T-64BM Bulat main battle tank [MBT]
Ukraine was a major operator of the T-64. In the 2000s, she carried out a partial modernization of the fleet of these machines. The updated modification was called "Bulat", but later on the official level it was recognized as unsuccessful. Before the revolution in February 2014 and the armed conflict in the Donbass, Kyiv intended to completely abandon a significant part of the T-64s available in the army and in warehouses. To this end, the Ukrainian authorities even initiated negotiations with NATO, counting on assistance in disposal.
But the war in the Donbass led to serious losses in armored vehicles and forced Kiev to return the Bulat and other T-64 variants to service. In recent years, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been receiving the so-called T-64 model of 2017 - this is another modernized version of the Soviet MBT. The main changes touched on-board electronics and dynamic protection.
The T-64BM BULAT main battle tank [MBT] is a heavily modified variant of the T-64B tank. The tank BULAT has entered service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The major redesign was aimed at building a tank with more advanced combat performance capabilities and technical characteristics, a task which was successfully accomplished by the Morozov Machine Design Bureau of Kharkiv. The major redesign was aimed at building a tank with more advanced combat performance capabilities and technical characteristics, a task which was successfully accomplished by the Morozov Machine Design Bureau of Kharkiv.
There is one noticeable thing, when looking at the losses of the Ukrainian army in Donbas – there was a large number of destroyed tanks with strange, uncharacteristic damages on their hulls, Latvian Vesti.lv reported 03 March 2015. When Ukrainian tanks get hit, their top turrets tear away and their hulls receive severe damages, sometimes with welding seams easily breaking apart.
In Ukraine, hulls of T-64 tanks are often severely damaged, with entire pieces of armor plucked out, and you can see that the damage is done along welding seams of the hull, while the rest of the armor plates left out bent. The most obvious explanation to the damages of Ukrainian armored vehicles is the poor quality of manufacturing.” – the Latvian source said.
These T-64 tanks were manufactured at a factory in Kharkiv. Since a large amount of these tanks have similar damages, it would be safe to assume the tanks had some technological defects during the manufacturing stage that resulted in the decrease of their armor. Meanwhile, same T-64 tanks that were made during the Soviet Union were used in many battles, but they have never had their hulls torn to pieces, Vesti reported.
As of the end of 2011, the Armed Forces of Ukraine received 76 Bulat T-64BM tanks. In the first half of 2012, HZTM had to upgrade 9 more cars. At the end of 2017, the Ukrainian army had about 100 units of these tanks. The first 17 Bulat T-64BM tanks were received by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in August 2005, and another 19 arrived in 2006. In November 2010, another batch of 10 tanks arrived from the plant. Taking into account these tanks, the Gonchar brigade was armed with a total of 61 Bulats. As of the end of 2011, the Armed Forces of Ukraine received 76 Bulat T-64BM tanks. In May 2017, SE "Plant. VO Malyshev "returned to order 50 units of OBT" Bulat "and handed them over to the Ukrainian army.
The Lviv Tank Plant has become the second Ukrainian factory to start manufacturing the modernized model of T-64 tanks complete with new thermal vision equipment, digital radio communication, satellite navigation systems, and new explosive-reactive armor, according to a 12 August 2019 news release by Ukroboronprom, the state-owned company that oversees the defense industry. “As a result, we’ve managed to significantly expand its combat capabilities,” Ukroboronprom said. Before, only the Kharkiv Armored Plant, also a part of Ukroboronprom, made the modernized T-64 tanks. It had supplied nearly 150 tanks to the military.
Thanks to this, it was possible to significantly expand the combat capabilities of the T-64, which is the main combat vehicle of the armored units of the Ukrainian army and performed well in confrontations with the aggressor in the East of Ukraine. In addition, in 2017, this very tank showed itself in the NATO tank competition The Strong Europe Tank Challenge and was demonstrated during last year's parade on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine.
It should be noted that earlier the modernization of T-64 tanks to this level was carried out only by the Kharkiv Armored Plant of Ukroboronprom, which has already sent more than one and a half hundred T-64s of the 2017 model to the Ukrainian army. And thanks to the capabilities of the Lviv Armored Plant, the process of rearming the Ukrainian army with modernized vehicles will go much faster. The capabilities of these two tank enterprises allow, in the presence of a stable order and financing from the customer, to carry out the modernization of all T-64 in the near future.
On 16 December 2021, Lviv Armor Plant handed over ?-64 tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Combat vehicles were upgraded. The head of the technological department of the enterprise Nazar Vovchko told about the update of tanks. “In these ?-64 completely updated sights complexes. They now do not have an unmasking “infrared headlight,” which no one has ever used, because it shone as a spotlight, and its use meant the death of both the crew and the vehicle”, said Vovchko.
The head of the technological department will also tell that during the development of this deep modernization, the engineers of the enterprise listened to all customers from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. All the details that Ukrainian troopers want on the battlefield were discussed. As a result, the tank received many changes. “The tank’s communications facilities were also completely replaced. Instead of morally and physically obsolete radio stations, the latest models of digital communications are installed, which can neither drown out nor overhear even modern Russian electronic warfare facilities”, Nazar Vovchko said.
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