From Academic Kids

T-64 with fording snorkels erected.
General Characteristics
Length 9.2 m
Width 3.4 m
Height 2.2 m
Weight 38 t
Speed 75 km/h (road)
Primary armament 125mm/L80 gun with 40 rounds¹
Secondary armament 7.62mm PKMT machine gun in coaxial mount²
Power plant 559 kW (750 hp) diesel
Crew three (driver, gunner, commander)
1. later variants can carry an alternate ammo load of 25×125mm and 8×AT-8 "Songster" or AT-11 "Svir" ATGMs.
2. Can also carry a 12.7mm DShK or NSVT heavy machine gun in a remote-controlled antiaircraft mount on the front of the commander's hatch.

The T-64, a Soviet main battle tank, was introduced in the late 1960s. It was designed parallel to the T-72 series and is very similar in appearance. Unlike the T-72 it was only used by the Soviet Army and never exported. Most of those produced are still in service, though it is no longer being manufactured. Prior to 1989, they were used only by Soviet troops stationed in East Germany during the Cold War; Soviet units elsewhere got the T-72.

Currently many of the old Soviet inventory of T-64 tanks are in service with the military of Ukraine. The T-64 design has been further developed as the T-80 and T-84.


Project History

Project 430

Studies for the design of a new battle tank started as early as 1951. The KB-60M team was formed at the Kharkov plant n°75 by engineers coming back from Nizhnyi Tagil, with A. A. Morozov at its head. A project named object 430 gave birth to three prototypes which were tested in Kunbika in 1958. Those vehicles showed characteristics which were going to radically change the design of battle tanks on this side of the Iron Curtain. For the first time, an extremely compact opposed-cylinder engine was used : the 4TD, designed by the plant's engine design team. The transmission system comprised two lateral gears on each side of the engine. Those two innovations yield a very short engine compartment with the opening located beneath the turret. The engine compartment volume was almost half of the T-54's one. The cooling system was extracting and a new lightweight suspension was fitted, featuring hollow metallic wheels of a small diameter and caterpillar tracks with rubber joints.

The tank would keep a D-10TS 100mm gun and a front 120mm armour. As it did not present a clear superiority in terms of combat characteristics when compared to the T-55 which was entering active service, Morozov decided that production was not yet ready given the project's drawbacks. However, studies conducted on the object 430U, featuring a 122mmm gun and a 160mm armour, demonstrated that the tank had to potential to fit the firepower and armour of a heavy tank on a medium tank chassis. A new project was consequently started, object 432.

Project 432

The gun fitted on this new tank was a powerful 115mm D-68 (2A21). A potentially risky decision was taken, to replace the human loader by a electro-hydraulic automatic system, which had not been done before. The crew was reduced to three which allowed an important gain in weight, from 36 tonnes (object 430) to 30.5 tonnes. The height dropped by 76mm.

However, the arrival of the British L-7 gun and the US M-68, fitted respectively to the Centurion and M-60 tanks, forced the team to undertake another audacious première, with the adoption of a composite armour. The recently created process was called K combination by Western armies : this protection consisted in an aluminium alloy layer between two high strength steel layers. As a consequence, the prototype mass rised eventually to 34 tonnes. But as the engine was now a 700ch 5TDF (also locally designed), its mobility remained excellent, far superior to the active T-62. The object 432 was ready in September 1962 and the production started in October 1963 in Kharkov plant. On December 30, 1966, it entered its service as the T-64.

Technical description



As early as the beginning of the production, the design team started to work on a new version which would allow to keep firepower superiority, named object 434. To do so, the brand new powerful 125mm D-81T gun, from the Perm weapons factory, was adapted. This led to subsequent modifications: the loader became a EZ10 with 28 rounds and a fire rate of 8 shots per minute; the stabiliser, a 2E23, was coupled to the new TPD-2-1 sight. Night driving was also adapted with the new TPN-1-43A periscope which would benefit from the illumination of a powerful infrared L2G projector, fitted on the left side of the gun. The shielding was improved, with fibreglass replacing the aluminium alloy in the armour, and small spring-mounted plates fitted along the mudguards (known as the Gill skirt), to cover the top of the suspension and the side tanks. They were however extremely fragile and were often removed. Some small storage spaces were created along the turet, with a compartment on the right and three boxes on the front left. Schnorkels were mounted on the rear of the turret. A NBC protection system was fitted and the hatches were widened.

