Bulgarian government adopts update of T-72 tank modernisation project

At a meeting on February 16, Bulgaria’s government adopted an updated version of the project to modernise the country’s T-72 tanks.

In December 2020, under a previous government, Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry signed a 78.7 million leva (about 40.2 million euro) two-year contract with Bulgarian firm Terem for the modernisation of 44 of the army’s T-72 main battle tanks, the ministry said.

The T-72 is Soviet-made and first went into production in 1971.

Speaking after the February 16 meeting, government spokesperson Lena Borislavova told reporters that the value of the updated project was about 99 million leva.

A government statement said that the updated investment project aims to overcome the technological backwardness of the tank formations in terms of fire control systems, security of communications and situational awareness.

The updated project takes into account the need for delivery, installation and integration of HF/VHF radios with built-in encryption module.

The T-72 decision was one of three taken at the Cabinet meeting connected to deficits in Bulgaria’s military equipment.

The others involved the acquisition from the US of radio communication equipment for tanks and military vehicles, for about 35 million leva, and improving the mobility of special operations forces, at a cost of about 60 million leva.

The Cabinet decisions followed a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security, called against the background of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, at which participants agreed that Bulgaria’s military modernisation and defence spending should be stepped up.

(Photo of Bulgarian army T-72 tanks: US Army)

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