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Bulgaria unveils modernised T-72

HEMUS 2022 saw TEREM‘s first public presentation of the T-72 following its modernisation using Elbit hardware. The designation of this upgraded T-72 is yet to be decided. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Bulgaria unveiled a modernised T-72 main battle tank (MBT) upgraded by the state-owned TEREM holding company on the opening day of the HEMUS 2022 defence exhibition held in Plovdiv from 1 to 4 June. The modernisation programme has focused on increasing the tank‘s situational awareness and the accuracy of its main gun. It represents the first serious attempt by the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to overcome some of the shortcomings of the original T-72M1 design, which has been in service with the Bulgarian Army since the 1980s.

The tank has received Elbit Systems' Thermal Imaging Fire Control System (TIFCS) – a standalone system designed by the Israeli company specifically for use in former Soviet and Russian designed T-55/62/72/80/90 MBTs. The new fire control system (FCS) adds a meteorological sensor, enabling external weather and wind conditions to be fed into the digital ballistic computer. The original 1K13 infrared sight has been replaced with Elbit's TIFCS gunner sight – a second generation+ thermal imaging sight with a charge coupled device for daylight use. The sight is protected by a shroud and a steel shutter that is up to 10 mm in thickness. It also incorporates a laser rangefinder that can detect targets at up to 9,000 m.

Elbit Systems' Laser Warning System (ELAWS) has also been added around the turret, with four units providing 360° coverage. They can not only detect and provide the location of laser emissions but can also distinguish between the emissions from rangefinders and anti-tank guided missiles . However, a TEREM representative told Janes

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