Czech defense company to repair Ukrainian T-64 tanks for immediate deployment

Prague, Czech Republic, June 6, 2023 - The Czech defense company in Nový Jičín will soon begin repairing Ukrainian T-64 tanks, according to the Czech Ministry of Defense's statement today. The exact number of tanks to be serviced in the Czech Republic in the coming months was not disclosed for security reasons, but they will be directly deployed to the battlefield.
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Ukrainian army T-64BV Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Wikipedia)

The deal to repair and upgrade the T-64 tanks of the Ukrainian army was made by the state-owned company based on a memorandum between state-owned enterprises VOP CZ and the Ukrainian state conglomerate Ukroboronprom from February of this year.

"Czech Republic supports and will continue to support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian aggressor. We provide surplus military equipment, train Ukrainian soldiers, and now we are also helping with the repair of Ukrainian equipment. We offer our knowledge and skills in training and repairs, and from Ukrainians, we gain invaluable combat experience," said Defense Minister Jana Černochová.

By the end of this year, VOP CZ employees must repair an unspecified number of T-64 tanks, of Soviet origin. "For VOP CZ, it is a great opportunity to repair equipment that then goes directly to the front line," says the company's director, Marek Špok. He added that his company's employees visited Ukroboronprom factories in Ukraine in recent weeks to establish mutual cooperation.

According to Špok, the tanks have been stored in warehouses for decades and require complete disassembly, replacement of many spare parts, and full restoration of combat capability. "The modernization will generally be carried out under the technical supervision of Ukrainian experts, given their direct participation. The tanks will be equipped with optical observation system devices, more advanced communication, and so on," explained Špok, noting that everything would be carried out under increased security measures.

"We are grateful to our Czech colleagues for the partnership and believe in the great prospects of our cooperation. The agreements reached with VOP CZ are a fulfillment of the agreement to create a joint defense cluster with the Czech Republic, which Ukroboronprom and the Intergovernmental Defense Cooperation Agency (AMOS) concluded at the end of last year. The cooperation generally includes the production of military equipment, increased production of ammunition of various calibers (both on existing capacities and newly created in safe places), development of service nodes for maintenance and repair of anti-aircraft weapons, as well as cooperation in the field of advanced technologies, in particular the creation of joint scientific research centers," said Ukroboronprom CEO Yuriy Husyev.

The project is one of the first concrete results of the cooperation after the creation of the so-called defense cluster, which aims to support the creation of new Czech-Ukrainian joint ventures with the goal of increasing the production of military material for the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces.

According to Aleš Vytečka, the director of the Intergovernmental Defense Cooperation Agency, which connected the two companies, VOP CZ is the first company to sign such a contract. "Cooperation between state enterprises in a time of crisis war solution is very effective. VOP CZ is also a company with tradition and rich experience in repairing heavy military equipment, specifically tanks," Vytečka reminded.

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Ukrainian army T-64BM2 Bulat MBT Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Wikimedia)

Currently, the Ukrainian army operates several variants of the T-64 tank, which was originally developed and introduced by the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a large number of these tanks and has since developed several of its own upgraded variants.

One of these is the T-64A, an early model of the T-64 introduced in the late 1960s. This variant is equipped with a 125mm smoothbore gun and carries a number of improvements over the initial T-64 design. The T-64B is an upgraded variant of the T-64A and was introduced in the mid-1970s. It boasts improved armor protection, a new fire control system, and the ability to fire anti-tank guided missiles from its main gun.

A further advancement is the T-64BV, which is an upgrade of the T-64B that features explosive reactive armor for increased protection. The T-64BM Bulat is a Ukrainian modernized version of the T-64BV. This variant presents significant upgrades to armor protection, fire control, and mobility.

Another modernized variant is the T-64BM2, a newer version of the Bulat, featuring improvements such as a new engine and thermal imaging. Finally, the T-64U is a modernized variant of the T-64B that features upgrades to its fire control system and other equipment.