BM Bulat Main Battle Tank, Ukraine
The BM Bulat main battle tank (MBT), also known as Obyekt 447AM-1, is a modernised version of the T-64B MBT. The upgraded T-64B tank has been designed to meet the technical and combat characteristics of a modern tank. With a crew of three, it has a combat weight of 45t. The BM Bulat has a maximum speed of 70km/h and range of 385km.
The T-64 is a Soviet tank that entered service during the 1960s. The tanks were subsequently upgraded and modernised in Ukraine. The conceptual design of the T-64 was later used for varying Soviet tanks including the T-72, T-80 and T-84 MBTs.
The original T-64B tank was developed in 1976 and its production began in 1980. The upgraded Bulat version of the T-64B was unveiled in 1999. The first upgraded tanks entered service with the Ukrainian Army in 2005.
Bulat main battle tank orders and deliveries
The Ukrainian Army currently operates 47 Bulat MBTs. In April 2009, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence awarded a UAH200m ($25.1m) contract to the Malyshev Factory in Ukraine for upgrading 29 T-64B tanks to T-64BM Bulat standard. The state-owned enterprise Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) completed the tank upgrade in 2010. The BM Bulat prototype was successfully tested and deliveries were started.
The Ukraine Army received 10 BM Bulat MBTs in October 2010. The remaining 19 tanks were delivered in 2011.
BM Bulat battle tank design
The modernisation programme, transforming T-64 MBTs to BM Bulat MBTs, focussed on improvement of its fire power, mobility and protection.
The upgraded sights and aiming devices include a Buran-E night vision system for detection, identification and engagement of targets, and a TKN-4S, the sighting system for the tank commander.
The modernisation work included installation of a 1G46M sight and a TO1-KO1ER night sighting system or Buran-Catherine thermal imager for the gunner, some 2E42M main armament stabiliser units, a 1V528-1 tank ballistic computer, a TAKO-621 guided weapon system, a 1ETs29M control system for anti-aircraft machine guns and a PNK-5SR observation and sighting system. The ISO Group is responsible for the installation of power packs, weapons systems, electrical assemblies and accessories to the tank.
BM Bulat armaments
The battle tank is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun with an automatic loader for 28 rounds. It has a fully-stabilised firing range of 2,500m in daylight and 1,500m at night. It can fire 9K120 Refleks anti-armour missiles (AT-11 Sniper) – a two-part 125mm calibre laser-guided missile system.
A remotely operated 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun with a PZU-7 sight and a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun make up the secondary armament of the vehicle.
The BM Bulat tank has composite armour for the turret and the hull front. The modular ERA panels are installed on the tank hull, turret, outer perimeter and turret roof as an additional armour package.
This armour increases protection against NBC weapons, kinetic energy weapons, anti-tank grenades and the armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot projectiles.
The main components of the protection package include passive and built-in Nozh explosive reactive armour (ERA), an active defence system.
A new 1A45 Irtysh fire control system has been fitted to the BM Bulat tank.
It is a quick-action fire control system for protection of the crew and power pack compartments.
The components include heat and optical sensors, control equipment and fire extinguishing mixture bottles. The fire suppression system decreases the crew compartment response time to 150ms.
The earlier version of the tank used a 5TDF engine. The modernised tank is powered by a 5TDFM diesel engine which produces 850hp. It can also use a 6TD-1 diesel engine to produce 1,000hp. The exhaust system and the air cleaner have also been redesigned.
The 5TDFM is a two-stroke, five-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine with gas turbine supercharging. The cylinders and boxing pistons are placed horizontally. It has planetary gearbox with hydraulic control and frictional switching-on.