The T-72 medium tank family is one of the most influential and widespread tank branches in history. Its many variants have been used by the Russian military and exported to or license-produced by around 40 countries all over the world. Its long history, which began with its development in the mid-60s, continues even today with deep modernization programs such as the T-72B3. The variant we are going to focus on today comes from the late 70s and is considered to be the first major upgrade of the original T-72 Ural.
On 16th of December 1976, the Uralvagonzavod design bureau in Nizhny Tagil under V.N.Venediktov – creator of the original T-72 – was ordered to develop an upgrade to the T-72 Ural with the goal of improving its combat characteristics. The project was designated Object 176. It took over two years to complete and on the 22nd of June 1979 the Soviet military officially accepted the vehicle into service under the designation of T-72A.