By March 2016 the Ukrainian military had begun testing its new weapon which was designed by National Guard grunts. Ukraine’s Azov Regiment has announced that its newest creation – an 'innovative tank' called the ‘Azovets’ – was undergoing a series of tests in order to assess its capabilities.
"Azov’s tank crewmen are ready to start working with the Azovets experimental armored fighting vehicle. It is a unique vehicle designed first and foremost for urban combat," a statement posted on the regiment’s official website said.
Although it is a regular military unit serving with Ukraine's National Guard, the regiment was originally a volunteer battalion comprised of right-wing extremists with an affinity for Nazi symbolism. Azovets' creators claimed that a vehicle for urban warfare was in fact invented by Nazi Germany during WWII, and that their tank’s ability to engage targets located on upper floors would make it an efficient weapon during a city-fight.
The Azovets has a crew complement of four and despite being called a tank, is armed with two twin-linked autocannons and guided anti-tank missile launchers of an as-yet unspecified type. Furthermore, the Azovets' creators claim that their vehicle’s formidable defensive capabilities make it virtually impervious to all types of anti-tank weaponry in existence.
The combat vehicle can be used in the conduct of combat in urban environments. The vehicle has two combat modules that allow their operators to control the situation, having a field of view of 180 degrees each. Thus, the speed of response to the situation is doubled. Armed with a tank has twin aircraft guns with a great rate of fire. In addition, developers have designed the unique protection of the machine, which enables it to withstand almost all known munitions provided for defeat armored vehicles.
Ukraine inherited a few T-80B/UD, but vastly fewer than T-64. The number of spare parts for T-64 is also huge because all stocks from GSFG ended up at Kharkov. Similar vehicles developed before the crisis used T-64 chassis too. Kharkov had presented their own take on a heavy IFV based on T-64 years ago, called BMP-64. Such tank chassis are available, but the government of Ukraine would not and will not sell them to volunteer units, only loan them out, and Azov did not want to become a unit of the Ukrainian Army. The Azov Regiment wanted a vehicle that they would own entirely, and so they bought a T-64 hull that was being used as a bulldozer.
The vehicle was first presented to Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in November 2015 who praised it as Ukraine's first 'innovative tank.' However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was less than impressed by this fearsome new weapon. "Ukraine’s military-industrial complex innovatively made a new tank out of dumpsters," he remarked on Twitter.
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