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Main battle tank


The T-64 was a very advanced tank during its introduction, but suffered from some drawbacks

Entered service 1976
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 39 t
Length (gun forward) 9.23 m
Hull length 6.54 m
Width 3.41 m
Height 2.17 m
Main gun 125-mm smoothbore
ATGW Kobra AT-8 Songster
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm, 1 x 12.7-mm
Elevation range - 6 to + 14 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 36 rounds
ATGW 4 missiles
Machine guns 1 250 x 7.62; 300 x 12.7
Engine 5TDF diesel
Engine power 700 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 500 - 600 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.72 m
Fording 1.4 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m


   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. 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 2014 Ukraine sold 50 tanks to Congo. It was the first ever official export sale of this tank. In 2014 upgraded Ukrainian Army T-64 tanks have seen combat during ongoing military conflict in Ukraine. Also since 2014 a large number of 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. The initial production version 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. An autoloader allowed to reduce the size of the turret as additional crew member for gun loading operations was no longer required. 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.




   T-64A improved version, produced since 1969. Unlike the original T-64, the T-64A was produced in large numbers. It had improved armor protection. The front arc of the T-64A provides protection against 100-mm rounds. It was also armed with a new 125-mm smoothbore gun. The T-64A is considered as the first Soviet main battle tank. Maximum rate of fire was 6-8 rounds per minute. Engine of the T-64A was fitted with a rev limiter in order to extend its service life. Maximum road speed was reduced to 60 km/h. Since 1972 these tanks were fitted with a roof-mounted remotely-controlled 12.7-mm machine gun;

   T-64AK command vehicle;

   T-64AM fitted with 6TD diesel engine, developing 1 000 hp. It entered service in 1983;

   T-64B main battle tank was developed as a force multiplier. It can fire Kobra anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary rounds. Missiles have a maximum range of 4 000 m and a hit probability of about 80%. It penetrates 650-700 mm of rolled homogenous armor. This tank was adopted to service in 1976. Some source report that in the early 2000s about 10 of these tanks were delivered from Uzbekistan to Angola;

   T-64B1 was adopted to service alongside the T-64B in 1976. It is similar to the T-64B, but has no capability to launch anti-tank missiles;

   T-64BK command tank. It was fitted with additional radio and navigation equipment. It entered service in 1976. It was used by units equipped with T-64B and T-64B1 tanks;

   T-64BM fitted with 6TD diesel engine, developing 1 000 hp. It was produced between 1983 and 1985. This engine was also retrofitted on some older T-64 tanks during repair and modernizations;

   T-64B1M version of the T-64B1, powered by a 6TD diesel, developing 1 000 hp. It was also produced between 1983 and 1985;

   T-64BV with improved armor and Kontakt add-on explosive reactive armor. It is fitted with a total of 179 ERA blocks that provide protection against HEAT roudns. Production of this tank commenced in 1985. During repairs and modernizations older T-64B, T-64B1, T-64BM and T-64B1M tanks were also fitted with Kontakt ERA. In 2014 Ukraine sold a total of 50 T-64B1V tanks to Congo;

   T-64B1K command tank;

   T-64BM Bulat a Ukrainian upgrade of the T-64B. Protection was improved by installing new Nozh modular add-on explosive reactive armor. The Bulat is fitted with a new fire control system of Ukrainian T-84 MBT. It is also fitted with new 5TDFM engine, developing 850 hp or 6TD-1, developing 1 000 hp. First upgraded tanks were delivered to Ukrainian Army in 2005;

   T-64E a Ukrainian upgrade of the T-64BV, aimed specially at export customers. Protection has been improved. It is fitted with Duplet (Nozh-2) explosive reactive armor of new generation. The tanks is also fitted with improved and more powerful 5TDFE engine, developing 850 hp. It also has new sights and improved fire control system;

   BREM-64 armored recovery vehicle. It is a Ukrainian conversion of the T-64A main battle tank. The turret has been removed and vehicle was fitted with front-mounted dozer blade, crane, recovery winch and other tools. It seems that only one prototype of this vehicle exist;

   MT-64 armored bridgelayer. Sometimes it is referred as MTU-64. It is a Ukrainian conversion of the T-64A main battle tank, with the turret removed and fitted with a scissor-type assault bridge. It seems that only one prototype of this vehicle exist;

   T-80 it is a further development of the T-64, fitted with a high performance gas turbine engine, developing 1 000 hp. It was produced alongside the T-64 and T-72 tanks.

Video of the T-64 main battle tank