Their answer is "Armata". Ukraine is building a new tank
The military-industrial complex of modern Ukraine and the defense industry of the Ukrainian SSR have important similarities. Both republics possessed (and Ukraine continues to possess) the ability to build basic combat Tanks. However, this community ends. During the Cold War, the Malyshev Kharkov Plant produced up to 8 thousand T-64 tanks. This machine, of course, can be treated differently, but for its time the tank was quite a breakthrough. As for the plant itself, even in the 90s it could boast of ambitious plans and, at the very least, produced MBT. In 1996, Ukrainians signed an agreement with Pakistan, which envisaged the delivery of 320 T-80UD tanks in the amount of $ 550 million. The first batch was shipped the following year, and the entire contract was fulfilled in 1999. With a pace of up to 110 tanks built per year.
Modern plant named Malyshev is not even dreaming. The situation systematically worsened in 2000, and the conflict in the Donbas, in fact, only revealed the problems that had accumulated over the years in the enterprise. Several dozens of hugely produced Oplot tanks in the interests of Thailand are the best confirmation of this. In such conditions, an attempt to develop and launch a fundamentally new tank into the series is a desperate escapism. On the other hand, the Ukrainian military industrial complex does not lose faith in the “economic miracle,” even if it is ten or fifteen years old.
Немного stories. Back in the Soviet years, specialists from the Kharkov engineering design bureau engaged in the development of the 477 Object, also known as the Hammer. It was supposed to be a powerful “machine” with a smooth-bore 152-mm LP-83 gun. The tank received a "monitors" layout, and the crew was below the tower. The so-beloved analogy with the modern T-14 based on the “Armata” is not entirely true: The 477 object can only partly be considered a tank with an uninhabited tower. Differences with other tanks in that the entire crew of three in this case is not above the roof of the hull. Through the hatch in the tower could sit down and leave the tank. Above the hull there was a cannon with an automatic loader, sighting systems and a number of other systems and assemblies that ensure the combat capability of the tank.
The fate of the tank can be compared with the fate of the Russian Object 195. Partly lost Soviet technology, lack of the necessary funding and a lack of understanding of the general concept of using tanks in the 21st century led to the abandonment of the project. The “Hammer” project was turned into 2000, and a number of developments were used in the construction of the above-mentioned tank BM “Oplot”. Potentially not bad, but representing a typical example of the Soviet school of tank building, with all its advantages and disadvantages.
Hammer can be considered the last real attempt by Ukrainian designers (albeit with the participation of the Russian side) to build a new tank that would not become another version of the T-64 or T-80. What appeared after him can be entered in the category of fantasy. Positioned as the tank of a new generation of Futurized Main Battle Tank from the very beginning was just a bold concept. We recall that it was presented by Ukroboronprom and Spetstechnoexport at the DEFEXPO India 2014 exhibition. By that time, the country could no longer independently produce such complex equipment in series.
It was assumed that the tank will receive the 6TD-4 engine with the 1500 horsepower. or 6TD-5 horsepower 1800 They wanted to place the motor in front of the case, and immediately after it the engineers placed a habitable module. As in the case of the Russian T-14, the new tank would be equipped with an uninhabited remote-controlled tower, and the crew would be in a specially isolated armored capsule. As the main caliber considered 125-mm gun "Vityaz" or 140-mm perspective "Bagira."
Another popular now "novelty" - a complex of active protection (KAZ). In the case of FMBT, it should have been “Barrier”. By the way, the attitude of experts to this system is ambiguous. Some say that it has no fundamental differences from the outdated active defense systems of the Soviet period, such as the Thrush, and is unable to protect the tank from anti-tank weapons. On the other hand, in April of this year, the Turks began to equip the ZXlonom-L with modernized М60. And it’s hard to believe that the modern Ukrainian military-industrial complex could offer something fundamentally better for the Futurized Main Battle Tank project. The only real alternative could be the Israeli “Trophy”, which is already being installed not only on the “Merkava”, but also on the American “Abrams”. And who, according to rumors, showed himself well.
"Tirex": the ghost of T-64
After a somewhat bizarre presentation of Futurized Main Battle Tank, very strange things began to happen. In 2016, the engineering group "Azov", which had previously declared itself the combat vehicle of support for the tanks "Azovets", brought to light a concept with the proud name "Tireks". The analogy with the T-14 arose almost immediately. There is an uninhabited tower and three crew members sitting in a row in front of the MBT. Armament standard: 125-mm gun (probably), machine guns. Offered dynamic protection in the face of the blocks "Knife" and "Doublet". They did not dare to equip the concept with an active protection complex. Apparently, because of the price, although there could be reasons for a purely technological plan. On the other hand, an ambitious idea emerged to integrate the machine into a modern unified information-command network, thus giving it superiority over Oplot and Bulat.
Finally, the most interesting thing: they wanted to do everything on the basis of ... T-64. And let in a conditional series. The main thing is incomprehensible - why do Ukrainian fighters who have suffered from T-64BM “Bulat” have new problems in the face of an undeveloped, raw tank, made on an outdated basis. The developers positioned "Tirex" as a "tank of the transition period." However, in essence, “Bulat” and BM “Oplot” are such. In any case, they are far from the most powerful tanks in the world and can (as they are) be considered only as a temporary solution.
The future of the development, obviously, no. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense seems to have expressed its willingness to cooperate and purchase these tanks, but one can hardly expect anything like that. Now Ukraine is exploiting several different Soviet MBTs and their modifications at once, which of course goes against any concept of unification. The appearance of a new “guest” with dubious characteristics will not please anyone in this regard.
The latest statement by the Ukrainian side about the “new generation tank” appeared on the website of the Ukrainian state concern Ukroboronprom in May 2018. It was about the development by the forces of the Kharkov Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering named after A. Morozov infantry fighting vehicle and tank. It was reported that automation will reduce the number of crew to two, and engine power will be approximately 1500 liters. from. The information was limited to this, which is generally logical. The problem is that the main battle tanks are not the most important thing for the Ukrainian army. Modern armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, anti-tank systems and communications equipment are much more important. We are no longer talking about the state of combat aviation and air defense, as well as possible purchases of new aircraft. By virtue of this, we repeat, the likelihood of a new tank of "national" development in Ukraine is extremely small. And in the future, probably, Ukrainian experts will consider replacing the T-64 with some version of the Leopard (if there is money) or the Chinese VT-4 (if not).
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