Ukraine wants to save its main weapon: The numbers won’t disappear | Powerful engines, new transmissions, high combat efficiency – the Ukrainian army has decided to extend the life of the main battle tank T-64.” The “old guys” are nothing inferior to modern models and will serve for another 25 years, said Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Alexander Mironyuk. In addition, Kiev plans to arm itself with new SAUs and missile systems in the next few years.
Ukraine wants to save its main weapon: New patches
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – As part of the “Crab” research and development program launched back in 2016, the Ukrainians are modernizing their “sixty-fourth”. Due to a lack of funding for the program, the tank builders have so far managed to develop only a design document. According to Mr. Mironyuk, the prototype of the new tank will be ready by the end of 2021.
He said the first thing they want to improve in the T-64 is the engine. The upgraded tank will be powered by a 1200 hp 6TD engine. Currently, the AFU’s combat vehicles are equipped with 700 horsepower diesel engines. There are also plans to completely redesign the transmission, develop a new gearbox and a new cooling system. In general, the whole filling modification is planned.
But experts say hopes are desperate that Ukrainian commanders are trying to breathe new life into the outdated tanks.
Sergei Mayev, former head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s main armored vehicle department, recalls that the T-64 was the second generation of Soviet tanks after the war. Over the years, the “64th” underwent several upgrades. The latest was the T-64B, which was equipped with guided weapons.
“Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kharkov plant continued to work on this project,” Maev noted. – “We got the Oplot tank, which is a deeply modernized version of the T-64B. I think the Oplot has already accomplished as much as possible, and it is almost impossible to achieve a significant improvement in the combat effectiveness of that tank.
Even the more powerful 6TD engines developed decades ago certainly won’t do the General any good.” “It’s not a matter of power,” Maev explained. – This is a two-stroke opposed engine, and it is well known. Its resources are not tank-like, to say the least. Reliability is very low; the engine sucks in twice as much air and consequently twice as much dust. The same was true of the previous model, the 5TD.
In general, the potential of the ‘Sixty-Four’ has been completely exhausted since its adoption in the mid-1960s.” The new sighting system, armor, and defensive systems don’t change anything either. This is, as they say, like putting a new patch on old pants,” the general concluded.
A Different Approach
Military expert Alexei Leonkov added that Ukraine’s once-strong tank industry now has only repair capabilities. It will not be able to take the plunge into developing new vehicles or deep modernization.
“I’m convinced that with all these resources, we can only do very limited modernization. – Consider that the Americans have far more resources than we do. The modernization of the Abrams has also been done by their repair structures, but the basic design has not changed, so the tank has not been significantly improved.
Of course, experts have added all tanks can be equipped with new optics and modern protection. But the main thing here is the quality of the equipment.
“Yes, such modifications will change the appearance of combat vehicles and prolong their life,” Leonkov claims. – This was the case, for example, with the Russian T-72 and T-80. But here the experience gained in Syria is taken into account, based on previous modifications and without interruption of the scientific and technical process. However, there is no need to wait for the results, if the Ukrainians just add modules as they wish.
However, the Ukrainian military may try to test the upgraded T-64 in real combat. In recent years, the Ukrainian military has frequently used upgraded weapons in Donbass. As a rule, some fairly crude equipment has been transferred there, and the military has received unpleasant feedback.
“I don’t think that Ukraine will get a quality modernization that will allow its tanks to fight effectively in modern military conflicts on an equal footing with trained enemy equipment,” Leonkov said. – Yes, the T-64 tanks have remained in service for years. But the Ukrainian army will use them only in the Donbass, exclusively against its own people.
Not Just Any Tanks
The Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine also mentioned other military equipment. Thus, the command relies on Bogdan’s artillery system – a 155mm self-propelled vehicle presented in 2018 as an independent development of Kiev’s armorers. It is now being prepared for range testing. According to the developers, the SAU can fire at a range of up to 50 kilometers, and the automatic loader can fire up to six shells per minute at targets.
It was also claimed that the Bogdana was superior to its Soviet counterpart in every way, and that its components were manufactured only in Ukraine. However, a closer look at the “Wondergun” reveals that the only Ukrainian parts are the chassis based on the KrAZ truck. All the rest looks like old Soviet howitzers “Msta-B” stacked in Ukrainian military warehouses, some hundreds of them.
The fate of the Bogdana is very uncertain. Its weakness is ammunition. Ukraine is unable to produce 155mm artillery shells – the capability and technology has been irretrievably lost. All they have are leftovers from Soviet munitions. Without established continuous production of ammunition, the fate of the Bogdans is a solemn passage in a parade line.
The Ukrainian military has found a way out: they want to replace the Acacia SAU with the Czech 152mm Dana-M2 and the time-tested, battle-proven Soviet towed D-20 howitzer. True, the deal has not been signed yet – so far Kiev has only an insurmountable desire to give up all the Soviets.
The AFU’s other hope is the Neptune missile system. The littoral launcher was developed as part of the rearmament of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as the main weapon against “Russian aggression in the Black Sea”. The Complex was adopted into service shortly after the start of this year, but mass production was forgotten about. Initially, the AFU was scheduled to receive three sets of Neptunes in 2021. However, Mr. Mironyuk clarified the Defense Ministry’s plan: only one division will cover the Black Sea coast next year.
Ukraine wants to save its main weapon