Not to be confused with T-84, a Ukrainian main battle tank.
This article is about the Yugoslav tank. For other uses, see M84 (disambiguation).

Croatian Army M-84A4 tank column in Zagreb victory parade 2015
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  Yugoslavia
Service history
In service 1985–present
Wars Persian Gulf War
Yugoslav Wars
Production history
Designer Military Technical Institute Belgrade
Designed 1979‒1983
Produced 1984‒1991 (Yugoslavia)
1991‒2003 (Croatia)
Number built ~650
Weight 41.5 tonnes
Length 9.53 m
Width 3.57 m
Height 2.19 m
Crew 3 (commander, gunner, driver)

Armor composite alloy; including high-hardness steel, glass-reinforced plastic, RHA steel, and either sand or granite in the front of turret (M-84A).
125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun
7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun, 5 smoke grenade launchers
Engine diesel V-46TK
1,000 hp (746 kW)
Power/weight 24.10 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
Fuel capacity 1200 + 400l
700 km
Speed 68 km/h

The M-84 is a Yugoslav third generation main battle tank, a variant of the Soviet T-72. The M-84 is in service in Serbia, Kuwait, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Development and production

The M-84 is based on the Soviet T-72 but with several modifications, including a domestic fire-control system, improved composite armor, and a 1000-hp engine. The M-84 entered service with the Yugoslav People's Army in 1984. The improved M-84A version entered service a few years later.

There were about 240 Yugoslav factories which directly participated in the production of the M-84 and about 1,000 others which participated indirectly. The main factories were:

The latest Serbian version of the M-84 is the M-84AS, unveiled in 2004. It features a new fire control system, Kontakt-5 ERA armor, AT-11 Sniper anti-tank missiles, Agava-2 thermal sight, and the Shtora defensive suite. It is very similar to the Russian T-90S, both in appearance and in capability.

About 150 M-84 tanks were exported to Kuwait. The disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s prevented further exports of the M-84.



The M-84A is armed with a 125 mm smooth bore cannon. The gas cylinder positioned in the middle of the barrel is shielded with a thermal coating that minimizes deformation of the barrel from high temperatures and ensures it is cooled at the same rate during rapid firing. The M-84 uses an automatic loader, which enables it to sustain a firing rate of 8 rounds per minute.

The cannon's ammunition is stowed underneath the turret (40 rounds) within the hull of the tank. This concept was inherited from the original Soviet design for T-72 and is both a strength and weakness of the tank. While the lower hull beneath the turret is one of the least likely place to be hit and penetrated by antitank rounds or mines, it also means, that in the event of penetration and secondary detonation of the ammunition, the crew and tank are unlikely to survive the resulting catastrophic explosion. This weakness was exploited by Croatian soldiers in the Croatian War of Independence to the detriment of the Yugoslav People's Army's tank crews. In later stages of the conflict, losses were reduced by adjusting and improving tactics.

Along with its primary armament, the M-84 is also armed with one 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, and one 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun mounted on the commander's turret.

All versions of the M-84 have a crew of three. The commander sits on the right side of the turret, the gunner on the left, and the driver sits centrally at the front end of the vehicle. Like most Soviet derived vehicles, the M-84 series of tanks do not have a manual loader, due to the tank's autoloader system.


The basic tank has a cast steel turret with maximal thickness of 410mm; later, in the M-84A version, a segment made out of a non-metal, most likely granite or quartz, was sandwiched between layers of steel. The glacis uses laminate armor, glass in plastic resin between two steel plates, in the A version an 16mm steel plate was welded on the glacis. Total armor protection ranges between 550mm-650mm for the glacis and 560mm-700mm for the turret. During the wars in Yugoslavia the M-84's frontal armor proved very effective against any type of AT threat. Side or rear hits often result in a catastrophic ammo explosion.

Twelve smoke grenades are positioned in front of the turret in banks of five and seven grenades. Night vision and gunner's sight are positioned on the top-right side of the turret. The M-84 has a search light used in short-range combat situations.

The M-84 tank has nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection capabilities.


The base M-84 engine is a 12-cylinder water-cooled V46-6 diesel engine, rated at 574 kW (780 hp). The improved M-84A has a more powerful, V46-TK 735 kW (1,000 hp) engine. With maximum fuel capacity (1,200 litres) the tank's range is 450 km, and with external fuel tanks, this range can be extended to 650 km.

The Croatian-made variants have enhanced power plants. The M-84A4 Sniper model has a German-built 820 kW (1,100 hp) engine, while the M-84D has an 895 kW (1,200 hp) engine, the most powerful of all M-84 variants. The M-84D also has greater fuel capacity (1,450 litres).

The tank can ford 1.2 meters of water at any time, or up to 5 meters with a snorkel.


M-84 (Yugoslavia) - The initial version based on the Soviet T-72M and produced between 1984 and 1987. Less than 150 units manufactured.

Operational history

Desert Storm

Prior to the Persian Gulf War, Kuwait ordered 170 M-84ABs, 15 M-84ABI ARVs and 15 M-84ABK command tanks, from Yugoslavia. Four M-84A tanks were delivered, however the Iraqi Army soon captured them after the occupation. Further deliveries were stopped for the duration of the war. The Kuwaiti 35th Al-Shaheed Armored Brigade was equipped with 70 M-84s. During the retaking of the country, the 35th Brigade did not directly take part in battles with Iraqi tanks because of the M-84s similarity to Iraqi T-72/Asad Babils. The M-84 was however very effective against T-62s and T-55s but some unconfirmed reports claim that a few of them were damaged, but recovered and repaired.

Yugoslav wars


During the Ten-Day War, the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attempted to regain control over border crossings, airports and other strategic positions in Slovenia. The Slovenian Territorial Defence had no armored units of its own and JNA M-84s were commonly used to break through barricades. The JNA lost some 20 M-84s to insurgent tactics. Slovenia inherited all the M-84s within its territory, once the ceasefire and Slovenia's independence was accepted.


The M-84 saw action in the Battle of Vukovar, where the JNA and Serbian forces deployed large columns of main battle tanks in urban areas without the adequate support of the infantry. Tanks and APCs found themselves extremely exposed and suffered significant losses mainly to RPGs. It was noted by anti tank crews that the M-84s were extremely durable in comparison to other vehicles fielded by the JNA. One account from a team in the Battle of Vukovar noted that a single M-84 took 5 rounds from various launchers and direction with a 6th only knocking out its engine forcing its crew to bail out(its main gun being destroyed by a "lucky" AT shot from an RPG-7).

Bosnia and Herzegovina

During the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, M-84s saw little action; the mainstay of all three warring parties was the T-55. At the beginning of war, JNA units located in Bosnia and Herzegovina had passed their equipment to the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS). The VRS had several dozen M-84s with the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina managing to capture only three M-84s. A number of M-84 tanks were used during the Siege of Sarajevo, as well during smaller localized conflicts.

The number of M-84 tanks destroyed during the Bosnian war is unknown.


Map with M-84 operators in blue with former operators in red
A Croatian Army M-84A4
Kuwaiti M-84AB
Slovenian M-84

Current operators


Former operators

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro
Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republika Srpska
Republic of Serbian Krajina

See also

Related developments
Designation sequence

T-72 - M-84 - Vihor - M-84D - M-95 Degman & M-84AS


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