Backlash: Ukraine upgraded their tanks T-64BM “Bulat”

Kiev found a way to provide themselves with much better armor.

Main idea: Kiev found a way to provide for their aging tanks much more advanced armor, says expert David Ex for The National Interest (translation — inosmi.ru).

The war in Eastern Ukraine continues for the sixth year, and the government buys the upgraded model of the tank during the cold war in an attempt to gain an advantage over the militias, which Russia supports.

According to “Radio Free Europe”, 2018 Ukrainian army has purchased approximately 150 tanks T-64 sample 2017.

The T-64 is unique among other tanks of the Soviet era. When he first appeared in the early 1960s, he was very different from other tanks, and was significantly improved in comparison with them. Actually T-64 is Ukrainian tank rather than the Russian. Lviv tank factory, which produces tanks T-64 is located in Ukraine. And today the Ukrainian army is the main user of the tanks of this type.

Another major user of these tanks are militias in the East of Ukraine.

In the process of upgrading the T-64 has acquired a number of new elements, including a new diesel engine. In addition, it now installs the automatic device for delivery of shells to the sealing part, which allowed to reduce the crew to three people and to reduce the weight of the tank. T-64 was the first Soviet tanks equipped with now has become the standard 125 mm smoothbore gun, which is a modernized version of the T-64B is able to fire guided missiles launched through the barrel.

The Soviet Union never exported the T-64 tank, preferring to sell the cheaper T-55, T-62 and T-72. During the last decades of the cold war in the Soviet army there were thousands T-64 tanks, which were to take part in apocalyptic tank war with American M-1, German Leopard and the British “Challenger”.

Tanks T-64 could not be better suited for this task. “This particular tank for some of its capabilities were superior to NATO tanks, and this advantage persisted for 15 or 16 years,” said major of the U.S. Army James Warford (James Warford) in his work of 1992.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited hundreds of T-64 tanks, as well as the factory where they were made. Modernized version of the T-64BM “Bulat” got new armor and so-called system of “active protection”, which allows you to shoot projectiles to intercept incoming missiles. The T-64 sample 2017 also received modern imaging, reliable digital communication system and a satellite navigation system.

When in April 2014, the separatists in the East of Ukraine — that Russian agents are armed, supplied and reinforced, had risen, demanding secession from Kiev and joining Moscow, Ukraine sent to fight them tanks T-64.

But thanks to Russia, at least one unit of the rebels also sent the tanks into battle. In June 2014 NATO has published satellite images, which presumably was seen as the T-64 tanks without insignia crossed the border from Russia to Ukraine. Six days later a Twitter user nickname c @matyslav9 published photos, which allegedly depicted the T-64 belonging to the separatist army of the Donetsk people’s Republic.

It is possible, that Moscow sent tanks T-64, because in this case it could quite convincingly be argued that the tanks of the Kiev Arsenal, but not from Russia.

To prove that T-64 was not stolen Ukrainian cars, the government in Kiev has demonstrated a captured rebel T-64 tank. “T-64BV under this serial number was produced in October 1987 at the Kharkov tank factory and sent to a military unit, which at that time was on the territory of Russia”, — said representatives of Kiev.

The Ukrainian government also announced that some new details this tank was manufactured in Russia at the plant in St. Petersburg.

According to the magazine Jane’s, in the possession of the rebels was, at least, three such tanks, as well as “double-digit” T-64 tanks. However, the magazine urged not to panic. “The existence of militias [main battle tanks] is undoubtedly an undesirable fact for the Ukrainian military, however their practical application may be limited.”

“In the lack of support for combined arms forces [main battle tanks] can be extremely vulnerable to air attack, the infantry armed with guided anti-tank missiles, and other main battle tanks — was highlighted in the journal Jane’s. — In addition, they require significant system support and maintenance in the field.”

Because the tanks require a large amount of fuel, regular replacement of individual parts and repair, can be considered quite a good step the fact that Russia has decided to put his supporters it was the tanks T-64 and not any other model. The T-64 to a greater extent than others, is a Ukrainian tank, because it is produced in this country. The militia shouldn’t have much trouble finding local people able to help in their maintenance.

However, after modernization of the Kiev T-64 tanks are much more modern and probably more reliable.