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Bulgarian T-72 upgrade expected to be completed in 2023

Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov expects the modernisation of Bulgaria's T-72 tanks to be completed by the end of April 2023 (photo of upgraded T-72 unveiled at the HEMUS 2022 defence exhibition in June). (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said during a visit to the Novo Selo training ground that the modernisation of Bulgaria's T-72 main battle tanks will be completed by the end of April 2023, his ministry reported on its website on 20 September. He expected the command and information systems for the upgrade to be delivered soon.

Bulgarian Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brigadier General Nikolay Karaivanov gave a briefing on the upgrade and the new capabilities it entails. The systems being installed were presented, including the battle management system, laser warning receivers, ‘autonomy enhancement system', and tank monitoring and control system.

At the Novo Selo training ground, military personnel from the Specialist Training Center in Sliven conducted firings of the tank gun with various ammunitions at different ranges and with the co-axial machine gun when the vehicle was stationary and on the move. The capabilities of the upgraded tank's thermal imaging camera at night and in poor visibility were also demonstrated.

The upgrade is being conducted by the Terem Khan Krum plant in Targovishte. A total of 44 T-72s are being modernised – 40 for the Bulgarian Ground Forces, which will equip their 61st Mechanised Infantry Brigade in Sliven with the upgraded tanks, and four for the ‘Vasil Levski' National Military University.

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