Russia Ships 20 Tanks to Nicaragua in $80M Military Deal


Published 29 April 2016

The tank purchase is part of an effort to modernize the country’s military.

Russia has shipped the first 20 of 50 tanks to Nicaragua in a move that has confounded certain analysts.

The $80 million purchase of the 50 T-72B tanks marks an dramatic uptick in Nicaragua’s military expenditures. In spite of the increased military expenditures, Nicaragua still pales in comparison to its neighbors. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic outspent the rest of the isthmus by nearly $100 million in 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Nicaraguan military spokesman Colonel Manuel Guevara Rocha said it was part of efforts to modernize the nation’s fighting force, much of which had become outdated, Spanish news source El Pais reported.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti said that its government had already given Nicaragua 12 anti-aircraft missile defense systems, two helicopters, and a “lot” of armored vehicles.


So it comes to about $1.6 million per tank


 Map Map


The T-72 Ural main battle tank was developed as a cheaper and more reliable, however less capable alternative to the T-64. It entered service with Soviet army in 1973. A total of 30 000 tanks of this type were produced in the Soviet Union, China, Czechoslovakia, India, Romania and Yugoslavia. It was exported to about 30 countries. At the end of 1990s Russia operated around 9 000 of these main battle tanks.

   The T-72 is protected by composite armor. Some sources claim that front armor of the T-72 is equivalent to 500-600 mm of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA). In the 1970s it was adequate, however it is not much by modern standard. Side armor provides protection against IFV and helicopter cannons. Later production models were fitted with side skirts. The T-72 is completed with NBC protection system and automatic fire extinguishing equipment.

   This main battle tank is completed with a 125-mm smoothbore gun, fitted with new carousel-type autoloader. Previous autoloader on the T-64 was unreliable and had a number of other drawbacks. However autoloader of the T-72 was slower than that, used on the T-64. Maximum rate of fire is up to 8 rounds per minute, or 1-2 rounds per minute, when loaded manually. A total of 39 rounds for the main gun are carried. Effective range of fire with APFSDS round is about 2 000 – 3 000 day and 850-1 300 m at night. Armor penetration is about 590-630 mm of RHA at 2 000 m range.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof in the opened mount.

   Vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

Entered service 1973
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 41 t
Length (gun forward) 9.53 m
Hull length 6.86 m
Width 3.46 m
Height 2.19 m
Main gun 125-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range – 5 to + 14 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 39 rounds
Machine guns 2 000 x 7.62, 300 x 12.7
Engine V-46 diesel
Engine power 780 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.85 m
Trench 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m



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