The defense of the Kuril Islands will be strengthened by the “missile” T-72B3 tanks. This is one of the most modern vehicles in the Arsenal of the Armed Forces. Its main advantage is a unique combination of optoelectronic sights and guided missiles that are fired from the barrel. T-72B3 will reliably cover the coast of the Kuril Islands: they will be able not only to destroy enemy amphibious means, but also to sink his small ships, experts are sure.
It is expected that the complete rearmament and mastering of equipment by personnel will take one to two years, sources told Izvestia in the military department. The first cars have already been delivered to the islands. In the summer, the crews mastered the novelties on simulators, and in the fall they performed a set of practical exercises.
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As previously reported in the Ministry of Defense, the driver-mechanics passed the control check, competing in driving the T-72B3 on rough terrain. They had to overcome mine barriers, track bridges, anti-tank ditches, ascents and descents. The total length of the route was 6 km. All crews coped with the assigned tasks.
“The T-72B3 is a fairly modern machine,” military expert Alexei Khlopotov told Izvestia. – Compared to the base version, this version is equipped with an increased power engine, a thermal imaging sight, an improved fire and communication control system, and additional protection. In fact, we are talking about the fire reinforcement of troops on the islands. The new technology should become an effective support for army units in anti-amphibious operations.
The 68th Army Corps, headquartered in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, is responsible for the defense of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. Units of the 18th machine-gun and artillery division, the only one of its kind in the Armed Forces, are located directly on the Kuril Islands. It includes a separate tank battalion, in addition, tank units are part of the machine-gun and artillery regiments.
A mobile armored element is absolutely essential for the defense of the Kuril Islands, military expert Viktor Murakhovsky is sure.
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“Tanks are a universal weapon of the battlefield,” the specialist told Izvestia. “Within line of sight, they can hit any protected target. Shooting at ships from the shore is not a problem for them. A ship, and even a boat, is a larger target compared to conventional targets for a tank. The vehicle’s ammunition is quite versatile: sub-caliber shells, high-explosive fragmentation, cumulative shells.
Stationary emplacements cover only certain directions. They cannot provide protection for the entire coast, the expert noted.
– Having an armored mobile fist, which can act as a fire and strike means on any part of the coast, the antiamphibious defense will be much stronger, – explained Viktor Murakhovsky. – In cooperation with motorized riflemen and under the cover of air defense, the vehicles are quite capable of dropping troops into the sea. It is a versatile, well-proven tool. And the T-72B3 is a modern tank with improved combat and operational characteristics. Its firepower, protection and command controllability are noticeably higher than that of the Soviet modification of the T-72B.
As Izvestia previously reported, last year the units located on Sakhalin received “jet” T-80BVM tanks. Despite the fact that the “eighty” was put into service in the mid-1970s, after modifications it turned into a combat vehicle that meets the most modern requirements. T-80BVM received a modern fire control system “Sosna-U” with a thermal imager, laser rangefinder and automatic target tracking. This seriously increased the tank’s firepower. In addition, the vehicle can now fire missiles. It has specially installed a complex of guided weapons “Reflex”, which allows you to hit sea targets at long distances. The system uses a laser beam to direct supersonic missiles launched from the cannon barrel at the target. Their flight range is about 5 km, which is 2 km longer than that of conventional tank shells.
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In recent years, the Ministry of Defense has been seriously strengthening the defense of the Kuril Islands. Units and formations stationed on the islands were reinforced by separate UAV units. They received the Orlan-10 medium drone, which has proven itself in a combat situation in Syria. For the first time, drones were massively used in the Kuril Islands in 2015. Then, exercises were conducted on the islands, where they practiced repelling the landing of an assault force from the sea. During the maneuvers, the UAVs “Granat-1”, “Granat-4” and “Zastava” were actively used, which carried out reconnaissance, controlled the landing of troops and adjusted the fire. Since then, there have been more tasks for UAVs in the Kuril Islands. For example, drones can perform the functions of scouts and spotters for the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems.
Tank subunits and units in the Far East, with a few exceptions, are re-equipped with T-80BVM tanks. The same technique is being sent to parts of the Arctic. This is due to the fact that these machines are equipped with gas turbine power plants. They run easily even in severe frosts. At the same time, the operational readiness of the machines is achieved in a matter of minutes. For comparison, a diesel engine takes up to 40 minutes to warm up.
T-72B3 is a Russian main battle tank. This modification of the T-72 family was developed as a cheaper alternative to the T-90A before the army received the new generation T-14 Armata vehicles. T-72B3 is equipped with reactive armor “Relikt”, a 2A46M-5-01 cannon, a V-92S2F engine, an automated gearbox, a digital display and a rear-view TV camera. There is also a traffic control system with a voice informant about critical operating modes of the units. Most of the parameters of the tank have been brought to the level of the T-90A. The weapon can also be used to launch guided missiles.