Ukraine has renewed development of heavy infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) based on the T-64 main battle tank (MBT), Ukroboronprom has announced.
The Kharkov Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau had previously created prototypes of a new IFV based on the T-64 but work is understood to have ceased some years ago.
Now the firm has resumed development of the heavy IFV in order to ready the designs for serial production. According to Ukroboronprom, this work could be completed in time to allow for mass production to begin before the end of the year.
Instead of the 125 mm armed main turret of the T-64, a new IFV turret has been added to the vehicle. Boasting an impressive amount of firepower, the original prototype features a turret armed with a ZTM-1 30 mm automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm machine gun. Two anti-tank missiles are mounted on the left-hand side of the turret, while two banks of three grenade launchers are attached to the front of the turret. In addition, the commander's hatch on the roof of the turret features a cupola armed with a twin GSh-23 mm cannon and a 30 mm automatic grenade launcher.
The T-64 IFVs armour protection has also been increased with the incorporation of Nozh ('Knife') advanced dynamic protection system (explosive reactive armour - ERA), although a defensive aid suite (DAS) was not known to have been installed on the original prototype.
Ukraine has suffered massive losses among its armoured vehicle inventories. While exact numbers are hard to pin down, it has likely lost at least 150 MBTs and a further 350 IFVs of various types during the conflict.
The T-64-based IFV is understood to weigh in at around 34.5 tonnes, making it well over double the weight of the 14.3 tonne BMP-2 and more akin to the 32.7 tonne weight of the US Army's Bradley M2A3 IFV.
Converting MBT hulls into IFVs is not a new concept, with Israel in particular well known for converting first Centurion tank hulls, and now Merkava tank hulls into heavy IFVs - due to their utility in urban warfare, where speed is less relevant and all-round protection is key. The Ukrainian T-64 IFV is, however, dwarfed by the Merkava-derived Namer IFV, which weighs 62 tonnes.
47 ton airlift AN-70
Ukraine has approved production of the Antonov An-70 transport aircraft and will introduce it into service with its armed forces
Serial production will now begin, although the company did not specify numbers or timelines.
The An-70 is a four-engined propfan that has been jointly developed by Ukraine and Russia. With a cargo hold measuring 22.4 m in length, 4.80 m in width, and 4.40 m in height, the airlifter has a hold volume of 425 m cubed. This, combined with a range of 6,598 km (with a 20,000 kg payload) and a maximum payload of 47,000 kg, place the An-70 in the same category of airlifter as the A400M Atlas from Airbus Defence and Space.
With a forecasted global heavy-lift market valued at about USD30 billion over the next decade, the An-70 is likely to find itself competing not just with the A400M, but against the Embraer KC-390 and the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules also.
The An-70 seen during its Paris Airshow debut in 2013. Ukraine has now approved production of the airlfiter, and has committed to introducing the type into service. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen