This is Part I of our review of the main achievements of Ukraine’s defense industry in 2017 in its armored vehicle, aviation, and shipbuilding branches, precision-guided munitions, radio positioning and communication technology, and air defense systems. We’ve reviewed the 2017 performance of more than one hundred Ukroboronprom production facilities, dozens of plants represented in the Ukraine Defense Industry League, Ukraine Munition and Military Equipment Manufacturers Association, some Ukrainian developers and defense industry plants. We have gathered and analyzed a lot of open-source information to demonstrate that Ukraine is rapidly developing its military technology potential and improving the defense capacity of its army against the backdrop of Russia’s aggression. A strong army is needed for the liberation of the national territory, after all. “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”
The first part of our review is dedicated to the achievements of Ukraine defense industry’s armored vehicle branch tasked with developing the powerful strike force for the state.
Armored vehicles, artillery, special-purpose equipment
In 2017, Malyshev Plant, one of flagships of the Ukrainian defense industry, proceeded actively with the rehabilitation of Bulat main battle tanks (MBT) delivered for repair from the zone of military operations in the East of Ukraine. As of November 2017, 53 combat vehicles were put in operation with further 12 still under repair. In July 2017, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) implemented a decree on Urgent Measures to Finance Ukraine National Security and Defense Needs providing for the allocation of UAH 300 million for the supply of modern Ukrainian Oplot tanks to the Ukrainian Army. Earlier, they were only produced for export.
According to Oleksandr Turchynov, NSDC Secretary, the 2018 state defense order calls for building at least 10 tanks of this kind. The plant has also started with scheduled maintenance and upgrades of T-84 – the predecessors of the newer Oplots.
A batch of T-80GP tanks refurbished by Kharkiv Armored Vehicle Plant was supplied to the Ukrainian Army units in the battle zone.
The plant rebuilt their engines, transmissions, and chassis. The tanks were equipped with modern electronic hardware and fire control systems, as well as with improved defense systems. These tanks have a 1,250 hp gas turbine engine capable of accelerating the heavy vehicles to 70 km/h and earning them the “Flying Tanks” nickname. Currently, there is a tank company armed with such tanks in each of the five brigades of the Ukrainian Army’s Air Assault Troops.
Moreover, Kharkiv Armored Vehicle Plant is revamping and repairing T-64 MBTs with all their modifications. According to preliminary data, the plant delivered at least 50 rebuilt tanks to the Ukrainian Army in 2017.
This is a video clip with a T-64 rebuilt by Kharkiv Armor Repair Plant being tested before the delivery to the Army.
In 2017, Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau kept supplying new BTR-4E armored personnel carriers (APC) to the Ukrainian Army. Over the last year, the company kept on improving the performance of this APC on the experience of its real-life combat deployment against the Russian hybrid army. Now, the APC has a more powerful and quieter engine, better weaponry, underbelly mine protection, and a modified weapon control and ammunition feed system. Since the beginning of the Russian military aggression, the Morozov Design Bureau has supplied more than a hundred APCs of this type to the Ukrainian army.
In September 2017, Kharkiv Automobile Plant was identified as a successful bidder for a contract for the repair of self-propelled UR-77 demining rocket launchers based on the MT-LB chassis.
To increase the army’s firepower, the Kyiv Armor Repair Plant (KBZ) delivered over 50 new BTR-3DA APCs to the uniformed agencies.
The machine is equipped with a Deutz (Germany) engine and the Allison (USA) automatic transmission. On the armament side it features a BM-3M Sturm-M combat module with the two-plane armament block stabilization which comes with a 30-mm ZTM-1 automatic cannon with the firing rate of 330 rounds per minute, a twin-barreled 7.62-mm KT machine gun with 2000 rounds, a KBA-117 automatic grenade launcher and a Barrier ATGM system capable of penetrating at least 800-mm armor without dynamic protection at a distance of up to 5 km. This arsenal turns BTR-3DA into a deadly threat to virtually any Russian armored vehicle.
In 2017, KBZ also rebuilt T-64 and T-72AV tanks. In addition, the plant rolled out a new modernized T-72AMT tank developed in house.
