New Sovietskiy T-72UM4 Main Battle Tank:
The T-72 tank was produced in huge numbers before the end of the Cold War and was exported all over the world. Countries which used the tank included Russia, Czech Republic, India, Poland, South Africa, Yugoslavia, and Cuba to name just a few of the countries which used this tank. Approximately 30,000 of this tank were produced before production ceased. When the Soviet Union reformed in the third decade of the Twenty-First Century, it was decided that they would be sold to help finance the rebuilding of their military. At the same time, the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, and Poland continued replacing their own T-72 tanks with new tank designs. They also sold off many of their surviving T-72 tanks.
It was not long before the revolution in new alloys and composites swept the world. This was accompanied by new and much more dangerous ammunition types. Suddenly, the tank forces of the world were virtually ineffective. Many Nations which purchased these tanks, in large numbers or small, began clamoring for an upgrade to their tank forces. The Soviet Military did embark on a huge upgrade of the t-80, T-90, and other tank and combat vehicle chassis lines. At the same time, they offered an upgrade to the T-72. The Czech Republic, Poland, Yugoslavia and several other countries also began offering upgrades to the T-72 which were extremely similar. As well, Poland and Yugoslavia began producing a new version of their own tanks using the new alloys and composites. These designs were also based on the T-72 tank.
As the century progressed, It is surprising just how many T-72 tanks remained in service or in reserves of their respective nations. While most of the larger and more powerful to replace their old tanks with new designs built from modern materials from the beginning, many third world nations simply did not have the finances for a new tank force. They simply kept their rebuilt T-72 tanks even though by this time many were simply falling apart. Often, tanks would be used to provide repair parts for other tanks in order to keep them in service. When the storms shattered the earth with the coming of the Rifts, many were destroyed but quite a number survived as well.
Some of the surviving rebuilt T-72 Tanks wound up in the hands of the fledgling nations which took over the Earth. Others wound up in the hands of mercenaries and adventures. In these hands, many of these old tanks continue to fight on even though many are in extremely decrepit condition. Many have been destroyed and slowly the number of surviving rebuilt T-72 tanks dwindle. It is believed that not too many more years will elapse, maybe another decade or so, until the last of the T-72 tanks are gone. Still, some of the tanks derived from the T-72 will be around for much longer having been constructed from the start from high strength composites and alloys. The tank is actually still produced in Poland even after the coming of the Rifts. There is rumor that a North American Company is looking into copying as a low cost alternative to the various tanks which are offered there.
The main changes in the design is the addition of stronger composite and alloys to allow the tank to survive in the new hostile battle field that the design found itself in. Like most upgraded designs, the T-72 is not nearly as strong as new tank designs. As such, any battle it finds itself in with modern tanks resulted in heavy casualties for the upgraded T-72 tanks. Some items were completely replaced including the treads of the tank. In many ways, the armor upgrades are similar to what is done for the T-90UM1 tank which the Soviet state did retain for much of the Twenty-First Century even though considered by most military leaders to be of limited value.
Unlike the T-90UM1 which is based off of the T-72 design, the T-72UM4 retains the original V-84 diesel engine. The T-72 is more fuel efficient as a result and has slightly greater range than the T-90UM1 with a range of five hundred kilometers with addition fuel carried in an external drum and nine hundred kilometers with an external drum. Maximum speed is around 60 kilometers per hour when on roads and around 45 kilometers per hour off roads. While the tracks were replaced by stronger materials, the transmission was not upgraded. As such, the speed was not improved compared to older models. The tank can ford relatively shallow water of up to 1.2 meters without preparation and up to 5 meters when using a snorkel.
Most upgrades of the T-72 do not include the addition of a radar system although other upgrades are included in the design. This includes thermal imaging systems, laser targeting, and optical systems. Most of these systems are identical to those carried on the upgraded T-80 and T-90 tanks. A missile jamming and decoy system is also added to the tank for additional protection. The crew of the tank remains at three with the compartment fitted with protection against chemical, biological, and radiological warfare. Most modern tanks have fully environmental crew compartments but environmental body armors allow most crews to be in comparative comfort in a wide variety of environments. The compartment is quite cramped though and wearing armor makes it more so.
