Russian 201st military base deployed in Tajikistan has replaced its old combat vehicles with 30 upgraded T-72B3M tanks before the end of 2021, the Russian 201st military base press center said.

Army Technology says T-72B3M is an upgraded variant of the T-72B3 main battle tank (MBT).

The T-72B3M tank was exhibited for the first time to the public during the 2014 Tank Biathlon World Championship held in October 2014.

The layout of the T-72B3M is identical to that of the standard T-72 with driver’s cab at forward hull, fighting compartment in the center and the power-pack at the rear.  The tank is manned by a crew of three, including a driver, a commander and a gunner.  The middle section of the forward hull houses the driver, while the turret accommodates the other two crew members.

The tank features an advanced fire control system and a new thermal sight.  The mobility and combat characteristics of the tank have also been improved to compete with the most advanced tanks worldwide.

The T-72B3M tank is also equipped with radio systems for encrypted digital voice and data transfer, snorkels for deep fording, and a built-in blade for self-entrenching.

The T72B3M is armed with a 2A46M5 125mm smoothbore gun, which is an advanced version of the 2A46M cannon.  It can fire a range of ammunition, including armor-piercing discarding sabot (APDS), high-explosive fragmentation (HEF) and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), as well as 9M119 Refleks (NATO codename: AT-11 Sniper) guided anti-tank missiles.  The projectiles and missiles are loaded by an auto-loader.

The Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan is subordinate to the Central Military District.  It is Russia's largest non-naval military facility outside the country.

It was officially opened in Tajikistan in 2004 under a previous agreement, which was signed in 1993, and hosts Russia’s largest military contingent deployed abroad.  A total of some 7,000 Russian troops are now stationed at two military facilities collectively known as the 201st military base - in Dushanbe and Bokhtar (formerly Qurghon Teppa), some 100 kilometers from Dushanbe.