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Keep'em running.

It is clearly impossible to list all the upgrade programmes offered for armoured vehicles here--a full issue of Armada simply wouldn't suffice. Some are well known and have been extensively described in recent issues of Armada, but others, perhaps less known or publicised, are worthy of a few words in this context.

A good and recent example of a tank that many would have forgotten is the Centurion, or rather the Olifant, as it is known in South Africa, where it is to be given a new lease on life. Indeed, South Africa has recently awarded a $17 million contract to Alvis OMC to upgrade a number of Olifant 1Bs. The nation has between 167 and 172 30-year-old Olifants, but the exact number of vehicles still in running order is not known.

The upgrade mainly concerns the engines, the gun control system and the targeting suite. The engine upgrade is somewhat unusual in that it involves turning the basic diesels into turbo-diesels. This is achieved by fitting four turbochargers with intercoolers, low-compression rate pistons with new blow-by suppressing rings (to prevent compression blast from reaching the sump) and silicon carbide cylinder liners. As a result the power leaps upwards by 15 per cent to 1040 horsepower. The gun actuators are more modestly being replaced with indigenously-developed DC type motors, while, apart from the fitting of an automatic tracking system, the exact nature of the improvement made to the target designation, fire control system and sights remained unclear at time of writing. This puts an end to a replacement programme in which the contenders had been the Challenger 2E, the Leclerc and the T-80U.

Another type that looks as though it will never die is the T-72, which, once upon a time, impersonated terror for the Western World. The type was deemed totally superseded, but given the huge numbers built (about 10,000), there appears to be an unlimited reservoir to (re)produce some rather capable sets of tracks.

The Uralvagonzavod T-72M1M is an example of a thorough modernisation programme that largely draws on lessons learned during the development of the T-90 (itself a redesigned T-72, which was originally known, first as the Objekt 188, then as the T-72BU). The table on the preceeding page summarises the improvements.

Naturally, the T-72 can be further improved with the KBM Arena E projectile and missile interceptor, which can be seen on the preceeding page.

In Jordan, the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) has fitted the Ruag smoothbore gun onto a Challenger 1 turret. Ruag also offers the same gun as part of its Phoenix upgrade package for the M60 tank. The L50 CTG is a drop-in replacement for the M68 with only a few minor modifications to the cradle. Reportedly, it can fire all current and planned Nato 120 mm smoothbore ammunition types.

KADDB is also developing the Falcon reduced-silhouette turret, a unit which offers a minimal silhouette allowing correspondingly higher levels of protection to be achieved for the same mass of armour. It is armed with a Ruag Land Systems 120 mm smoothbore L50 Compact Tank Gun (CTG) and an FHL Claverham autoloader. The latter is fitted in the turret bustle, which incorporates a blow-out panel.

The project is being tackled by KADDB win conjunction with Ruag Land Systems, the Mechanology Design Bureau and IST Dynamics of South Africa, with assistance from various European defence companies. The turret structure was designed and developed in collaboration with the Mechanology Design Bureau. Surveillance, target acquisition and situational awareness systems have been sourced from 4-Sight Optronics and from Thales, while the ballistic fire control systems and autotrackers are supplied by IST Dynamics. Curtiss-Wright provides the gun positioning and stabilisation systems; the turret power management and distribution systems were developed and supplied by CLS Systems.
Parameters T-72M1 T-72M1 M

Weight 43 45

 735 kW V-92S2 or
Engine diesel 573kW V-46-6 617kW V-84MS

Power-to-weight 22.2 (735kW engine)/
ratio, hp/t 18.1 18.6 (617kW engine)

Average speed on
dirt road km/h 35 to 40 40-45

Maximum seed on
highway, km/h 60 65

 125 mm smoothbore 125 mm smoothbore
Main gun 2A46 gun 2A46M;

 Provides stowage
Automatic loading gear of artillery shells Adds missiles

 9K119, on the move,
Guided weapon system No day and at night

 Combined optical,
 thermal and laser
 channel (missile),
Gunner's night sight TPN1-49-23 2-axis stab

Identification 3000 to 3500
range metres 600 active thermal imaging

 Combined optical,
 thermal and laser
 channel (missile)
Gunner's day sight TPDK-1 TPDK-1 twin sight

 PNK-4M, day/night,
Commander's sight TKN-3, day/night elevation stabilised

range (m) day 2000 4000

range (m) night 300 1200

Ballistic computer No Digital

 Two-axis electromech.
 Two-axis with drive azimuth and
 electrohydraulic electrohydraulic
Weapon stabilizer drive elevation

Autotracking No Yes

Improvement of
protection level
of frontal
projections against
APDS Heat shells 1/1 1.25/1.8

 system of TshU-1
 complex, automatic,
 ensures protection
 against antitank means
Smoke-generating with laser guidance
system 902A and rangefinding system

protection system No Against mines

 Satellite navigation
Navigation equipment GPK-59 equipment

Fire fighting 3ZTz13-1 automatic
equipment 3ZTz11-3 quick-acting
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Complete Guide
Author:Richardson, Doug
Publication:Armada International
Date:Dec 1, 2003
Previous Article:Stealth.
Next Article:Unconventional armour.

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