4 April, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on his official page on the social network Facebook wrote about the latest achievements of the Ukrainian defense industry. The state concern Ukroboronprom launched mass production of the Atlet BREM. According to P. Poroshenko, such equipment should ensure the proper maintenance of armored combat vehicles, and thereby increase the combat capability of the army. In addition, the president noted the high export potential of the new development.
Soon Ukroboronprom concern published its official report on the repair and evacuation “Athlete”. In this news indicated the main technical and operational features of the armored vehicle, some of its characteristics, etc. In addition, the topic of possible supplies of its army and armed forces of foreign countries was again raised. Attached were photos and a demo video taken during recent tests.
The next development of the Ukrainian defense industry was put into a series, and this could be a reason for praise. However, the situation looks rather complicated and in fact leaves no grounds for optimism. To understand all the reasons for this, you need to remember history the project.
Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, now independent Ukraine launched several of its own projects to modernize existing armored vehicles. In particular, based tank T-80UD specialists of the Kharkov Design Bureau of Engineering named. A.A. Morozov created a new T-84 machine. Soon another project appeared - the T-84U Oplot. It was assumed that the chassis of the latter could become the basis for new types of equipment. Together with other samples, it was decided to develop a unified armored repair and recovery vehicle.
According to known data, the development of a new type of BREM began in the mid-nineties of the last century. The project carried the working designation “Object 478BP”. Also, the project was given the name BREM-84, indicating the class of equipment and the base sample, and the name "Athlete". In the last messages, the recovery vehicle is called only by the last name.
In 1997, the Kharkov tank builders produced the first prototype of the new BREM. Soon the tests started, which, however, took quite a lot of time. In a break between the stages of inspections, the first public demonstration of the prototype took place, the platform for which was the Malaysian DSA-2000 exhibition. Then the testing, refinement and refinement continued, and it took them a few more years.
Only in 2007, the Ukrainian official sources reported on the start of the state tests of the “Athlete”. According to the results of this stage of inspections, the machine could be commissioned. The results of the tests were found to be satisfactory, and BREM-84 received a recommendation for adoption. In November, 2008, the Ukrainian command issued an order to put the machine into service, and in addition, began to plan future purchases of serial equipment.
A new repair and recovery vehicle was initially viewed as a possible export product. Kharkiv specialists understood that the Ukrainian army has limited financial capabilities and therefore will not be able to acquire a large number of tanks or auxiliary equipment based on them. As a result, "Athlete" soon after its appearance hit the list of products to be sold to third countries. Until a certain time, BREM-84, as well as other Ukrainian developments, had no success on the international market.
However, the situation has changed and the “Athlete” was able to become the subject of a real contract. 1 September 2011, the organization Ukrspetsexport and the Thai armed forces signed a large contract for the supply of several dozen units of armored vehicles. In accordance with this document, Ukraine had to build and transfer to the customer 49 the main tanks BM Oplot-T and 2 repair and recovery vehicles Atlet. For the assembly of tanks answered Kharkov plant them. V.A. Malysheva, while the manufacturer of the BREM in the contract was KMDB them. Morozov.
The contract provided for the transfer of the first batch of equipment at the end of 2012. Both "Athletes" were supposed to go to Thailand as part of the last fourth installment no later than the fall of 2014. Nevertheless, as is well known, the Ukrainian industry rather quickly disrupted the approved schedule. The first batch of Oplot-T tanks reached the customer only at the beginning of 2014, and by now the Thai military has received only 36 armored vehicles from the 51 ordered. The last batch of equipment, including two BREM-84, should go to the customer this year.
Available information allows us to make a curious conclusion about the recently announced start of mass production of Atlet machines. It seems that the release of such technology started precisely in connection with a foreign order. In this case, there are more than remarkable production volumes - as many as two units. Moreover, the only customer at the moment is the foreign army.
Two serial samples this year will go to Thailand, and after that the future of the “Athlete” project turns out to be uncertain. Since the end of the last decade, the military and political leadership of Ukraine has repeatedly spoken about the need to order a new type of BREM that can positively affect the potential of armored units. However, such conversations still have not led to anything. There is no order for the release of equipment for our own army, and its soon appearance does not look very likely.
According to known data, to date, the Kharkiv Machine Design Bureau has built no more than three units of Atlet BREM-84. The first car of this type, called the demo, was assembled in 1997 year and was intended for testing. In addition, she was repeatedly shown at various exhibitions in search of new customers. In 2014, this machine was transferred to the faculty of military training of the Kharkov Polytechnic University. The former prototype now serves as a training tool.
Not so long ago, literally in recent weeks, Kharkov specialists built two new Atlet cars, which are the first production models of their type. This technique has passed the necessary checks and in the foreseeable future will go to a foreign customer.
