Origin CCCP Soviet Union
Role Battle Tank
Manufacturer Uralvagonzavod
Primary user Russian Army
Ethiopian Army
General characteristics
Crew 3
Length 9.53 m (31.3 ft)
Width 3.59 m (11.9 ft)
Height 2.23 m (7.4 ft)
Loaded weight 44.5 tons
Armament 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun
7.62 mm PKT coax machine gun
12.7 mm NSVT antiaircraft machine gun
Engine V-12 diesel
780 hp (582 kw)
Speed 60 km/h (37 mph)
Range 460 km (290 mi)

The T-72 is a Soviet second-generation main battle tank that entered production in 1971. About 20,000 T-72 tanks were built, making it one of the most widely produced post–World War II tanks, second only to the T-54/55 family. The T-72 was widely exported and saw service in 40 countries and in numerous conflicts. Improved variants are still being built for export customers.


Uralvagonzavod produced the first prototype with a 125-mm gun and V-45K engine in 1968 as "Object 172". After intensive comparative testing with the T-64A, Object 172 was re-engineered in 1970 to deal with some minor problems. However, being only a "mobilization model", a serial production of Object 172 was not possible in peacetime. In an unclear political process decree number 326-113 was issued, which allowed the production of Object 172 in the Soviet Union from 1. January 1972 and freed Uralvagonzavod from the T-64A production.

The first batch was built as "Object 172M" and, after some modifications, it was tested again in 1973 and accepted into service as the "T-72" under Soviet ministry directive number 554-172 dated 7 August 1973.

At least some technical documentation on the T-72 is known to have been passed to the CIA by the Polish Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski between 1971 and 1982.

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