The Main 125 mm smoothbore 2A46M/ D-81TM is retained with a carousel type auto loader which is what allows crew to be reduced from four to three. The tank carries a total of forty-five rounds with six of them short range missile types. Twenty-two rounds and ready to fire and twenty-three more rounds are carried in a stowed position. A variety of different rounds can be carried in addition to missile types. Plasma type warheads are not often available as an export item. Coaxial to the main gun is a 7.62 mm machine gun. Originally this weapon was meant for use against lighter armored targets. On some versions, this is replaced by a 5 mm light rail gun because of the inadequate damage of the original weapon even with new ammunition types. On top of the turret, in the commander's position, there is a mount for a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. While this was considered more effective than the lighter coaxial mount, it is still only marginally effective. Because of this, the weapon is replaced by a heavy grenade launcher in some models and later by a 10 mm heavy rail gun. While the grenade launcher is not effective against aircraft, it is extremely effective against infantry and even lightly armored vehicles. As such, many crew prefer the weapon. Many crews have also replaced the secondary weapon systems witha variety of different weapon systems and added missile launchers in some cases.
Model Type: T-72UM4
Vehicle Type: Main Battle Tank
Crew: Three (Driver, Gunner, and Commander).
M.D.C. by Location:
| Tractor Treads (2):||50 each|
|125 mm Smooth-Bore Gun:||75|
| 12.7 mm Turret Mounted Heavy Machine Gun (Early Models):||20|
| Automatic Grenade Launcher (Replaces Heavy Machine-gun):||40|
| 10 mm Heavy Railgun (Replaces Heavy Machine-gun):||50|
| 7.62 Machine Guns (Early Model):||10|
| 5 mm Co-axial Railgun (Replaces Medium Machine-gun):||25|
|Multi-Option Jammers (2):||25 each|
| Main Body:||260|
 Depleting the M.D.C. of a tread will immobilize the tank until it is replaced. Replacing a tread will take 1D6x10 minutes by a trained crew (2 replacements are carried on board) or three times as long by the inexperienced. Changing the tread is only advisable when the vehicle is not under attack.
 These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a "called shot," but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
 If all the M.D.C. of the main body is depleted, the vehicle is completely shut down and is unsalvageable.
Ground: 37.3 mph (60 kph) maximum road speed; 28.0 mph (45 kph) maximum off-road speed. The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 60% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 30%.
Underwater: Can be equipped with snorkel to run underwater down to 16.4 feet (5.0 meters)
Maximum Range: 310.7 miles (500 km) plus up to 248.5 miles (400 km) more with a large strap-on rear fuel tank that is ejected before going into battle.
Height: 7.28 feet (2.22 meter) to top of commander's cupola.
Width: 11.78 feet (3.59 meters)
Length: 31.26 (9.53 meter) with gun forward; 22.80 feet (6.95 meters) for just the hull/main body of the tank.
Weight: 45.7 tons (41.5 metric tons)
Power Source: V-84 V-12 Piston air-cooled multi-fuel diesel engine (generating 840 hp at 2,000 rpm.)
Cargo Capacity: Minimal, enough for equipment with crew
Black Market Cost: 1.5 million credits was the production price originally; Remaining tanks sell for double that. If fitted, any extra weapons systems will add to the cost of the tank; T-72 tanks are often found very heavily modified, though they are quite common. Tank crews often personalize them with their pay in the armies of the assorted mercenaries to be considerably different from these Soviet-Era specifications.
- 125 mm Smooth Bore Cannon/Missile Launcher: Mounted in the turret. The T-72UM4 enjoys a +2 to strike for the main gun using the laser targeting sight (not for the ATGMs). The T-72UM4 can also fire the AT-20 ATGW through the 125 mm gun; Truly a multi-purpose weapon that is considerably effective against enemy armor and robots alike. Plasma rounds are a late pre-Rifts innovation and are rare and expensive. They were almost never available for export. Turret can rotate 360 degrees and barrel can elevate up to 14 degrees.