The tank is equipped with the new Nozh dynamic protection system, anti-HEAT screens, the new electronic optical equipment, digital radio sets made by Aselsan (Turkey) and Lybid K2 (Ukraine), and modern satellite navigation aids. In 2017, KBZ manufactured, upgraded, and rebuilt more than 100 armored vehicles. The plant’s field teams carried out multiple armored vehicle repairs within the ATO zone a number of times. They restored more than 50 vehicles damaged in combat.
In March 2017, the Ukrainian Army adopted Kozak-2 specialized infantry mobility vehicle (IMV) produced by NVO Praktyka, a private company from Kyiv. The IMV is intended for the transporting up to 10 personnel and military cargoes on any type of road and terrain. The IMV has a 12.7-mm machine gun to deliver covering fire. All the specifics of using the preceding model during the combat in Donbas were taken into account in this IMV design. The new vehicles are equipped with the cabin fire-fighting and tire pumping systems, and with heated front and rear windows. Its strengths include better 12-mm armor (STANAG Level II) made by Millux (Finland) which protects against 7.62 mm small arms fire and fragments. The crew is protected reliably with the stronger (PSZA-5) anti-mine bottom design. Its improved cross-country capability relies on Iveco Eurosargo 4×4 all-wheel drive chassis and the 280-hp 5.9-l Iveco Tector turbo diesel engine. In November, NVO Praktyka delivered a batch of 10 vehicles to the Ukrainian Army.
Before that, more than one hundred of these IMVs were supplied to the National Guard and the Border Service of Ukraine. In December 2017, NVO Praktyka won a bid to supply of 8 Kozak PM-L pyrotechnic light vehicles designed to deal with explosives, including demining, to the State Emergency Management Service.
Zhytomyr Armor Repair Plant kept carrying out the necessary repairs and upgrades of infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), the restoration of BTR-3 APCs of various modifications that had been used in the combat zone in Ukraine’s east. The armored vehicles were delivered to the Ukrainian Army units on the front line after the performance of all the necessary routine and overhaul operations. In 2017, the plant tested the Shkval and Stilet combat modules designed for arming upgraded IFVs. The plant is implementing a program of preparations for the production of BTR-4E APCs and its BM-7 Parus combat modules.
Lviv Armor Repair Plant has been rebuilding and upgrading T-72 tanks with at least 72 units to be handed over to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the year-end. In 2017, the plant also carried out major overhauls of T-64 tanks, BRM-1K armored vehicles, and routine repairs of T-80 tanks and other military special equipment. The plant continued to carry out the state defense order for the production of at least two dozen Dozor-B armored vehicles, 10 new armored repair and evacuation vehicles (BREM) in cooperation with the NVK Techimpex.
The GPM-72 firefighting tank adopted by the Ukrainian Army in 2017 is one of the latest machines developed by the company in the special-purpose equipment segment. It is designed to extinguish fires, carry out rescue operations in warehouses, arsenals, explosive storage facilities. It sports a 20-ton fire tank, a modern fire pump and a water cannon able to extinguish fire from up to 100 meters. The tank’s features include: increased cross-country capability, the protection of the crew with 30-mm armor against various rounds and fire protection.
The cab is equipped with a filter-ventilation unit; a body frame watering system is designed to reduce temperature. The GPM-72 firefighting was tested in live combat conditons for the first time when extinguishing fire at the ammunition depot in Kalynivka near Vinnytsia.
Mykolayiv Armor Repair Plant has rebuilt and upgraded more than 50 armored vehicles for the Ukrainian Army. They include several dozens of BRDM-2 armored scout cars with modern digital radio terminals also used by the NATO. The vehicles were fitted with new equipment and many systems were replaced; the manhole was made more ergonomic to facilitate disembarkation. This upgrade allows the Ukrainian military to use this armored car more efficiently for scouting and escorting convoys in the combat zone. The vehicles are armed with a 7.62-mm PKT machine gun and a 14.5-mm KPVT machine gun, it is also ready for installation of other types of specialized armament. BRDM-2 cars are capable of not only dealing with rough terrain but also of crossing water obstacles due to the specific design of its armored body. Mykolayiv Armor Repair Plant also is also upgrading BTR-80 and BTR-70 APCs for the Ukrainian Army by installing diesel engines.
