T-64E main battle tank [MBT]
T-64 tanks were often called "home" tanks - as these vehicles were never exported, even to allies under the Warsaw Pact. For its time, it was, without exaggeration, a revolutionary tank: its armor protection was combined armor, which reliably protected it from most anti-tank weapons of the time, the fourth member of the tank crew - charger, was replaced by a loading mechanism. However, by the beginning of the XXI century the vehicle was clearly outdated and Kharkiv designers on their own initiative developed several options for deep modernization. The most successful of them is the T-64E. Ukraine did not show the modernized tank for a long time, and there is practically no information on the work carried out, but the tank began to be shown to the public, it took part in the parade, "lit up" at an exhibition in the UAE.
In Ukraine, due to the possession of a base for the manufacture and repair of the T-64A, they approached the solution of the problem from the other side, namely, it was decided to carry out a complete modernization of the armored vehicles of this project. This will allow not only to modernize its military fleet of vehicles, but also to sell the T-64E to poor states in small batches. The first thing that catches your eye when looking at the T-64E is an unusually shaped turret. Due to the use in its design of a complex of dynamic protection "Knife", the turret has grown slightly in size and "acquired" panels inclined at an acute angle to the attacking ammunition. Similar protection units are mounted on the upper front part and the sides of the body, however, there it is not so noticeable.
Another notable difference from the prototype is the creation of a new multi-channel fire complex based on an improved fire control system using thermal imaging, television, panoramic sighting devices, an upgraded guided missile system, a new ballistic calculator, and the use of multifunctional combat modules installed in special siloes in the turret.
Additional protection is evenly distributed over the hull of the tank, the frontal part looks powerful and reliable. The protection of the tank was strengthened by dynamic protection "Duplet" and KOEP "Warta", also installed a modernized new fire control system 1A33-1 "Ob" with the use of thermal, television, panoramic sighting and surveillance devices, modernized guided missile system type "Kombat", a new ballistic counting and deciding device with advanced capabilities to account for changes in shooting conditions. The panoramic sight with a thermal imager, which significantly improved the use of the tank in combat operations. A very good place for installation speaks of a high-quality approach to the modernization of the tank.
The use of an automatic tracking system, target identification in combination with the on-board information system, greatly facilitated the combat work of the reconnaissance and threat selection crew, minimized reaction time and defeat of priority targets. In addition, the fire complex is able to recommend to any member of the crew (including mechanics - the driver) of the tank optimal fire channel, an outfit of ammunition for the fastest possible fire tasks.
Weapons were also significantly strengthened - the vehicle was equipped with combat modules with a PKT machine gun and an aircraft double-barreled gun GSh-23L. The armament of the tank is remotely controlled, consisting of a 125 mm cannon and two modules - a GSh-23 twin automatic cannon, a 12.7 mm NSVT machine gun with an AG-17 automatic grenade launcher. The design of modules is easily removable, quickly replaceable due to their unification on landing details of installation, remote drives of management, guidance, aiming. This technical solution allows equiping the machine with one or another weapon system for a specific combat mission.
The main idea of the modernization is the complete replacement of the engine, its place will be taken by a modern, economical diesel engine 5TDFE with a capacity of 900 hp. The implementation of these design solutions caused an increase in the weight of the vehicle to 42.5 tons, and, of course, the "native" engine T-64 - 5TDFA with a capacity of 700 hp. no longer satisfied the developers. Therefore, the specialists of the State Enterprise "Kharkiv BTRZ" in cooperation with a number of scientific and design organizations, developed and manufactured its own forced version 5TD - 5TDFE with a capacity of 850 hp, resulting in a specific power of T-64E was 20 hp / ton .
A novelty for Ukrainian tank construction was the use of an autonomous engine with enough power to supply electricity to all onboard consumers. T-64E is equipped with an auxiliary power plant with a capacity of 10 kilowatts with a liquid cooling system of the diesel unit and the second air cooling unit with a capacity of 6 kilowatts in the niche of the turret. Thus, a guaranteed energy supply is provided in all possible situations.
The modern tank has special requirements for the power supply system: equipment with more complex and, consequently, more energy-intensive equipment: fire control system, guided missile weapons system, more advanced communications, navigation equipment, optoelectronic suppression system, air conditioning air, etc. - all this makes it necessary to have several sources on the car. The capacity of tank batteries is not enough to maintain the operation of all this equipment when the engine is not running (for example, in the parking lot, in an ambush), and "drive" the main engine is extremely impractical, both in terms of its already limited engine life and to save inventory of fuel.
Reduced visibility of the tank in the whole spectrum of electromagnetic, thermal and acoustic radiation is achieved through the use of special materials, shielding, creating surfaces of structures of the required directions and shapes. Implemented scheme for applying an effective camouflage protective coating. In fact, there was a tank for direct support of infantry, which due to the automatic gun can provide direct fire support to infantry units of the tactical unit "platoon-company".
However, for obvious reasons, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine abandoned this option of modernizing the T-64, giving priority to the cheaper Bulat. The installation of weapons modules and the range of rotation will allow the T-64E to take part in battles in the city. The installed weapons would allow the tank to cope with both low-flying targets and enemy armored personnel carriers.
In general, the T-64E has all the makings to compete with another modification of the T-64-BM tank under the name "Bulat". But it must be taken into account that Bulat is already successfully supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the main supplier of Kharkov KBM is a fairly well-known manufacturer of armored vehicles, which may mean that Ukraine may not see this development in its armed forces. With the cessation of the topic of BM "Bulat", can be proposed by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, as a budget option for restoration and deep modernization of the T-64 fleet, at a lower cost, and TTX at the level and above the modernization option 447AM1.
Specialists of Kharkiv BTRZ not only modernized the T-64, which has not exhausted its potential, but also broadened the horizons of modern tanks, took a new step in its development. Time will tell how successful and effective the concepts embedded in the design of the machine are. Recalling the discussion that started this article, one thing is for sure - the tank is still alive and feels quite confident, and the appearance of such machines - a further confirmation of this.
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