- Top Weapon Mount (1): The tank has a spindle to mount a weapon on the top of the turret which is normally controlled by the commander of the tank. The weapon is designed for use against troops assaulting the tank and against aircraft. Originally the weapon carried was the 12.7 millimeter NSV Machine-gun but the weapon was replaced by a variety of different weapons. The grenade launcher was the favorite replacement weapon by many vehicle crews.
- 12.7 millimeter NSV Machine-gun: While the Soviet military was able to replace the armor of the tank with stronger materials, initially there were no suitable weapons developed for the tank. The best that could be done was to develop new ammunition for the standard machine-gun. The weapon was soon found to be ineffective and was replaced by more powerful weapons.
- ATR-50 Automatic Grenade Launcher: Weapon is very similar to the WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher produced by Wellington Industries and the American Automatic Grenade Launcher operated around the same time but uses a larger grenade and is heavier in design. Weapon was used in vehicles as well as being used in tripod mounts and used by power armors. Weapon can fire single shot or bursts of ten rounds and can inflict heavy damage when burst fired. Unlike the American design, the Soviet automatic grenade launcher only used belts. The tank normally mounted two belts together to increase number of rounds to 400 rounds. It is believed that the Soviets tank crews saw the effectiveness of the M1A5 equipped with this weapon so they decide to replace their heavy machine-gun with this weapon. This mount was never officially mounted on the tank but was very common none-the-less. This weapon remained very popular with tank crews and was not replaced in many of the tanks which carried it. Officially, all mounts were suppose to be replaced by the 10 mm Railgun.
- 10 millimeter GSR-10 Heavy Railgun: The Soviet military was unable to make an effective liquid propellant weapon and instead developed, some say stole, a rail gun design for their existing vehicles. It replaced the 12.7 mm machine-gun in most vehicles although some with the grenade launcher retained that weapon instead. The mount was redesigned so that it can be controlled from within the turret.
- Light Secondary Mount (1): Weapon is Co-axially mounted with the main gun. The original 7.62 long Russian round, while longer and more powerful than the standard Soviet 7.62 Kalishikov round was still considered under powered by most crews. Several officers attempted to convince the government to mount a 14.5 mm heavy machine but the heavy weapon was not adopted. Eventually, the weapon was replaced by a medium rail gun but many crews still preferred a heavy rail gun.
- 7.62 mm PKT Medium Machine-guns (1): Carried on the original T-72 Tank and while underpowered was not replaced until a 5 mm rail gun was developed in the second half of the twenty first century. The American Abrams quickly replaced their medium machine-guns with liquid propellant weapons. While special ammunition was developed, the crews of the tanks still greatly disliked this weapon.
- 5 millimeter GSR-05 Medium Railgun: Finally developed as a replacement for the medium machine-gun. It was much prefered by tank crews but was still considered underpowered compared to other tank mounts.
- Multi-Option "Shtora-8" Jammers (2): These are multi-purpose jamming devices designed to stop incoming missiles and confuse an enemy targeting the T-72U-M4.
Maximum Effective Range: Direct fire range is 6,561 feet (2,000 meters). Has a quadrant site that allows the Sabot (APSD) rounds to be fired indirectly out to 30,839 feet (9,400 meters). Range for missiles varies with short range missile type; Usually Armor Piercing are carried.
Mega-Damage: High Explosive: 1D6x10 with a blast radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters). High Explosive Anti-Tank: 2D6x10, blast radius of 10 feet (3.05 meters). Armor Piercing: 2D4x10+10. Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot: 3D4x10 (optional rule is that cannon gets a critical on a natural 18, 19, or 20 due to its high penetration). Plasma: 4D4x10+5, blast radius of 20 feet (6.1 meters) Mega-Damage for missiles is as per short missile type; almost always Armor Piercing (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Twice per melee.
