MOSCOW --- Russia will export 170 T-72 main battle tanks (MBT) to Sudan, according to the Izvestia newspaper.
Moscow and Khartoum have already agreed the delivery of the MBTs. Therefore, Sudan is planned to receive 150 T-72 tanks at an early date. The remaining 20 MBTs are supposed to be delivered as a source of spare parts for the main batch of the vehicles. Khartoum will get the excess T-72 MBTs, Izvestia said. The relevant works on the preparation of the combat vehicles delivery to Sudan have already started, a source in the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) told the newspaper.
"[Moscow and Khartoum - TASS] have been discussing the issue [the delivery of tanks - TASS] since 2011; the final agreement was reached at the Army 2016 military-technical forum held outside Moscow in September 2016. Therefore, [Russia] is planning to deliver 170 excess T-72 tanks to Sudan," the source told Izvestia.
According to him, Khartoum will receive 150 stored T-72s and 20 tanks to be cannibalized. "The MBTs to be delivered to Sudan will be combat-ready. However, [Khartoum] decided to acquire an early variant of T-72 not armed with anti-tank guided missiles [ATGM]," the source said.
According to several defense analysts, the Sudanese armour units are not weak. In 2010-2013, the country’s Armed Forces took the delivery of 130 T-72AV and 60 T-55A MBTs supplied by the Ukrainian SpetsTekhnoEksport company.
The T-72AV tank is a variant of the basic T-72A MBT equipped with the Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armour (ERA) developed by NII Stali (now a subsidiary of the Tractor Plants Concern). T-72AV has a full length of 9,530 mm, a hull length of 6,860 mm, a width of 3,460 mm, a height of 2,190 mm, a clearance of 470 mm, a crew of three tankers, a maximum road speed of 60 km/h and an operational range of 700 km.
The tank is armed with a 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov PKT coaxial machinegun, and a 12.7 mm NSVT roof-mounted anti-aircraft (AA) heavy machinegun.
T-55A MBT has a full length of 9,000 mm, a hull length of 6,200 mm, a width of 3,270 mm, a height of 2,350 mm, a clearance of 425 mm, a crew of four tankers, a maximum road speed of 50 km/h and an operational range of 500 km. The tank is armed with a 100 mm D-10T2S rifled gun, a 7.62 mm Kalashnikov PKT coaxial machinegun, and a 12.7 mm DShKM roof-mounted AA heavy machinegun.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a prominent exporter of MBTs to Sudan. Khartoum is reported to have received several dozens of Type 85-IIM (designated as Al-Bashier in the Sudanese service - TASS) and Type 59D MBTs. The Type 85-IIM tank has a full length of 9,340 mm, a width of 3,372 mm, a height of 2,300 mm, a clearance of 480 mm, a crew of three tankers, a maximum road speed of 57 km/h and an operational range of 480 km.
The vehicle is armed with a non-licensed copy of the 125 mm 2A46M smoothbore gun, a 7.62 mm Type 59T coaxial machinegun, and a 12.7 mm Type 54 (a copy of DShK - TASS) roof-mounted AA heavy machinegun. Type 59D is an improved variant of the T-55 Soviet tank that was produced under the Type 59 designation in the PRC.
It should be noted that in the 1990s Sudan took the delivery of 100 T-55 tanks supplied by Belarus and 20 T-55 MBTs supplied by Poland.
According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Sudanese Armed Forces operate 465 tanks, including 20 M60A3, 60 Type 59/Type 59D, 305 T-54/55, 70 T-72M1, and 10 Type 85-IIM.