Feb 18, 2021
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“Thundering fire …”: Yankees learn to drive T-84

Photo: tank T-84 "Oplot"

In the photo: tank T-84 “Oplot” (Photo: Mikhail Markiv / TASS)

The American military will be taught how to manage Ukrainian tanks. For these purposes, apparently, a combat T-84 (“Oplot”) was delivered to the Yuma test site in Arizona, according to The National Interest.

Author – Military Expert Peter Suciu – draws his conclusion based on simple logic. Since usually military vehicles of foreign production appear at this training ground for the training of American soldiers, the Ukrainian vehicle also ended up there, as a kind of training “aid”.

Namely, so that the American military not only get acquainted with all the features of the tank, but also learn how to operate it.

Suciu recalls that this is not the first time that a Ukrainian combat vehicle has been spotted at a test site in the United States. In 2003, the Americans purchased a batch of four Ukrainian tanks for testing at the Aberdeen Test Center (Maryland).

Ukrainian “Oplot” is a modification of the Soviet T-80 tank. It differs from its predecessor in a new fire control system, a commander’s sight, an original welded turret, side screens, built-in reactive armor and a Varta optical-electronic countermeasures system with a laser control system for protection against precision weapons.

So, in any case, it is represented by the Ukrainian defense industry.

At the same time, in Ukraine itself, the T-84 was almost never used, and although it was adopted for service back in 2000, it never entered the series due to its high cost. In total, about a dozen of these machines were produced. Another, as previously reported, is the Kharkov plant named after Malyshev, which is part of Ukroboronprom, will be manufactured in 2021. The tank should be ready by August 24 to take part in the military parade to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day. Then they are going to use it at international exhibitions.

There was also a scandalous story with exports to Thailand, which seriously damaged the reputation of the entire Ukrainian military-industrial complex.

The Thais in 2011 signed a contract with Ukraine for the supply of 49 combat vehicles worth $ 240 million by 2015. However, Bangkok received the first batch of twenty Oplots only in 2016. The customer was even ready to terminate the contract and collect a penalty from Kiev, but then extended it for another year. But the performer did not meet the deadline here either – Ukraine was able to transfer the last six tanks only in August 2018.

In addition, it turned out that the quality of Ukrainian “Oplots” is far from meeting the stated standards. The armor turned out to be much worse than advertised, and the mechanisms of the tanks, including the weapon guidance system, were constantly out of order.

As a result, Thailand simply refused the second batch of 49 cars.

As for the T-84, which was seen at the Yuma test site, it is quite likely that this is the very only “Oplot”, which in February 2018 the Kharkov “Plant named after Malysheva ”was going to be sold to the Americans through the mediation of a certain state-owned special exporter. In Ukraine, high hopes were pinned on this deal, counting on expanding cooperation with the United States in the military-industrial sphere.

Meanwhile, as the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine explained in the comments to Vzglyad Victor Murakhovsky, the Americans acquired the model not at all in order to develop the Ukrainian military-industrial complex.

According to him, “the Americans bought one tank in the same way as they bought previous modifications of Soviet products one by one: one plane, one tank, one missile. They need to disassemble equipment, conduct tests, check security parameters, visibility in various ranges (electronic, optical, infrared), and so on. “

Although the basis of the Oplot tank is the well-known Soviet T-64 vehicle, the Americans were interested in all of its further modifications. In the same way, they bought, for example, a T-80UD tank and other armored vehicles, the expert noted.

Military expert Alexey Leonkov, in turn, is also sure that the United States is not interested in the export volumes of the products of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex:

– In fact, the Americans are very attentive to any equipment that was once produced by the Soviet military industry. And they are very fond of receiving such weapons and such complexes, so that, as they say, they can practice certain combat missions in nature.

For example, in the state of Nevada they have the Tonopah airbase with several test sites where Soviet air defense systems are concentrated – Strela-10, Osa-AKM, Krug, Kvadrat, Tor air defense missile systems, St. 300 V etc. They basically received all this from the former republics of the USSR and the countries of the former socialist camp.

At the same base, the Americans are testing Soviet and Russian planes that came to them in the same way.

As for Yuma, there are certain units of armored vehicles.

The fact is that the production of armored vehicles for the Americans actually stopped in 2008, and they could not establish it. Trump tried to do this, but now, after his departure, hardly anyone will continue this topic.

Most likely, they will continue the theme – “let’s create some kind of ammunition that will stop these tanks.” By the way, they now have an idea in the air – to create an artificial intelligence ammunition that will hit the main battle tanks with high precision.

The Ukrainian “Oplot” was created on the basis of the Soviet T-64 tank. The work was carried out when there were still normal relations with Russia. Almost all armored vehicles production in Ukraine was based on close cooperation with Russian partners. And when, after the coup d’etat, all ties were severed, the tank did not receive the innovations that were originally announced.

“SP”: – But the Ukrainians themselves are very proud of their “Oplot”. Why, I wonder?

– Yes, there are some elements of active dynamic protection, there are other sights that differ from the T-64. But, let’s say, in general, the tank did not show itself in any way. Because the main task there was a fire control system and the supply of new cannon barrels. In Ukraine, this case is very bad. They don’t know how to make gun barrels. Now some pipe-rolling plant makes smooth-bore guns there, but their survivability is very low.

Again, a strange thing: if in Ukraine these tanks fired and hit the target accurately, then in Thailand for some reason they refused to do so.

But as a kind of teaching aid, I think the T-84 will do just fine. As a working model, for example, at which you can direct drones, air-to-ground missiles or high-precision weapons of artillery systems. So that this tank can be clearly detected, identified and destroyed.

It is clear that the Americans themselves will not go into battle on this machine. But they need those who will do it. And in order for them to do this effectively, they need to be given appropriate complexes. And have such complexes if circumstances begin to develop not according to their scenario.

Therefore, they work out on the available samples various techniques and tactics, as well as various weapons systems, target designation and target guidance systems.

“SP”: – That is, Kiev’s hopes for deepening military-technical cooperation with the United States will not come true?

– They can hope as much as they want. But the fact is that the Americans do not tolerate competition in military-technical cooperation. Not a single contract that was signed with the Americans on military-technical cooperation has ever brought benefits to anyone, except the Americans themselves.

Therefore, there will be no integration.

It is beneficial for the Americans that, so to speak, “partners” buy their weapons. And participation in the technological chains of the production of weapons and military equipment still needs to be earned. Not all states are allowed this.

But what in this sense can Ukraine offer with its subsidized economy, which is about to collapse?

Only the almost deceased military-industrial complex, which has repeatedly tried to interest many countries in the NATO bloc with its projects. They tried to create something with Poland, but it didn’t work out. Now great hopes in Kiev are pinned on Great Britain. But the British army itself now lacks the funds to maintain combat readiness.

To me, all these fussy attempts of Ukraine remind me not of a healthy search for cooperation, but a kind of agony of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex. Therefore, no one will risk any developments and investments in such a situation. In addition, the country has long had a reputation for being unreliable, despite the fact that the Ukrainian leadership is literally ready to go all out for the sake of NATO membership.

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