The Precision Mechanics Plant has been performing the state defense order substantially ahead of schedule for the third consecutive year. This plant from Kamyanets-Podilskyi produced more than 250 ZTM1 and ZTM2 automatic cannons in 10 months of the year 2017.
These 30-mm guns are part of Sturm, Parus, Shkval and Stilet combat modules which are installed on various light armored combat vehicles. In addition, the company produced more than half a million cartridge belt links for various small arms and cannons to meet all the needs of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and defense sector plants.
At the same time, Artillery Design Bureau (Kyiv) was to supply more than a hundred barrels produced for 30-mm KBA-2 (51pcs.) and KBA-113 (2A42, 25pcs.) automatic cannons and 30-mm KBA-117 grenade launchers (50pcs.) to be installed in combat modules and used on armored combat vehicles.
In October 2017, 45th Experimental Mechanical Plant (Vinnytsia) handed over 26 rebuilt and upgraded AC-5,5 tankers based on Ural-4320 trucks as well as 6 TRM-80 and MTO-80 tank repair workshops. The plant also repairs BTR-4K armored personnel carriers. The AC-12-63221 tanker based on KrAZ-63221 chassis was adopted by the Ukrainian Army in 2017.
It is designed to transport fuel on any roads and cross country for mechanized refueling of automobiles and armored vehicles with filtered fuel, and for the short-term fuel storage. In the fall of 2017, the plant expanded its production capabilities significantly having Electrical Systems state-owned enterprise established on the basis of its facilities together with Delphi Automotive PLC (USA), one of the world’s largest spare parts manufacturers.
Shepetivka Repair Plant has been carrying out a full cycle of recovery of BM-21 Grad MLRS, 152-mm 2C3 Akatsiya and 122-mm 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled artillery systems throughout the year 2017.
Over the first nine months of 2017, the plant repaired 104 equipment items and delivered 56 spare parts and equipment sets to the Defense Ministry and the National Guard of Ukraine. The plant is actively developing the production of the armament part of the 122-mm BM-21 Grad MLRS, and the upgrades of BM 9P140 Uragan MLRS. The plant’s field teams repaired military equipment directly in the zone of military operations a number of times.
This is the video featuring fire tests of 2С3 Acacia and 2С1 Gvozdika howitzers rebuilt by Shepetivka Repair Plant:
In 2017, at least two batches of Varta specialized armored vehicles made by Ukrayinska Bronetekhnika company were delivered to the Ukrainian Army and the National Guard. These all-wheel drive off-road vehicles assembled on the basis of the MAZ-5434 chassis made in Belarus have been put to effective use in the combat zone. The vehicles feature reinforced MRAP anti-mine protection capable of protecting the crew against a mine explosion with a TNT equivalent yield of 6 kg. The crew is also reliably protected by a V-shaped armored capsule with a firefighting system made to NATO standards.
Varta is perfectly suited for the prevailing conditions of the trench warfare and for taking efficient countermeasures against Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups. It can be armed with a rotary turret bearing a 7.62-mm PKT machine gun or a 12.7-mm NSV machine gun. It can also be equipped with a remotely controlled combat module.
Together with the National Guard, the company has developed and is testing Varta-Novator, a new model of this armored vehicle intended for special units of the National Guard and Special Ops Forces of the Ukrainian Army. It is protected with the high-grade Armox (Sweden) steel that meets the requirements of PSZA-4 and PSZA-5 armor classes.
The armored potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard of Ukraine has grown significantly over the year 2017. More than 150 tanks rebuilt and upgraded by the armor repair plants, dozens of new BTR-3 and BTR-4 armored personnel carriers, and lots of other armored equipment were delivered to the Ukrainian Army.
The next part of the review will be dedicated to the achievements of the aircraft industry of Ukraine’s defense industry sector.
The publication features photos from: ukroboronprom.com, mil.gov.ua, na.mil.gov.ua, malyshevplant.com, 45emp.com.ua, tank.lviv.ua, practika.ua web sites
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