US vs Iran
Depleted uranium armour-piercing ammunition for the 125 mm gun has been manufactured in Russia in the form of the BM-32 projectile since around 1978, though it has never been deployed, and is less penetrating than the later tungsten BM-42 and the newer BM-42M, which compares in penetrating ability to the German DM-53.
The T-72 with these enhancements and a skilled, motivated, proficient crew is a formidable opponent, even by twenty-first century standards. The more advanced T-64 and T-80 were always deployed in the forward Soviet divisions in Germany, and the T-72 was intended to be a cheap (approximately one-third cheaper per unit than the T-80) yet efficient and simple-to- maintain battle tank.”
In mid-1997, Iran opened a plant to produce Russian-designed T-72 main battle tanks under license. Then-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani hailed the plant as a “significant step toward technology transfer and strengthening of engineering design in Iran.” In July 2001 Iran started offering T-72 upgrade packages to other nations.
In 2001, “western industry sources said the Islamic republic has contacted Middle Eastern and other former Soviet clients of the T-72. Iran, they said, has touted the T-72 upgrade as the most advanced ever offered outside Russia. Iranian officials said the key change is the night-vision systems that allow the T-72 to fight in all weather and at any time. This includes a modern fire-control systems and advanced sensors.
The T-72 tanks deployed in the Russian army have only recently employed thermal sights. Iran's upgrade is said to contain a laser rangefinder, sensors and night-vision systems for both the commander and gunner. Another change is the 125 mm smoothbore cannon supplied by an automatic loader. The improved cannon is said to improve the range and accuracy of T-72 shell fire. Iran manufactures ammunition for the upgraded cannon. Iran intends to sell the upgraded tank at half the market price. This could garner such customers as Iran's leading ally, Syria, as well as Libya and Yemen.”
Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar