Яusso-Soviэt Forum: Cold War Soviet Armor
For discussions related to cold war era Russo-Soviet armor.
T 64 MBT
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Hauts-de-Seine, France
Joined: April 11, 2002
KitMaker: 1,757 posts
Armorama: 929 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 11:46 PM UTC

I've heard a bit about the T64. And what is strange is that I hear very different storys :
- the tank was not exported because it had too many mechanical problems
- the tank was not exported because it was so advanced
some say :
- it was a great MBT, superior to the T72
others :
- it was not worse the price of the armor...

Do you know any more about all this ? I'm interested in that tank because I just got myself the SKIF model, the one with ERA.
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: March 15, 2002
KitMaker: 1,745 posts
Armorama: 1,483 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 02:57 AM UTC
The T-64 is my Favorate Soviet Tank. In reguards to it being unreliable, it had a odd ball dual piston Diesel engine in it (heard this arangement was very popular in Marine Desiel engines) that was prone to caughing on fire from what I've read. I believe the reason that the T-64 wasn't exported was that it was a revolutionary tank at the time. It was the First vechicle fitted with compsite type armor in the hull and an auto loader. It was the Russians "high end" Tank where as the T-62 or T-55 where low end models that where intended for the export market. The T-72 was a low end tank, since it was a futher development of the T-62. If you can get your hands on the Steven Zalgoa book Russian Armor Devlopement since 1945 it has a great history of the USSR/Russias delevopment praticises over the past 50 odd years.
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Virginia, United States
Joined: April 11, 2002
KitMaker: 760 posts
Armorama: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 03:02 AM UTC
I was under the impression that the tank wasn't exported because it was so revolutionary like SEDimmick said. It was a Rolls Royce while the T-62 was a pickup truck. Both useful, but one has all the frills while the other just has the necessary basics.
Joined: December 18, 2001
KitMaker: 12,596 posts
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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 03:46 AM UTC
The T-64 was comparable to our MBT70, except we got smart and cut our losses and cancelled the project. The T-64 was prone to many teething problems associated with adding too many innovations to one vehicle at one time. This is where the US/FRG went wrong with the MBT70. The T-64 never fully overcame the problems and was not put into widespread use by the USSR. Very much like our M-60A2, just not worth the hassle when the benefit is marginal over cheaper or pre-existing tanks.

The tank wasn't exported because it had problems. It was so advanced, that it had numerous mechanical problems. It was very innovative and therefore expensive, too expensive for cash-strapped Warsaw Pact nations. On paper, it was more advanced than the T-72, but in reality, the T-72 was superior due to its better performance in the field. The T-72 was cheaper too. Think of the T-64 as a "proof of concept" vehicle.

We learned our lesson when designing the M1. It was made in a modular fashion so the vehicle could be upgraded easily as technology caught up to practical use.

I have the Skif T-64 w/ERA and Eduard PE. It looks like it will be a decent project. I like the tank.
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Tennessee, United States
Joined: April 04, 2002
KitMaker: 1,290 posts
Armorama: 658 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 04:26 AM UTC
From what I have read and can recall #:-) The T-64 and T-72 were basically parallel developments, a common Russian practice with two benefits (1) You have a low technology/low-risk system (T-72) working in event the high technology/high risk system (T-64) bombs (2) you keep two different design bureaus in business.

The T-64 was not the first tank in history with auto-loader and composite armor, but was probably first for Soviets. The US was working on composite armor during WW2, but never produced until M1 Abrams. Auto-loaders were also under development by numerous countries including US. The AMX-13 with oscillating turret was developed with an autoloader. The fixed gun and oscillating turret allowed the auto-loader to stay aligned with gun. The US also had similar technology in the 50s.

The T-64 and I believe, also the T-72, auto-loaders were known as man-eaters as the loading arm would occassionally select the gunner's arm and load it into the breach!!

The T-64 also was the first modern Soviet tank to do away with the modified Christie suspension and go to a supported track with live links. This greatly reduced the tendency of the T-34 thru T-72 series to shed their tracks at high speeds (due to harmonic resonance (sp?) that set up due to nature of track and suspension design.

Overall both the T-64 and T-72 had the too low shiloheutte that severly reduced the tanks ability to fire from a natural defilade position, which is why they have the "revoluntionary" dozer blade under the front glacis - They have to dig-in because they can't use the natural folds of the ground to advantage! :-) Soviet tanks were designed for offensive actions, particlarly on the Steppes of southern Russia where going into defilade was not an issue (and this for a country that had a huge "defensive army") This is a serious problem. NATO-designed tanks are taller than Soviet equivalents, but they are much more crew-friendly, less taxing to operate and are more capable in more types of terrain.

I have not seen a real T-64, but have occupied a T-72. Boy am I glad I never had to live out of one of those!


Dohh!!! Almost forgot the biggest fault of the T-64/72 autolaoder system. The ammunition carosel sits under the turret floor, which keeps it below the turret ring, however, Soviet ammo is notoriously unsafe and takes very little to ignite. It is also two part ammo, seperate warhead and propellent. If you hit a mine, there is an excellent chance that the ammo carosel will ignite and the vertical attack of A-10 Warthogs, and air/artillery delivered dual-purpose bomblets would also set off the ammo. Now the same thing can happen to the ammo storage on the M1-series, but there are blast-proof doors for the crew compartment and exposive venting panels on top and bottom of the turret bustle to release the blast affects away from crew. For the T-64/72 crews, they are the "blow-out"panels. That is why you saw so many "headless" T-72s during DESERT STORM - the ammo carosels detonating, blew off the turrets - some while the crew was still inside.
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Hauts-de-Seine, France
Joined: April 11, 2002
KitMaker: 1,757 posts
Armorama: 929 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 07:05 AM UTC
Thank you for that history lesson guys !
Rob, I got myself the same kit as you, with the Eduard PE also. I think I'm gonna enjoy this project !
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Utah, United States
Joined: January 24, 2002
KitMaker: 835 posts
Armorama: 388 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 04:09 PM UTC
So did they ever eventually export the T-64? And which tank was the T-80 and T-90 more like, the T-64 or T-72. Or are they just new designs. Great topic by the way and great answers. I love these kinds of posts.
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Hauts-de-Seine, France
Joined: April 11, 2002
KitMaker: 1,757 posts
Armorama: 929 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 10:47 PM UTC
I don't think the T64 was ever exported.

The T80 is a new design.

The T90 is a development of the T72. The T72 was also modernized to give the T74 and M74 (is it the same tank ?). Russia, Ukraine and certainly other countrys sell their own version now. I think that Chine has also developed a local tank based on the T72.