According to IHS Jane’s, the State Enterprise Malyshev Plant in Ukraine is marketing a 1500 HP version of the 6TD series of engines. The 6TD is a liquid cooled, two-stroke multifuel engine with six cylinders and 12 pistons. According to the Jane’s article, the engines “ejection-type cooling system enables the MBT to operate in high ambient temperatures of up to 55°C without loss of power when using diesel fuel.” The article also notes that “the highly efficient cassette/cyclone air filter is claimed to ensure air filtration with an efficiency rating of up to 99.8%, which is critical for operating in desert conditions”.
The 6TD was developed from the earlier 5TD engine which originally equipped the Soviet T-64 MBT. As the names imply, 5TD was a five cylinder engine while 6TD is a six cylinder engine. The 6TD was introduced in 1979, tanks equipped with the 6TD usually designated with an “M” added to their designation, for example, T-64AM, T-64BM, etc. The 5TD was rated at 700 HP, the original version of the 6TD (6TD-1)rated at 1000 HP, with later versions of the 6TD (6TD-2) being rated at 1200 HP.
The 6TD is an unusual engine in that it is a two stroke diesel with an opposed piston configuration. The opposed piston design allows for two pistons per cylinder, leading to a rather compact unit with high power output (not to be confused with a “flat” engine layout such as the Continental AOS 895.) This style of diesel engine was first pioneered by Germany in the 1930’s with the Junkers Jumo 205, one of the few successful diesel aircraft engines. In the postwar period, but the USSR and the UK developed tank engines based on the Jumo concept, the USSR creating the 5TD and the UK the Leyland L60 which powered the Chieftain MBT. Both the L60 and the 5TD suffered a fair number of issues when first put into service, requiring a fairly lengthy period to iron out the “teething” problems. Since the T-64 and its engine were developed by the Kharkiv based Morozov Design Bureau and the Kharkiv Diesel Factory No. 75, these facilities became part of independent Ukraine following the break up of the USSR in 1991. Currently, the 6TD engine serves as the powerplant for the Pakistani al-Khalid MBT.