Armor: WZT-3M Tank Recovery Vehicles

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November 24, 2011: India ordered another 204 WZT-3M tank recovery vehicles (which use a T-72 chassis) from an Indian company. The WZT-3Ms will be built under license, as the design is Polish. India already has 352 WZT-3Ms that were built in Poland. The WZT-3M is designed to handle T-72 tanks, and similar models (like the T-90).

India is one of the largest operators of T-72 tanks in the world. That includes T-72 variants. Five years ago India adopted the Russian T-90 as its new main battle tank. There will be local production of about a thousand T-90s over the next 14 years. India already has imported 310 T-90s. By 2020, India will have 2,000 upgraded T-72s, over 1,500 T-90s, and few hundred other tanks. This will be the most powerful armored force in Eurasia, unless China moves ahead with upgrades to its tank force. The border between China and India is high in the Himalayan Mountains, which is not good tank country. India's tank force is mainly for use against Pakistan.

The T-90 is a highly evolved T-72. Originally, the T-90 was a fallback design. The T-80 was supposed to be the successor to the T-72. But like the T-62 and T-64 before it, the T-80 didn't quite work out as planned. So the T-72, with a much improved turret and all manner of gadgets, was trotted out as the T-90. Weighting 47 tons, the T-90 is 9.6 meters (31 feet) long, 3.77 meters (12.4 feet wide) and 2.27 meters (7.5 feet) high. Same package as the T-72, but better contents. And with well-trained crews, it can be deadly. India doesn't have to worry about facing M-1s. The main enemy is Pakistan, which has T-72s, a few T-80s and many older T-55s (the Chinese version.)

 

 


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