T-64 Main Battle Tank

Last updated on February 19th, 2019 at 09:22 pm

The Soviet Union’s T-64 main battle tank first entered service in 1966.

An upgraded version of the T-62, the T-64 has a smaller, lighter and more powerful engine than the T-62 (700hp vs. 580hp)

The T-64 main battle tank was built with better armor protection than older Soviet tanks. The armor on the hull and turret of the T-64 is made of steel with a ceramic inserts – a combination of materials known as Combination K.  This armor design helps to protect the tank from attacks by high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) projectiles.

The T-64 MBT weighs weigh 39 tons (39,500 kilograms.)

It uses a torsion bar suspension. There are six small road wheels on each side of the tank. The drive sprocket is at the rear and the idler is at the front. There are four track-return rollers.

The engine and the transmission are at the rear of the tank.

The T-64 has an infrared searchlight and NBC protection.

A snorkel can be fitted to the tank, so that it can ford relatively deep waters.
T-64 main battle tank during a Soviet decontamination exercise in 1987
Mine clearing equipment can also be fitted to the T-64.

Three crewmen operate the T-64 – a driver, a commander and a gunner.

The driver sits in the front. The commander and gunner sit in the turret – the commander on the left, and the gunner on the right.

The Soviets were able to reduce the crew size from four to three by adding an autoloader, so that a human loader was not necessary.

However, the autoloader took up a great deal of space – meaning that the crew was very cramped, despite there being a smaller crew – and did not work very well.  Sometimes the autoloader tried to load crewmen into the gun along with ammunition!

Originally, the T-64 main battle tank used the same 4.53 inch (115mm) main gun as the T-62. Secondary armament consisted of a 0.3 inch (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun and a 0.5 inch (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun.

In 1967, model T-64A, the first variant to be mass-produced, entered service. In the T-64A, the main gun was replaced with a 4.92 inch (125mm) smoothbore gun to make the tank more competitive with the American M60 tank.  

The T-64A also had smoke grenade discharges added on either side of the gun.

In 1970s, the tank was completely redesigned and Model T-64B was developed.   The T-64B, which entered service in 1976, has a laser range finder, less bulky, but more protective armor. The T-64 B has defenses against napalm. The main gun was adapted so that it could fire anti-tank missiles.

Variants of the T-64B main battle tank include command vehicles, an armored recovery vehicle, and variants with explosive reactive armor.

The T-64 main battle tank is no longer being built.  It has never been exported outside of the former countries of the Soviet Union.  It is currently in use in Russia, Uzbekistan and the Ukraine.

Soviet Union

T-64B Main Battle Tank

Active: T-64:1966, T-64B: 1976
Crew: 3
Weight: 39 tons (39,500kg)
Length: 24ft 3in (7.4m), 32ft 5 in (9.9m) with gun forward
Height: 11ft 2in (2.2m)
Width: 15ft 2in (4.6m)
Weapons: Main – 4.92in (125mm) gun, Secondary – 1 x 0.3in (7.62mm) coaxial machine gun, 1 x 0.5in (12.7mm) anti-aircraft gun
Armor Classified
Engine: Model 5DTF 5-cylinder opposed diesel, 700hp
Speed: 47 mph (75kph)
Range: 249 miles (400 km)