Prototypes were tested in 1966 and 1967 and, as production began after the six hundredth T-64, it entered service in the Red Army under the T-64A designation. The chief engineer Morozov was awarded the Lenin Prize for this model's success. Designed for elite troops, the T-64A was constantly updated as available equipment was improved. After only three years in service, a first modernisation occured, regarding :

  • fire control, by replacing the sights with a TPD-2-49 and a TPN-1-49-23, and stabilisation by mounting a 2E26 system.
  • the radio by mounting a R-123M
  • night vision with a TBN-4PA for the driver and a TNP-165A for the tank leader. His battlepost was transformed by mounting a small stabilised turret with an anti-aircraft NSVT 12.7mm X108 machine gun, electrically guided through an optical PZU-5 sight, and fed with 300 shots. It could be used from within the tank so that the tank leader could avoid being exposed (as on previous tanks). The possibility of mounting a KMT-6 anti-mine system was also added.

A derived version appeared at the same time, designed for the commanding officer, and named T-64AK. It comprised a R-130M radio with a 10m telescopic antenna which could be used only in a static position as it required shrouds, an artillery PAB-2AM periscope and TNA-3 navigation station, all of those could be supplied by an auxiliary gasoline-fired generator.

In 1976, the weapons system was imprved by mounting a D-81TM (2A46-1), stabilised by a 2A28M2, supplied by an automatic 6AZ10M. The night sight is replaced by a TNPA-65 and the engine can accpet different fuels, including diesel fuel, kerosene or gasoline. The production, first carried on along with the B variant, stops in 1980.

But the majority of T-64A's are still modernised after 1981, by mounting a six smoke grenade-launcher 82mm 902A on each side of the gun, and by replacing the Gill plates by a rubber skirt for a longer life. Some of them seem to have been fitted after 1985 with reactive bricks (as the T-64BV), or even with laser TPD-K1 telemeters instead of the TPD-2-49. Almost all T-64's were modernised into T-64R, between 1977 and 1981, by reorganising external storage and schnorkesl, similarly as on the T-64A.


The design team was carrying on its work on new versions. Problems with the setup of the 5TDF engine occured as the local production capacity was proven to be insufficient against a production done in three factories (Malyshev in Kharkov, Kirov in Leningrad and Uralvagonzavod).

From 1961, and alternative to the object 432 was studied, with 12 V-cylinder V-45 engine : the object 436; three prototypes were tested in 1966 in the Chelyabinsk factory. The order to develop a model derived from the 434 with the same engine gave the object 438, later renamed as object 439. Four tanks of thi stype were built and tested in 1969, which showed the same mobility as the production version, but mass production was not started. They served however as a basis for the design of the T-72 engine compartment.

In the beginning of the 70's, the design team was trying to improve the tank further. The T-64A-2M study in 1973, with its more powerful engine and its reinforced turret, served as a basis for two projects :

  • The object 476 with a 6TD 1000ch engine which served as a model for the T-80 combat compartment.
  • The object 447 which featured a new fire control with a laser telemeter, and which was able to fire missiles through the gun.

For the latter, the order was given to start its production under the name T-64B, as well as a derived version (which shared 95% of its components), the object 437, without the missile guidance system for cost reasons. The latter was almost twice as much produced under the designation T-64B1. On September 3, 1976, the T-64B and the T-64B1 were declared good for the service, featuring the improved D-81Tm gun (2A46-2) with a 2E26M stabiliser, a 6EZ40 loader and a 1A33 fore control, including:

  • a 1V517 ballistic calculator
  • a 1G21 sight with laser telemetry
  • a 1B11 lateral wind sensor.