Payload: 39 gun rounds; Usually 9 HE, 10 HEAT, 12 AP, and 9 APSD. 5 HE, 4 HEAT, 6 AP, and 4 APSD are usually stored in the carrousel; The remaining sixteen rounds require two minutes (Eight melee rounds) by an untrained crew to load into the carrousel, and only one minute (Four melee rounds) by a trained crew. An additional round can be stored, ready to fire, in the main gun. If a round is carried in the barrel, it will probably be HEAT. Six AT-20 ATGWs are also carried; These are essentially a surface to surface version of the standard Rifts short range missile. Armor piercing versions are standard, though plasma and even fusion versions were made. Four are stored in the carrousel; The other two are counted in the reload times for the carrousel above.
Bonuses: +2 to strike at all times with cannon shells from the laser sight; No penalties to fire when vehicle is moving. APSD shells have a +4 bonus for long range fire from the Quadrant sight, but only when the vehicle is not moving. No Bonuses for firing the AT-20s.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
Mega-Damage: Single shot does 1D4 and 40 round burst does 5D6.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (commander).
Payload: 500 rounds (13 bursts).
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
Mega-Damage: 3D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 5D6 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 10 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft. Other special rounds are available.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner (commander) - Single Shot or Ten round bursts.
Payload: 400 Round Double Belt.
Maximum Effective Range: 4,920 feet (1,500 meters)
Mega Damage: Single shot does 2D4 and 20 round burst does 1D6x10+10
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: 1000 rounds (50 bursts).
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
Mega Damage: One round does 1 M.D.C. to M.D.C. targets or 3D6x10 S.D.C. to soft targets. Twenty round bursts do 2D4 M.D.C.
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: Carries 2,000 rounds for the Coaxial mount
Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 feet (609.6 meters)
Mega Damage: One round does 1D4 M.D.C. to M.D.C. targets or 6D6x10 S.D.C. to soft targets. Twenty round bursts do 4D6 M.D.C.; Forty round full bursts do 1D4x10
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of gunner
Payload: Carries 1,000 rounds total (50 full bursts or 25 half-bursts)
Effect: Each firing launches two Chaff rockets, two Flare rockets, and the tank begins emitting a large cloud of smoke, both standard and Anti-Laser Prismatic aerosol ; The Chaff rockets detonate and spread Chaff over the area, the flare rockets floating down by parachute; Effects last for one minute (4 Melee rounds.) The Chaff rockets have a 20% chance of interfering with the course of enemy missiles each (40%, total) that are radar guided so that they miss the tank. The flares have the same percentages, except with IR-guided missiles. The Anti-Laser prismatic aerosol reduces damage by half for any laser beam striking the tank (With the exception of X-ray lasers but not variable frequency lasers; X-Ray lasers suffer no damage modifiers, and variable frequency lasers simply cannot compensate for the variables involved), and adds a +4 difficulty to targeting the tank with a laser guidance system or visually.
Rate of Fire: Usually once every four melee rounds; Effects are not cumulative.
Range: Around tank only; Rough distance of 80 ft (24 m) around tank.
Payload: Sufficient for ten firings; One of each type of jamming option from each side of the vehicle.
- Quadrant sight for long-range targeting of Sabot rounds: +4 to firing the long-range Sabot rounds only, when the vehicle is not moving.
- Full Infrared viewing mode: range of 2 miles (3.2 km), with IR searchlight (+3 to detecting targets with IR when in use, however, +3 to detecting the T-72UM4 with IR equipment when in use, as well.).
- Two Periscopes: Has up to x100 magnification for commander and driver to view out of while maneuvering the vehicle. Visual targeting sight with same magnification possible for gunner.
- Laser targeting system for main gun: range of 2,000 meters.
- Tank is fully NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protected, and all
equipment is hardened against EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse).
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Initial Concepts by Marina O'Leary (LusankyaN@aol.com ).
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2009, Kitsune. All rights reserved.