On the T-72, the commander's cupola is positioned on the right side of the turret, and the entire assembly traverses, allowing the commander to search independently of the turret's orientation. This clear photograph shows the construction of the commander's cupola, as well as the controls for the machine gun.
Looking down on the commander's hatch, one can see details of the mount for the infra-red searchlight. The rough cast texture of the hatch is noteworthy. The box that is in the foreground (unfortunately out of focus) protects the sight for the antiaircraft machine gun.
An infra-red spotlight is mounted on the front of the commander's cupola, which is rotated aft on this tank.
Although not of the greatest quality, this shows the machine gun mount on the commander's cupola. Normally fitted with a 12.7mm NSVT (NOT the classic DShK!), the gun is, not surprisingly, removed from this example. The gun's elevation and traverse controls can be seen, as well as the twin springs which serve as equilibrators.
This shot shows the aperture for the left side of the gunner's coincidence rangefinder. In front of that, one of the turret lifting hooks is quite prominent, with a large grab handle below that. At the extreme right, the mounts for the deep-wading snorkel can be seen.
Looking at the left side of the turret, one can see right into the gunner's coincidence rangefinder. This is a distinguishing feature of early T-72s; on the T-72M and later, the optical rangefinder was replaced with a laser, changing the turret's contours significantly. Behind the sight aperture can be seen the gunner's infra-red sight (covered) and accompanying infra-red spotlight. This shot also highlights the different textures and weld seams of the cast turret.
This photograph of the left rear of the turret shows the construction of the rear stowage bin and some details of the snorkel. The light behind the gunner's hatch is to allow vehicles following this one in combat to keep track of this tank's location.
Here is the gunner's hatch, on the left side of the turret. The round hatch in the centre of the gunner's hatch is for the attachment of the deep-wading snorkel. Behind the gunner's hatch can be seen the raised station-keeping light and the vehicle identification light, while to the left is a rubber-coated antenna mount.
Here is a closeup of the stowage bin on the right side of the turret. This view affords a good view of how the stowage bin attaches to the turret. The cast texture of the T-72's turret is evident here, including the weld mark around the turret lifting hook behind the bin. Details of the ring for the commander's cupola can be seen as well.
Our final photograph, looking forward up the right fender, illustrates some details of the stowage bins and the complexities of the turret shape in this area.