Its ford capacity reaches 1.8m without equipment. The T-64B had the ability to fire the new 9K112 "Kobra" radio-guided missile (NATO code "AT-8 Songster"). The vehicule then carries 8 missiles and 28 shells. The missile control system is mounted in front of the tank leader small turret and sas many changes. The T-64B1 carries only 37 shells and has 2,000 7.62mm shots, against 1,250 for the T-64B.

They are modernised in 1981 by the replacement of the gun by a 2A46M1, the stabiliser by a 2E42, and the mounting of a 902A "Tutscha-1" smoke grenade launcher in two groups of four, on each side of the gun. Two command versions are realised, very similar to the T-64AK: the T-64BK and the T-64B1K.

The decision, in October 1979, to start the production of the 6TDengine, and its great similarity with the 5TDF engine, allowed after some study to fit it in versions B and B1, but also A and AK, yielding the new models T-64AM, T-64AKM, T-64BM and T-64BAM, entering service in 1983.

The production ended in 1987 for all versions. The total production has reached almost 8,000.

Modernisations in Ukraine

After the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine carried on the development of T-64 modernisations, as the original and main factory was in this country.

Two programmes ended in 1999:

  • The T-64BM2, with a 57DFM 850cv engine, a new 1A43U fire control, a new 6AZ43 loader and the possibility to fire the 9K119 missile (NATO code "At-11 Sniper").
  • The T-64U which integrated on top the 1A45 fire control (from the T-80U and T-84), PNK-4SU and TKN-4S optics for the tank leader and PZU-7 for the AA machine gun. The tank leader is then able to drive the tank and to use the gun directly if needed.

The two variants are also protected by Kontact-5 reactive bricks, able to resist to kinetic energy projectiles, as opposed to the first models which were efficient only against chemical energy attacks (hollow shells). Those two variants could also be remotorised with the 6TDF 1000cv engine.

Service Life

The tank remained secret for a long time, the West often confusing it with the T-72 tank, less evolved. It was never deployed abroad, except in the two Chechnya conflicts, still in limited number.

The USSR reserved it for its elite units, independent tank regiments, and divisions based in GDR ready to attack NATO forces. The rest of the Red Army had to use T-72s, or even T-62s and modernized T-55s. In case of conflict with Western Europe in the 70's and 80's, it would have been a great threat to Western tanks. Modernized, it remains very efficient, like the Ukrainian T-64U. It is reasonable to assume that it is as dangerous as the T-80 or the T-84.

The T-64 did not share many drawbacks with the T-72, even fit is often confused with it :

  • The automatic loader, hydraulic and not electric, is much faster (loading cycle of 6 to 13 seconds) and more reliable, less sensitive to jolts when running off-road. It also has a "sequence" fire mode which feeds the gun with shells of the same type in less than 5 seconds. It is also able, in the modern versions, to turn backwards to keep a good speed at the end of the load.
  • its driving seems much less exhausting for the crew, thanks to assisted controls and a more flexible suspension.
  • The ammunition is transported at the lower point of the turret shaft, minimizing the risks of destruction by self-detonation.
  • its shielding, excellent from the beginning and constantly updated, remains able to stop modern shells thanks to the reactive armor.
  • The fire control on the B version is very modern.
  • The tank leader's small turret has good sights, the AA machine gun can be used under the armor; he can also control the gun sight in case of emergency.

It suffers however from two usual drawbacks on Soviet tanks:

  • the weakness of the gun negative aiming, limited to -6°, forbids it many fire positions on crest, a disadvantage in defense situations.
  • The crew compartments are very small which prevents its use by tall crew members, demands the use of external storage and makes long missions tiring.

Production History

The T-64 first entered production in 1967, shortly before the T-72. The T-64 was KMDB's high-technology offering, intended to replace the IS-3 and T-10 heavy tanks in independent tank battalions. Meanwhile, the T-72 was intended to supersede the T-55 and T-62 in equipping the bulk of Soviet tank and mechanized forces, and for export partners and east-bloc satellite states.

