It was the T-64 main battle tank – a revolutionary tank in the Soviet and world tank design
The T-64 development program started right in the mid-1950s with the Object 430 creating the outstanding T-54 tank, meeting the war against Western tanks at that time. After many improvements, research, and experimentation, in 1966, the new T-64 tanks were accepted by the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet Council of Ministers. It was publicly revealed in 1970. The production ended in 1987 for all versions. The total production has reached almost 13,000.
The T-64 was the first Soviet tank to replace human loaders with mechanical autoloaders, reducing the crew from four to three, including commander, gunner and driver.
The T-64’s second trend-setting innovation was the introduction of composite armor, which layered ceramics and steel together to provide superior resistance compared to only steel. Armor protection ranged up to 450mm in thickness. In spite of being armed and armored like a heavy tank, the T-64 weighed only 38 tonnes.
Further, the T-64 had lightweight, small diameter all-steel road wheels in contrast to the large, rubber rimmed ones on the T-55 and T-62. These features made the T-64 expensive to build, significantly higher than previous generations of Soviet tanks. This was especially true of the power pack, which was time-consuming to build and cost twice as much as more conventional designs.
Initial production version of the T-64 was powered by a 4TPD opposed diesel engine. On later models it was replaced with updated 5TD and 5TDF engines, provided 700 horsepower.
The maximum speed can be up to 60km/h, the operating range is 500km and can be up to 700km with external tanks. The T-64 tank is fitted with a deep wading kit. It can ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep.
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 was considered as a medium tank due to its caliber. 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.
The T-64 was fitted with a single coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. Later versions were equipped with a 12.7mm NSVT series heavy machine gun to counter low-flying aerial threats. Standard NBC protection was afforded to the crew as was a fire extinguishing system.
|Mass||38 tonnes (42 short tons; 37 long tons)|
|Length||9.225 m (30 ft 3.2 in) (gun forward)|
|Width||3.415 m (11 ft 2.4 in)|
|Height||2.172 m (7 ft 1.5 in)|
|Crew||3 (driver, commander, gunner)|
|Armour||Glass-reinforced plastic sandwiched between layers of steel. ERA plates optional Hull & turret –|
370 mm to 440 mm vs APFSDS
500 mm to 575 mm vs HEAT
|D-81T (aka 2A46)125 mm smoothbore gun|
|7.62 mm PKMT coaxial machine gun, 12.7 mm NSVT anti-aircraft machine gun|
|Engine||5TDF 5-cylinder diesel 13.6 litre|
700 hp (522 kW)
|Power/weight||18.4 hp/tonne (13.7 kW/ton)|
|500 km (310 mi), 700 km (430 mi) with external tanks|
|Maximum speed||45–60 km/h (28–37 mph) depending on version|