Ukraine to offer upgrade for MBTs and APCs of Bangladesh Army
In the early 2010s, Ukraine received some orders for its medium and heavy vehicles from various countries, with Thailand’s acquisition of 49 Oplot main battle tanks (MBTs) being the largest one. According to Ukroboronprom, the state arms export defense agency, Ukraine is still in efforts to shore up its position on the armor maintenance and modernization market of the Asia-Pacific region, trying to win orders for the repair and upgrade of Soviet- and even Chinese-made armored systems.
Bangladesh Army MBT-2000 Chinese-made main battle tank. (Picture source Wikimedia)
The source from Ukroboronprom confirmed, for instance, the concern’s intention to maintain and upgrade Bangladesh’s armor, including the MBT-2000, Type 69-II, and Type 59G MBTs and the BTR-80 APCs. The Ukrainian defense industry has no experience of repair and modernization of Chinese-made heavy armor, except for the 6TD-1 and 6TD-2 engines that have been integrated with the MBT-2000 tank; neither does Ukraine obtain technical terms of reference for the upgrade of such vehicles.
The country’s armor repair plants could be also involved in the maintenance and modernization of the early models of the BTR-80; at the same time, the late BTR-80s have been fitted with modern sighting systems that cannot be overhauled by Ukraine.
Ukroboronprom also lacks capabilities and hardware to modernize modern Russian- and Chinese-made armor. The company could only provide repair and upgrade of the T-54 / T-55 and T-64 MBTs and the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), using the Soviet-age stocks of spare parts. Moreover, the concern cannot offer brand new reliable armored vehicles, focusing only on the rebuilding of surplus tanks and IFVs to support systems (for instance, the latest development of the Lviv Amour Plant (LBZ), the Zubr (Bison) armored recovery vehicle, is based on the chassis of the T-55 main battle tank, the production of which was completed more than 40 years ago).
Moreover, Ukroboronprom produces no spare parts for machine tools and cannot establish facilities for armor testing and checking procedures. Therefore, Ukraine’s efforts to upgrade the armored vehicles of the Bangladeshi military and the armies of other Asia-Pacific countries seem to be forlorn.