From the point of view of architecture, appearance and equipment, the Ukrainian armored repair and recovery vehicle BRET-84 "Athlete" is a typical example of its class. The base of the main battle tank T-84U was taken as the basis for it. The hull and composition of the onboard equipment underwent known modifications. All these design changes made it possible to install special equipment on the machine, designed to work with damaged other equipment. The developer claims that the "Athlete" can independently carry out any repair of armored vehicles in the field.
In the new project, the tank chassis corps underwent the most serious improvements. To obtain proper ergonomics, its frontal part received a superstructure-cabin with a driver’s workplace. At the left side there is a long box-case housing a part of the equipment and tools. Along the starboard side, on the fender, the boom of the crane is placed in the transport position.
Despite the restructuring of the case, the overall layout remains the same. In front of the machine, a habitable compartment is maintained, while the feed is intended for mounting the power plant and transmission. In the center of the case, on the site of the former fighting compartment, the so-called engine room. "Athlete" is equipped with a 6DT-2 diesel engine with 1200 horsepower. With the help of a mechanical transmission, power is transmitted to the rear drive wheels. The chassis is borrowed unchanged from the T-84U tank and includes six small diameter road wheels with a torsion bar suspension on each side. The main engine is supplemented by an auxiliary power unit of the D-120 type with an 30 horsepower.
The composition of the target equipment BREM-84 is similar to other machines in its class. In the frontal part of the body there is a wide coulter like a dozer blade with a hydraulic drive, used for earthworks or as an additional stop. On the right side there is a crane unit with a remote control, showing the carrying capacity up to 25 t. By changing the height and reach of the boom, the operator can solve various tasks. First of all, the crane is designed to move large and heavy components and assemblies, such as engines.
One of the main tasks of the "Athlete" is the evacuation of damaged military vehicles. For this, it is equipped with two winches. The main develops traction up to 250 kN (up to 750 kN with a polyspast). Such characteristics are sufficient to work with any modern armored vehicles, including the main tanks of the appropriate mass. The issuance of the cable through the hatch in the front sheet of the case. When pulling machinery opener rests on the ground and serves as an additional support. Auxiliary winch shows force up to 900 kg. For towing a damaged object, both metal cables of sufficient strength and rigid rods can be used. Declared the possibility of towing a tank at a speed of 25 km / h.
For transportation of spare parts and various goods, the car has several boxes and a cargo platform. Several such boxes are located inside a large left casing on a fender. Also provides for several other volumes for storage. At the stern of the hull, above the engine-transmission compartment, is placed a flat platform for the transport of relatively large cargo. Car carrying capacity - 1,5 t.
The “athlete” is meant to be at the forefront and therefore has weapon for self defense. The commander's hatch is equipped with an open machine-gun installation with manual drives, carrying a large-caliber NSVT machine gun. Next to the turntable of the crane is a block of smoke grenade launchers.
The crew of the "Athlete" consists of three people. For the operation of equipment and special equipment are responsible driver-mechanic, commander and specialist fitter. During movement, they are located in their own places in the habitable compartment of the hull, access to which is provided by their own hatches in the roof. Hatches are equipped with viewing devices. During the evacuation or repair of damaged equipment, the crew can leave their car for certain works.
Based on the design of the existing combat vehicle, the BREM-84 has similar overall and weight indicators. The total length does not exceed 8,9 m with a width of about 3,5 m and an altitude of 2,74 m. Combat weight - 46 t. The car develops speed up to 60 km / h and has a cruising range of 450 km. Without preparation, a ford with a depth of up to 1,8 is overcome. The use of equipment for underwater driving is possible.
As far as is known, at the moment there are no more than three armored repair and recovery vehicles of the Atlet type. One of them was a prototype, and the other two must be handed over to the Thai army. Whether new representatives of this project will appear in the future is unknown. At the same time, there is every reason for negative forecasts. Order from the Ukrainian army is possible, but not very likely. BREM-84 was officially adopted ten years ago, but during this time, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which regularly spoke of the need for such equipment, did not order a single serial machine. It is hardly to be expected that this situation will change in the future.
Export prospects of the project also do not give reason for optimism. For a number of reasons, the international market of repair and recovery vehicles has limited volumes, and therefore not every offer of the manufacturer can find its customer. In addition, the potential of the “Athlete” will be adversely affected by known problems with the timing of orders. Two such cars, presented just now, should have reached Thailand no later than 2015 of the year. Which country wants to deal with such a “reliable” supplier is a big question.
After two decades of waiting and uncertainty, the armored repair and recovery vehicle BRET-84 “Athlete” still reached mass production, even in the smallest quantities. Nevertheless, against the background of some other Ukrainian projects, this can be considered a success. So the announcement of news at the highest level, up to the president, is fully justified. Especially if you remember that even such success can never happen again.
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