Video: Everything about made-in Ukraine Tanks

Ukraine Today has released a new video called “Weapons: Everything about made-in Ukraine Tanks.”  As might be expected, the video focuses on the T-64 MBT and has a rather pro-Ukraine tone.


From the Vault: British Assessment of T-64

02Here is a British technical assessment of the Soviet T-64 tank circa 1978.  At this point in time the British and other Western countries had only very limited information on the T-64, so much of this report is based on photographic evidence and the best guesses of intelligence analysts of the period.  Therefore, take the info in this report with a grain of salt.  That said, it’s an interesting look into what the West knew, or at least thought they new about this revolutionary tank design in 1978.

Summary from report cover page:

This report describes the external features of the Soviet T-64 medium tank derived from photographic intelligence and gives also an assessment of the probable internal arrangements based on intelligence reports matched to the spatial configuration.  The appendix to the paper gives details of the turret model used to produce turret sections from which armour distribution of the turret was derived.

View the full report here.

Book Review: T-64 Battle Tank by Zaloga

51mOjKKttzL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_People familiar with Osprey’s New Vanguard series and with Steven Zaloga will know exactly what to expect from this title; a well written, well researched book with quality photos and illustrations. Mr. Zaloga also wrote the New Vanguard series books on the Soviet T-62, T-72 and T-80, so this volume completes the set nicely. That the T-64 is the last of the Soviet Cold War MBT’s to get its own New Vanguard book is indicative of how this vehicle has been overshadowed by its more well known stablemates. Ironically, the T-64 was perhaps the most important of the Cold War Soviet designs, setting the template for all the Soviet tanks that followed. Zaloga does a very nice job in describing the internal politics that led to the development of the T-64, a tale with more than a few characters and plot twists. It is perhaps appropriate that this book came out now, as it’s only been in the last year that the T-64 has seen combat, being used extensively in the fighting in Ukraine.

The only complaint regarding this book is the length.  As with all the Osprey New Vanguard titles, the book is only 48 pages.  Considering the number of photos and illustrations, the space available for text is rather limited and one gets the impression that Mr. Zaloga could easily fill a larger volume with his knowledge of this topic.  The “Further Reading” section at the end of the book shows that a good deal of information is available regarding the T-64, but it is almost exclusively in Russian language sources.  We can only hope that a publisher offers Mr. Zaloga a chance to write a more detailed hard cover book on Soviet post war tank development, perhaps an updated version of his classic “Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles: 1946 to Present” published back in 1987.  That said, this New Vanguard T-64 book is at present the best (and one of the few) volumes out there dedicated specifically to this essential battle tank of the cold war.


Rusting T-64 tanks in the Ukraine

KyivPost has posted an article about the hundreds of T-64 tanks rusting away in huge outdoor storage areas in Ukraine.

original_bigIn the late 1980s, with the Cold War still on, the Soviet Union had an estimated 53,000 main battle tanks. As late as 1991, Soviet tank factories could still produce thousands of tanks a year. The Malyshev Tank Factory in Kharkiv alone made 800 tanks in the last year of Soviet Ukraine’s existence.

Yet when conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine suddenly found itself very short of tanks. Where did they all go?

“Ukraine had approximately 5,000 to 7,000 tanks left after the breakup of Soviet Union,” military expert and director of consulting firm Defense Express Serhiy Zhurets told the Kyiv Post. “But I doubt that the government has allocated any funds for tank maintenance at all for the last 25 years. About 10 tanks could have been kept in good condition, but no more.”

Full article here.

Rebooting graveyard tanks in Ukraine

Ukraine Today has posted a video of T-64 tanks being renovated at “a secret depot in the city of Kharkiv.”  The video is fairly short and contains some inaccuracies (128mm gun?) but still, it’s worth watching for the footage of the refurbished tanks and the repair facilities.

Book Alert: T-64 Battle Tank

51fK8okCzwL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-35,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_According to Amazon, Osprey Publishing will be releasing a new entry in their New Vanguard line of books titled T-64 Battle Tank on August 18.  Authored by Steven Zaloga, this volume completes the coverage of cold war Soviet main battle tanks in the New Vanguard Series (Osprey already published books on the T-54/55, T-62, T-72 and T-80.)  The format appears to be the same as the other entries in the NV series and since Steven Zaloga authored the other other NV books on cold war Soviet tanks, readers should have a good idea what to expect from this upcoming book.  It is perhaps fortuitous that Osprey waited to cover the T-64 last in this series, since the tank finally saw it’s first use in combat this past year in the crisis in Ukraine.

Publishers description:

The T-64 tank was the most revolutionary design of the whole Cold War, designed to provide the firepower and armor protection of a heavy tank in a medium-weight design. It pioneered a host of sophisticated new technologies including laminate armor, stereoscopic tank rangefinders, opposed-piston engines, smooth-bore tank guns with discarding sabot ammunition, and gun-fired guided projectiles. These impressive features meant that the Russians were loath to part with the secrets of the design, and the T-64 was the only Soviet tank type of the Cold War that was never exported.

Written by an armor expert, this detailed technical history sheds light on the secrets behind the Cold War’s most controversial tank, revealing how its highly advanced technologies proved to be both a blessing and a curse.

Bored soldiers race T-72 vs T-64 in Ukraine

The Daily Mail is reporting that video footage has emerged of Russian separatist troops conducting a race between a T-72 and a captured Ukrainian T-64 Bulat MBT.  The contest, which took place over a distance of 402 metres, was filmed by drones as well as from inside the losing tank. The resulting video, complete with musical accompaniment (which we recommend muting), was placed on YouTube.  Due to the similarity in appearance between the to vehicles, it can be a bit hard to tell which is which, but the T-72 can be seen clearly outpacing the Ukrainian T-64. It eventually finished a good distance ahead, much to the delight of the Russians.  According to the Daily Mail article, both tanks emerged undamaged after the race.  One of the tank-drivers’ call name was Boroda and the other’s was Syphon.


Soviet Autoloader videos

Over at the tank-net forum, user “dyankov” pointed out this Russian youtube video showing how the autoloader in a T-72 tank works.  We thought it was worth sharing.


For those interested in seeing how the autoloader of the T-72 differs from that of the T-64, this video includes some brief footage of both systems.  The video is in Russian so it is a bit hard to follow for non-Russian speakers (setting youtube to translate the Russian close captioning to English will result in some real comedy.)  The operation of the T-64 and T-72 autoloaders can be seen starting at the 5:15 mark in the video.  T-64 autoloader is the one that turns the round from vertical to horizontal while the T-72 system keeps the shell horizontal through the entire process.

This video provides an even better look at the T-64 autoloader.


And here is a short clip showing the operation of the autoloader in the T-80, which is basically the same system as found in the T-64.

Ukraine restarting T-64-based IFV development is reporting that Ukraine has restarted development of heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) based on the T-64 main battle tank.  Ukroboronprom (Ukrainian State Defense Contractor) has stated that work on this vehicle could be completed in time to allow for mass production by the end of the year.  Currently Ukraine’s armed forces rely primarily on the BMP-2 as their IFV.  It is reported that BMP-2’s have been lost in greater numbers than any other armored vehicle in Ukrainian service, a factor most likely contributing to the renewal in interest in a heavier, T-64 based IFV.

Full article available IHS Jane’s 360