uop TANK 800The armored vehicles sector still remains among the most promising and effective sectors of the Ukrainian defense industry. Ukrainian armored vehicles industries have pursued a number of projects that would give whole new capabilities to some of the time proven, Soviet-legacy armored ground vehicles.


Second wind for the T-72 MBT


Kharkiv Morozov Machinery Design Bureau of the state-owned Ukroboronprom defense industries holding company has developed a comprehensive upgrade program for the T-72 main battle tank, which it pursues in collaboration with state-owned Malyshev Factory company.


The upgrade pack encompasses improvements to the vehicle’s mobility performance, command and control equipment, and the level of armor protection along with the addition of some new capabilities.


The key element of the upgrade will be the new, 6-cylinder 1,200hp 6TD-2 engine that would allow for potential benefits in terms of better mobility and maneuverability ,and achieving a higher level of protection by means of adding extra armor or/and installing an active protection system.


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The T-72 MBT upgrade additionally includes an improved transmission enabling higher speeds, both in forward and reverse drive modes. With an improved reverse gear in place, the vehicle will be able to be relocated quickly on the battlefield without the need of being turned around.


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Other enhancements include the EA10-1/EA8 auxiliary power unit for powering additional electronic subsystems, electromechanical actuators, the active protection system “Zaslin”, the optronic countermeasures system “Varta” and other systems on the vehicle.


Enhanced capabilities against hostile tanks would be achieved by using more capable weapons and a new fire control system supporting the gun- launched anti-tank guided missiles “Kombat” and “Konus”.


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Developed by KKB Luch Design Bureau, Kombat and Konus ATGMs are being produced by state-owned Artem joint-stock holding company.


Designed to be fired from guns on the T-72, T-80UD and Oplot MBTs, the Kombat missile can be launched when both the tank and the target are moving. Although intended primarily to engage targets beyond the effective range of the tank gun firing 125mm gun rounds, the Kombat can be efficacious also against hovering helicopters and fortified emplacements. It uses laser-beam-riding guidance where the laser beam is directed above the target without actually illuminating it. It illuminates the target (tank or helicopter) for just 0.3 seconds prior to impact, making the missile virtually immune to enemy countermeasures.


The Konus ATGM uses a similar guidance technique, but is designed specifically for launch from a 120-mm NATO standard gun.


Second wind for the BMP-1M IFV


In Ukraine, armored vehicle industries are also active in upgrading Soviet-legacy fleets of infantry fighting vehicles. Zhytomyr Armored Vehicles Factory company offers its BMP-1UMD upgrade of the BMP-1M infantry fighting vehicle. As by this date, the BMP-1UMD technology has successfully come through the final series of factory-level trials that included mobility and live firing trials among other types of performance trials.


A major part of the upgrade is re-engining the vehicle with the 6-cylinder turbocharged 330-hp Deutz TCD2013 L64V engine replacing the Russian-sourced UTD-20.


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The BMP-1UMD upgrade encompasses enhanced firepower, upgraded fire controls, improved ergonomics and comfort for the crew, as well as expanded functionality. Special emphasis was placed on reducing the vehicle’s signature in visible and infrared regions.


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The BMP-1UMD vehicle is offered with different options for turret mounts.


In 2016, comparative testing and evaluation of Shkval vs Stiletto turret weapons modules was performed, attended by Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials.


Intended mainly for use against armored targets at ranges out to 5 km, the Shkval turret is armed with a 30mm ZTM-1 cannon, a 7.62mm KT-7.62 coaxial machine gun, an AG-17 30mm automatic grenade launcher, and an ATGM launcher.


The Stiletto turret features a similar weapons set, but with a ZTM-2 cannon in place of the ZTM-1 cannon found in the Shkval turret.


Targeting and weapons control capabilities are provided with new digital sighting systems OTS-20.04-01 for Shkval and Treck-2-01 for Stiletto. Both are fitted with a laser rangefinder and a thermal imaging camera, but use differing algorithms for fire control.


Ukrainian companies offer upgrade options that incorporate modern engineering solutions, components and materials, and can improve dramatically the capabilities of Soviet-era armored equipment. The proposed upgrades would give a second wind to outdated Soviet-legacy armored vehicle inventories and help them maintain their military usefulness for many years to come – this all at a cost far lower than that of newly built vehicles. Those who spend money wisely would be well advised to watch the experience and expertise Ukraine has in upgrading and updating armored military vehicles.


Valery Ryabykh


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