April 18 (UPI) -- A Russian T-72 tank has been converted for unmanned operation as a target vehicle by a business unit of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc.
The tank now operates on Kratos/Micro Systems' Army Ground Aerial Target Control System, a vehicle and datalink agnostic control system that has been interfaced to a wide variety of target vehicles.
"Micro Systems is proud to support the U.S. Army's Targets Management Office with new capabilities to provide highly threat representative target vehicles to support their efforts to develop capabilities to keep our homeland and warriors safe," Kevin Ferguson, senior vice president of Kratos Micro Systems, said in a press release.
The T-72 first came into service with the Soviet Union in 1973 and is still used by the Russian military, although the T-90 is now the country's main battle tank.
Kratos did not disclose how, when or from where it obtained the vehicle but it was also in service with some Warsaw Pact countries which are now part of, or aligned with, NATO.
"Converting the T-72 presented a unique set of challenges not normally encountered with conventional vehicles," Kratos Defense & Security Solutions officials said. "The dual tiller steering system required high levels of force and displacement. The operating environment was harsh as well, with high levels of vibration, temperature, and dust."
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is headquartered in California.