Found a few higher resolution photographs from the recent North Korean military parade. We didn't have a topic for BEST KOREAN armored fighting vehicles, so here it is.
New main battle tank, Abrams-Armata clone based on Ch'ŏnma turret design (welded, box-shaped turret) and Sŏn'gun hull design (i.e. centerline driver's position). The bolts of the armor on the hull front is finally visible given the increased resolution. It might not be ERA given the lack of lines inbetween. Maybe is a NERA module akin to the MEXAS hull add-on armor for the Leopard 2A5?
Other details include an APS with four radar panels (the side-mounted radar panels look a lot different - and a lot more real - than the ones mounted at the turret corners) and twelve countermeasures in four banks (two banks à three launchers each at the turret front, two banks à three launchers on the left and right side of the turret). Thermal imagers for gunner and commander, meteorological mast, two laser warning receivers, 115 mm smoothbore gun without thermal sleeve but with muzze reference system, 30 mm grenade launcher on the turret, six smoke grenade dischargers (three at each turret rear corner)
IMO the layout of the roof-mounted ERA is really odd. Either the armor array covering the left turret cheek is significantly thinner than the armor on the right turret cheek or the roof-mounted ERA overlaps with the armor.
The first ERA/armor element of the skirt is connected by hinges and can probably swivel to allow better access to the track. There is a cut-out in the slat armor for the engine exhaust. Also note the actual turret ring - very small diameter compared to the outer dimensions of the turret.
Stryker MGS copy with D-30 field gun clone and mid engine:
Note there are four crew hatches. Driver (on the left front of the vehicle), commander (on the right front of the vehicle, seat is placed a bit further back), gunner (left side of the gun's overhead mount, next to the gunner's sight) and unknown crew member (right side of gun's overhead mount with 30 mm automatic grenade launcher mounted at the hatch). The vehicle also has a thermal imager and laser rangefinder (gunner's sight is identical to the new tank), but no independent optic for the commander. It also has the same meteorological mast and laser warner receivers as the new MBT.
What is the purpose of the fourth crew member? He cannot realistically load the gun...
The vehicle has a small trim vane for swimming, the side armor is made of very thin spaced steel that is bend on multiple spots, so it clearly is not ceramic armor as fitted to the actual Stryker.
The tank destroyer variant of the same Stryker MGS copy fitted with a Bulsae-3 ATGM launcher.
Note that there is again a third hatch with 30 mm automatic grenade launcher behind the commander's position. Laser warning receivers and trime vane are again stand-out features. The sighting complex for the Bulsae-3 ATGMs is different with a large circular optic (fitted with cover) probably being a thermal imager and two smaller lenses visible on the very right (as seen from the vehicle's point of view) probably containing a day sight and parts of the guidance system.
Non line-of-sight ATGM carrier based on the 6x6 local variant of the BTR, again fitted with laser warning receivers and a trim vane. There are only two hatches and two windows, but there is a three men crew inside.
There are a lot more photos here, but most of them are infantry of missile system (MLRS' and ICBMs).
Disappeared for a long period, Mai_Waffentrager reappeared four months ago.
This time, he took out another photoshoped artifact.
He claimed that the Japanese prototype 105GSR (105 mm Gun Soft Recoil) used an autoloader similar to Swedish UDES 19 project. Then he showed this pic and said it came from a Japanese patent file.
Well, things turn out that it cames from Bofors AG's own patent, with all markings and numbers wiped out.
He has not changed since his Type 90 armor scam busted. Guys, stay sharp and be cautious.
Shortly after Jeeps_Guns_Tanks started his substantial foray into documenting the development and variants of the M4, I joked on teamspeak with Wargaming's The_Warhawk that the next thing he ought to do was a similar post on the T-72.
Haha. I joke. I am funny man.
The production history of the T-72 is enormously complicated. Tens of thousands were produced; it is probably the fourth most produced tank ever after the T-54/55, T-34 and M4 sherman.
For being such an ubiquitous vehicle, it's frustrating to find information in English-language sources on the T-72. Part of this is residual bad information from the Cold War era when all NATO had to go on were blurry photos from May Day parades:
As with Soviet aircraft, NATO could only assign designations to obviously externally different versions of the vehicle. However, they were not necessarily aware of internal changes, nor were they aware which changes were post-production modifications and which ones were new factory variants of the vehicle. The NATO designations do not, therefore, necessarily line up with the Soviet designations. Between different models of T-72 there are large differences in armor protection and fire control systems. This is why anyone arguing T-72 vs. X has completely missed the point; you need to specify which variant of T-72. There are large differences between them!
Another issue, and one which remains contentious to this day, is the relation between the T-64, T-72 and T-80 in the Soviet Army lineup. This article helps explain the political wrangling which led to the logistically bizarre situation of three very similar tanks being in frontline service simultaneously, but the article is extremely biased as it comes from a high-ranking member of the Ural plant that designed and built the T-72. Soviet tank experts still disagree on this; read this if you have some popcorn handy. Talking points from the Kharkov side seem to be that T-64 was a more refined, advanced design and that T-72 was cheap filler, while Ural fans tend to hold that T-64 was an unreliable mechanical prima donna and T-72 a mechanically sound, mass-producible design.
So, if anyone would like to help make sense of this vehicle, feel free to post away. I am particularly interested in:
-What armor arrays the different T-72 variants use. Diagrams, dates of introduction, and whether the array is factory-produced or a field upgrade of existing armor are pertinent questions.
-Details of the fire control system. One of the Kharkov talking points is that for most of the time in service, T-64 had a more advanced fire control system than contemporary T-72 variants. Is this true? What were the various fire control systems in the T-64 and T-72, and what were there dates of introduction? I am particularly curious when Soviet tanks got gun-follows-sight FCS.
-Export variants and variants produced outside the Soviet Union. How do they stack up? Exactly what variant(s) of T-72 were the Iraqis using in 1991?
-WTF is up with the T-72's transmission? How does it steer and why is its reverse speed so pathetically low?