U and, for example, a deeper refinement of the security of the T-62, things will somehow settle down, and measures will be taken.
As will be further - we'll see.
NOTE: I would not be surprised that BMPT production may also be included in these totals.