It introduced a new autoloader, which is still used on all T-64s currently in service, as well as all variants of the T-80 except the Ukrainian T-84-120. The T-64 prototypes had the same 115mm smoothbore gun as the T-62, the ones put in full-scale production had the 125mm gun.

While the T-64 was the superior tank, it was more expensive and physically complex, and was produced in smaller numbers. The T-72 is mechanically simpler and easier to service in the field, while it is not as well protected, and its manufacturing process is correspondingly simpler.

The T-64 was never common in Soviet service, except with those units stationed in East Germany. It was never exported, and has seen only limited combat experience—in the campaigns against Chechen separatists. Only a few thousand T-64s were built. Many T-64s ended up in Ukrainian service after the breakup of the Soviet Union.


  • Object 430, 1957 prototype, D-10T 100 mm gun, 120mm armour, 4TPD 580 cv engine, 36 tonnes.
  • Object 430U, project equipped with a 122mm gun and a 160mm armour.
  • Object 432 or T-64, 1961 prototype with a D-68 115 mm gun, then initial production version with the same features, about 600 tanks produced.
  • Object 436 alternative version for the object 432, with a V-45 engine, three built.
  • Object 443R or T-64R redesigned between 1977 and 1981 with external gear from the T-64A.
  • Object 434 or T-64A, 125 mm gun, equiped with the Gill reinforced skirts, a modified sight and suspension on the fourth road wheel.
  • T-64T, 1963 experimental version with a GTD-3TL 700 cv gas turbine.
  • Object 438 and Object 439, 434's with a V-45 diesel engine.
  • Object 446 or T-64AK, 1972 command version, with a R-130M rafio and its 10m telescopic antenna, a TNA-3 navigation system ; without the AA machine gun, it carries 38 shells.
  • Object 447 or T-64B, redesigned armour, 1A33 fire control, able to fire the 9K112 « Kobra » (NATO code "AT-8 Songster"), 2A46-2 gun, 2A26M stabiliser, 6EZ40 loader.
  • Object 437 or T-64B1, same as the latter without the fire control system, carrying 37 shells.
  • Object 446B or T-64BK and T-64B1K command versions, with a R-130M radioand its 10m telescopic antenna, a TNA-3 navigation system, without the AA machine gun they carry 28 shells. They also feature a Kontact reactive armour and smoke grenade launchers on the left of the turret.
  • Object 476, five prototypes with the 6TDF engine.
  • Object 447AM-2 or T-64BM2, Kontakt-5 reactive armour, rubber protection skirts, 1A43U fire control, 6AZ43 loader and able to fire the 9K119 missile (NATO code "AT-11A Sniper"), 5TDFM 850cv engine.
  • Object 447AM-1 or T-64U, Ukrainian modernisation, bringing the T-64B to the standard of the T-84, Kontakt-5 reactive armour, 9K120 Refleks B missile (NATO code "AT-11 Sniper"), 1A45 "Irtysh" fire control, TKN-4S sight (tank leader), PZU-7 (sight), TPN-4E "Buran-E" night vision, 6TDF 1000cv engine .
  • BREM-64 derived breakdown vehicle.


  • T-64
    • brought to the T-64R standard between 1977 and 1981, reorganisation of external equipment as on the T-64A.
  • T-64A/AK
    • 1972 redesign, fire control improvement (TPD-2-49 and TPN-1-49-23), inclusion of the NSVT machine gun on an electrical turret, R-123M radio.
    • 1975 redesign, new 2E28M stabilisater, 6AZ10M loader, multi-fuel engine, 2A46-1 gun and TNPA-65 night vision.
    • 1981 redesign, two sets of six 902A smoke grenade launchers, rubber skirts on the suspension instead of the Gill protection.
    • T-64AM,T-64AKM, some tanks were equipped with the 6TDF engine during maintenance.
  • T-64B/B1/BK/B1K
    • 1981 redesign, 2 sets of four 902B2 smoke grenade launchers, 2A26M1 gun.
    • T-64BM,T-64B1M,T-64BMK and T-64B1MK, some tanks were equipped with the 6TDF engine during maintenance.
    • T-64BV,T-64B1V,T-64BVK and T-64B1VK Kontakt reactive armour, smoke grenade launcher on the left of the turret.

