Kharkiv Factory produces tanks for Ukraine as fighting continues

src.adapt.960.high.1425074097347Aljazeera America has published an interesting article about the famous Malyshev tank factory in Karkiv Ukraine and the ongoing fighting there.  With the conflict’s front line about 150 miles south of Kharkiv, Malyshev workers find themselves in a challenging position. For decades, the massive factory has been a source of pride for Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. At its height during the Soviet era, the factory employed as many as 60,000 people out of a population of 1.5 million. Now some 5,000 people work at the factory.   Today the factory’s main focus is to supply new and rehabilitated tanks to the Ukrainian army, which has been engaged in a brutal war with Russian-backed rebels in the east since April. To even the most hardened veterans of this 120-year-old factory, a war in which Ukrainians fight each other on Ukrainian soil is difficult to fully come to terms with.  Vladislav Grigorovych, 74, who still works in the factory’s tank engine department despite being well past retirement age, noted that “I can’t understand this war. We were all one country once. We were all like brothers. Now we are fighting each other.”

British General condemns transfer of Saxon APC to Ukraine

saxon_l2The Telegraph is reporting that the former head of the British Army has condemned a decision to deliver dozens of retired British Saxon armored personal carriers to the Ukrainian government as “nothing short of immoral”.  General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff between 2006 and 2009, described the Saxon armored vehicles are “quite useless”.  Said Dannatt: “I took these out of service by the UK Army in 2005/6 as completely unsuitable for current operations, so I find it incredible that they are being sold/gifted to Ukraine. I am incensed by the thought we are supplying, even via a 3rd party, SAXON APCs to the hapless Ukrainians.”  Ukranian sources said that 20 Saxons have been delivered to Ukraine, with another 55 expected to arrive soon.  Full article here.

50 tanks, 40 missile systems enter Ukraine from Russia

pro russian tanksReuters is reporting that according to the Ukrainian military, approximately 50 tanks, 40 missile systems and 40 armored vehicles crossed overnight into east Ukraine from Russia via Izvaryne border crossing into the separatist Luhansk region.  According to the article Luhansk is a strategic transport hub that has been the focus of heavy fighting in recent weeks.  The Ukrainian spokesperson said that the tanks and other military hardware had crossed the border “despite statements by Russian officials about the absence of Russian military equipment and forces on Ukrainian territory.”  No details were included in the brief article noting the type of tanks and armored vehicles, nor were any pictures included.

For those interested in pictures of the tanks and armored vehicles being used in the conflict in Ukraine, there is an extensive thread devoted to the topic on  Crisis in Ukraine – The Photos

Another source of interesting photos is the website Lost Armor.  This site is in Russian, but can be translated quite easily in google chrome.

Ukraine Announces increase in tank production

Oplot_002lThe Moscow Times is reporting that Ukrainian state arms manufacturer UkrOboronProm said it would boost tank production by an unprecedented 2,300 percent in 2016.  The company’s general director, Roman Romanov, stated in a press release that UkrOboronProm will expand production of its Oplot main battle tanks from five units per year to 40 for 2015 and 120 per year from 2016 onward.  The article noted that Russia has over 2,750 tanks in active service, with more than 18,000 in storage, while Ukraine has 1,150 tanks in service, with a further 1,435 in storage.  The Oplot MBT, also known as the T-84, is derived from the Soviet era T-80 tank.  First built in 1994 and entering service in 1999, the Oplot differs from the T-80UD in that it has a welded rather than cast turret, as well as various other upgrades.

For those looking for information and stats on the Oplot MBT, the Kharkiv Morozov Design Bureau website offers a surprising amount of information.

Ukraine’s Tank Graveyard

tank-graveyard-6_2840058kThe Telegraph has posted an interesting picture gallery of a large tank “graveyard” near the city of Kharkov in Ukraine. These photos were snapped by an intrepid young explorer named Patvel Itkin, who was able to sneak past the guards and enter the compound. This area was once a repair depot but now houses roughly 400 tanks, silently rusting away. These photos were originally posted back in March of 2014.

Ukrainian Tank Commander becomes Internet meme

Alexy ChabanReuters has an interesting article about the Facebook page of Ukrainian tank commander Alexei Chaban. A First Lieutenant of the Ukrainian 17th Tank Brigade, Chaban, 50, became an internet sensation after he posted an open letter on Facebook to the mother of a Russian tank commander whose life he had spared during a skirmish last week. The incident occurred on Jan. 22 when a Russian commander, gunner, and driver got ouf of their damaged vehicle within gun range of Chaban’s tank. “When they got out of their disabled vehicle, we just had to push a button in our tank and all that would have been left of them would have been a memory of our sinful world,” Chaban wrote. “We didn’t kill them. We let them go.” Chaban’s Facebook page is in Russian and contains numerous snapshots from the field and commentary on equipment.

Article link here.

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