T-64 Main Battle Tank | TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TANK
Development of the T-64 main battle tank commenced in 1954. First production tanks were delivered to the Soviet Army in 1963. Officially it was adopted only in 1967. It was publicly revealed in 1970. Over 6 000 of these MBTs off all versions were built. Some sources report that a total of 13 100 T-64 series tanks were built. During its introduction the T-64 was a very advanced tank, but had a number of significant drawbacks. It was never exported outside the Soviet Union. Currently it is in service with Ukraine (~ 1 500) and Uzbekistan (100). Russia had a couple of thousands T-64 tanks in storage, however some sources report, that by 2013 most of them have been scrapped. Some sources also report that in the early 2000s about 10 of these tanks were supplied from Uzbekistan to Angola, however this sale is not confirmed. In 2013 Ukraine sold 50 tanks to Congo. It was the first official export sale of this tank. Since 2014 upgraded Ukrainian Army T-64 tanks saw combat during ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. Also since 2014 a large number of surplus Russian T-64 tanks have been supplied to Russia-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
The T-64 had improved armor protection comparing with the previous Soviet tanks. It was the first Soviet tank to use ceramic composite armor. The T-64 is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.
Initial production version of the T-64 was armed with a fully-stabilized 115 mm gun. Essentially it was the same gun, as used on the previous T-62 medium tank. Initial production version of the T-64 is considered as a medium tank due to its caliber. It was not built in large numbers. The T-64 was the first Soviet tank to be fitted with an autoloader. At that time only the Swedish STRV-103 had such feature. The autoloader allowed to reduce the crew, as loader was no longer required. Reduction of the crew allowed to reduce the size of the turret. The T-64 fires HE, HE-FRAG, and APFSDS rounds. Maximum rate of fire was up to 10 rounds per minute.
Initial production version of the T-64 was fitted with a single coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. It had no roof-mounted machine gun.
This tank has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.
Initial production version of the T-64 was powered by a 4TPD opposed diesel engine, developing 700 hp. It was a Soviet unsuccessful attempt to copy powerpack of the British Chieftain. On later models it was replaced with updated 5TD and 5TDF engines. These engines were more compact due to their opposed design, had high power output, however they were notoriously unreliable. Engine compartment of the T-64 is nearly twice smaller than that of the T-55. The T-64 can run on various fuels, including diesel, petrol or kerosene. The tank has a fuel consumption of 170-200 liters/100 km traveling on hard surface roads and 300-450 liters/100 km when traveling on field roads. Add-on fuel tanks can be fitted to extend the maximum road range to around 700 km. The T-64 tank is fitted with a deep wading kit. It can ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep.
At the time of its introduction the T-64 was a very advanced machine. On the other side it was expensive to build and troublesome to maintain. A less capable, but cheap and reliable T-72 tank was introduced a couple of years later. The T-72 was produced in thousands. It was the workhorse of the Soviet Army. Production numbers of the T-64 were smaller and it was rather a force multiplier. Initially the T-64 had some fire control advantages, but that diminished with introduction of improved versions of the T-72. Currently the T-64 tank is out dated.
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