Ukraine modernises T-64BVK

by Samuel Cranny-Evans

Ukaine's Kharkiv Armoured Plant has modernised the T-64BVK command variant of the T-64 MBT family to meet the requirements of the Ukrainian armed forces. (UOP)

Kharkiv Armoured Plant has developed an upgrade package for Ukraine's T-64BVK, a command variant of the T-64 main battle tank (MBT), which has successfully completed an initial round of tests, state-owned conglomerate Ukroboronprom (UOP) announced on its website on 30 November.

Kharkiv Armoured Plant director Herman Smetanin said the upgrade “is necessary not only to significantly improve the existing technical characteristics [of the vehicle], but also to create all the appropriate conditions for effective control over a [tank] unit”.

The T-64BVK has received a thermal imager, a satellite navigation system, and new optics for the commander providing a detection range of 2,000 m. The vehicle has also received a new radio system, intercom, and driver's rear-view camera under the upgrade.

The commander's cupola is fitted with a protected mount for an NSV 12.7×108 mm heavy machine gun, UOP said. Additional improvements include a new fuel filter, enhanced protection for the fuel tanks, and composite rubber-metal screens added to the sides of the tank.

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Australian, New Zealand defence forces launch Tonga relief operations

by Jon Grevatt & Ridzwan Rahmat

The Royal Australian Navy's landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide pictured departing Sydney in support of disaster relief efforts in Tonga. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Australia and New Zealand have dispatched vessels and surveillance aircraft to assist with recovery and relief efforts in Tonga, which was hit by a tsunami caused by an underwater volcano eruption in the South Pacific on 15 January.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) told Janes on 18 January that Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets to have been deployed in surveillance operations include a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a C-130J transport aircraft.

A DoD spokesperson said that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is also preparing to launch an aid mission supported by its Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship HMAS Adelaide.

The spokesperson said, “At the moment, we are surveying the damage. HMAS Adelaide is on its way from Sydney to Brisbane with the aim to launch an aid mission for Tonga. But at this moment we don't yet know the full extent and scope of what that aid will be.”

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Update: Bulgaria receives special forces vehicles

by Aleksandar Mladenov & Krasimir Grozev & David Ing & Nicholas Fiorenza

The Bulgarian MoD received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles for its JSOC on 21 December 2021. (Bulgarian MoD)

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 21 December 2021 that it had received the first batch of 45 armoured vehicles from Samel-90 for its Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that day. The MoD said 98 vehicles would be built in 10 different versions, with deliveries to be completed by the end of 2022.

The MoD signed the urgent procurement contract for the vehicles with Samel-90 in December 2020. The Bulgarian manufacturer has a joint venture with the UAE-based International Armored Group (IAG), which has the design authority for the vehicles, with final assembly and customisation taking place at Samel-90's new factory in Samokov, southwest of Sofia.

JSOC commander Major General Yavor Mateev told Bulgarian military TV on 21 December 2021 that the first vehicle is intended for major tactical employments, with the up-armoured Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series to be employed when greater mobility is required. He added that both models had undergone major customisation work to meet a specific set of Bulgarian MoD requirements.

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New Czech defence minister sets her priorities

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The Czech procurement of 210 tracked IFVs is one of the priorities of new Defence Minister Jana Černochová. The contenders (from left to right) are the BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90 Mk IV, Rheinmetall Lynx KF41, and GDELS ASCOD 42. (Czech MoD)

New Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová presented her ministry's priorities during a press conference on 10 January. This includes meeting the NATO goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence in 2025, as agreed by the new Czech government that was inaugurated in mid-December, and setting up a special defence fund for strategic modernisation projects as early as 2023 or in 2024.

Černochová expects the defence fund to provide greater predictability and flexibility, with funding secured for individual years. “Once the acquisition process begins, virtual funding will be deposited, and when the process nears completion, the Finance Ministry will transfer the necessary amount,” she explained.

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Kharkiv Armoured Plant has developed an upgrade package for Ukraine's T-64BVK, a command variant of ...

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