Technical Information (T-64BV)


  • Length (gun to the front): 9.295 m.
  • Length (without the gun): 6.54 m.
  • Breadth: 3.6 m.
  • Height: 2.17 m.
  • Weight: 42.4 t.


Three men:

  • tank leader
  • driver
  • gunner


  • Engine: 5DTF multi-fuel (diesel, kerosene and petrol) with 5 opposed cylinders, 13.6 litres cylinders.

Developing 700 cv at 2,800 rpm, consumption of 170 to 200 litres per 100km.

  • Transmission: two lateral gearboxes with seven forward and one backward gear.
  • Three internal tanks for a 740 litres fuel capacity, two on the mudguards with 140 litres and two droppable 200 litres tanks on the aft end of the chassis.


  • max. speed on road: 60.5 km/h.
  • max off-road speed: 35 km/h.
  • power ratio: 16.2 cv/[[[t]].
  • autonomy : 500 km and 700 km with additional tanks.
  • pressure on the ground: 0.9 kg/cm².
  • able to ford in 1.8m of water without preparation and 5m with shnorkels.
  • crosses a 2.8m wide trench.
  • crosses a 0.8M high obstacle.
  • max. slope 30°.


  • 125mm smoothbore 2A46M-1 gun (D-81TM) with carrousel 6EZ-40 loader, 28 shots, fire rate 8 shots per minute, 36 embedded shots (8 x 9K-112 "Kobra" (NATO code "AT-8 Songster"), 28 shells). Available shells are all stabilised by winglets:
    • anti-personnel (APERS) version of the 3VOF-36, 3OVF-22, with several perforating abilities.
    • arrow shells (APFSDS), 3VBM-17 or 3VBM-19 or older ones with a suplementary charge giving them an initial speed of about 1800 m/s.
    • hollow charge shells, 3VBK-25 or 3VBK-21.
  • coaxial PKT 7.62 mm machine gun with 1250 shots.
  • AA NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun with 300 shots, which can be used from the inside.
  • 6 902B "Tutscha-2" smoke mortars on the left of the turret.


  • The 1A33 fore control system, with:
    • Radio control of the 9K112 Kobra missiles (NATO code "AT-8 Songster") launched from the gun.
    • The 2E28M hydraulic stabiliser (vertical range -5°20' to +15°15')
    • The gunner day sight 1G46 with embedded laser telemeter.
    • The TPN-1-49-23 active IR night sight.
    • The L2G IR projector left of the gun for illumination.
    • The 1v517 balistic calculator.
    • The 1B-11 anenometric gauge.
  • The tank leader's small turret equipped with:
    • The PKN-4S combined day and night sight whichs allows a 360° vision and to fire the main weapons.
    • The PZU-6 AA sight.
    • The 2Z20 2-axis electrical stabiliser (vertical range -3° to +70°).
  • The TPN-3-49 or TPN-4 and TVN-4 night vision for the driver.
  • A R-173M radio.
  • An NBC protection, with radiation detectors and global compartment overpressure.
  • Two snorkels for crossing rivers with a depth up to 5m.
  • A KMT-6 anti-mine system can be fitted at the front.


  • 3-layer composite armour (K formula), with a thickness between 450 and 20mm:
    • front: 120mm steel, 105mm glass fibre, 40mm steel.
    • sides: 80mm steel.
    • front of the turret: 150mm steel, 150mm glass fibre, 40mm steel
  • lateral rubber skirts protecting the top of the suspension.
  • Kontact-1 reactive bricks covering:
    • the front and the side of the turret
    • the glacis
    • the lateral skirts

See also


External Links

fr:Char T-64 he:T-64 ja:T-64 pl:T-64


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