According to information published by the Radio Television of Serbia on July 29, 2022, the Ministry of Defense of North Macedonia confirms the donation of its T-72A Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine. On July 30, 2022, a video was published on Social Network showing a convoy of main battle tanks on the way to Ukraine.
According to the military balance, North Macedonia’s armed forces have a total of Soviet-made T-72A Main Battle Tanks (MBTs). Citing information from the Ministry of Defense from North Macedonia, the T-72A donated to Ukraine will be replaced by Western tanks to equip one battalion. The number of T-72A tanks donated to Ukraine was not specified.
North Macedonia formally became NATO’s 30th member on 27 March 2020. A strategic defense review was released in 2018, which set out aims to optimize, reorganize and modernize the armed forces into a small, modern, and flexible force. A 2019–2028 Defense Capability Development Plan (DCDP) consolidated long-term development goals aimed at developing collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis-management capabilities.
A Mid-term Defense Capabilities Development Plan, adopted in January 2020, is intended to help implement the DCDP. A new Defense Strategy, signed in March 2020, indicated development priorities as well as guidelines for improving defense planning. Work on MoD restructuring is underway.
The T-72A is the second generation of MBT in the T-72 family that entered production in 1970 and was accepted for service with the Russian army in June 1979.
The main armament of the T-72A consists of one 125 mm (2A46) smoothbore gun fitted with a light-alloy thermal sleeve and a bore evacuator. The gun fires three main types of separate loading ammunition, APFSDS with a maximum range of 2,100 m, HEAT-FS with a maximum direct fire range of 4,000 m, and HE-FRAG(FS) with a maximum indirect fire range of 9,400 m.
The overall layout of the T-72A is similar to all Soviet tank series with the driver’s compartment at the front, the combat turret in the center, and the engine and transmission at the rear. The tank has a crew of three thanks to the use of an automatic loading system with 24 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. The tank carries a total of 39 rounds, 12 are APFSDS-T, 21 HE-FRAG(FS), and the remaining six HEAT-FS. The additional rounds of ammunition are stowed in racks behind the turret basket and in indentations in the rear floor fuel cell and second forward right cell near the driver.
The T-72A is powered by a V-12 piston V-46-6 multi-fuel air-cooled engine developing 780 hp. The tank can reach a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 480 km that can be extended to 550 km with the use of two additional fuel drums mounted at the rear of the chassis.
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