Designed initially to be a more reliable and low-cost alternative to the T-64, the T-72 quickly became one of the most mass produced and widely used Soviet MBTs of the Cold War. Coming to War Thunder with update 1.85 "Supersonic", the iconic Soviet Cold War MBT trio will finally be complete with the introduction of the long-awaited T-72A!
Briefly: A design derived from the T-64, optimized for mass-production and cost effectiveness.
Development of the T-72 began shortly after the production of the T-64 highlighted several problems which negatively impacted production rates. Among these problems was an unreliable engine, which couldn’t be produced at the high rates needed for a smooth production of the T-64 to take place.
In response, the Uralvagonzavod plant began working on a modified version of the T-64, which would use a more reliable and readily available engine, in order to provide the army with a tank fit for mass-production. Apart from this, changes were also made to the armor layout, in order to simplify production and decrease costs. This work resulted in the creation of the Object 172.
Development of the Object 172 continued, and after some trials, the vehicle entered service with the Soviet Army in August 1973, receiving its official designation T-72. Shortly afterwards, the vehicle was permitted for mass production, following the issuing of an official decree in 1974.
The T-72 was also heavily exported to and produced by nations of the Warsaw Pact as well as other countries worldwide, although these vehicles received certain downgrades compared to native Soviet models. Despite this, the T-72 quickly became one of the most widely used tanks in the world, participating in more conflicts than a single devblog could ever cover.
Since production began in 1974, over 20,000 T-72 tanks were built across several modifications in the Soviet Union/Russia alone, with production of more modern variants still ongoing today, even in other countries as well.
In War Thunder, the T-72A will become available with the release of update 1.85 to all players at the top rank of the Soviet ground forces research tree. The T-72A will represent a middle ground between the T-64A and the more advanced T-80B, giving tankers a new vehicle that combines certain familiar aspects of both machines.
As a derivative design of the T-64, the T-72 inherited many features of the T-64, including the most important one - the main gun. Being the familiar 125mm smoothbore cannon found on several Soviet top tier vehicles already present in the game, players will have no problems getting accustomed to the T-72A, at least when firepower is concerned. A notable difference however, is the use of a different autoloader, which only houses 22 rounds in its mechanism and loads individual rounds slightly slower.
However, one notable difference that sets the T-72A apart from its close relatives is the distinct missing ability to fire ATGMs combined with the usual selection of very potent chemical and sub-caliber rounds. Although this will somewhat limit the vehicle’s effectiveness at long-range engagements, the conventional ammunition types are still more than sufficient to deal with a wide range of possible targets.
In terms of mobility, the T-72A is quite comparable to the T-64. Fitted with a 780 horsepower engine, the vehicle is able to reach a top speed of 60 km/h on roads. Although having a slightly more powerful engine, mobility will remain roughly equal to that of the T-64 as the additional horsepower will effectively only serve to offset the increased weight of the T-72A over the T-64.
Armor protection on the other hand is more akin to the T-80B. Being protected by a composite solution consisting of several layers of rolled steel and textolite, the front armor on the hull is able to absorb roughly 410mm of penetration from kinetic ammunition types and 450mm from chemical ones. The turret remains a tough nut to crack from the front, not only due its thick armor, but also due to its small silhouette. Therefore, the T-72A will be best protected against incoming fire when placed in a concealed hull-down position.
Fun Fact: The Т-72А was nicknamed ‘Dolly Parton’ by the U.S. intelligence - an unknown “humorist” thought that the turret “cheeks” resembled the spectacular bust of the famous country-singer. The T-72B that had similar cheeks was later called “Super Dolly Parton”.
The much-anticipated T-72A will soon become available to all War Thunder tank commanders with the release of the upcoming update 1.85 "Supersonic". In the meantime, make sure to keep a close eye on the news in order not to miss out on more information regarding the next major update. Until then, happy hunting tankers!
Update 1.85 Devblogs :