The T-64 is a Soviet tank manufactured in Kharkiv, and designed by Alexander Morozov. The tank was introduced in the early 1960s. It was a more advanced counterpart to the T-62: the T-64 served in tank divisions, while the T-62 supported infantry in motorized rifle divisions. It introduced a number of advanced features including composite armour, a compact engine and transmission, and a smoothbore 125-mm gun equipped with an autoloader to allow the crew to be reduced to three so the tank could be smaller and lighter. In spite of being armed and armoured like a heavy tank, the T-64 weighed only 38 tonnes (42 short tons; 37 long tons). Soviet military planners considered the T-64 the first of the third-generation tanks and the first main battle tank.
These features made the T-64 expensive to build, significantly more so than previous generations of Soviet tanks. This was especially true of the powerpack, which was time-consuming to build and cost twice as much as more conventional designs. Several proposals were made to improve the T-64 with new engines, but chief designer Morozov’s political power in Moscow kept the design in production in spite of any concerns about price. This led to the T-72 being designed as an emergency design, only to be produced in the case of a war, but its 40% lower price led to it entering production in spite of Morozov’s objections.
At present the T-64 is in use in very few nations or regions, but is currently undergoing significant factory overhauls and modernization in Ukraine.
The T-64 formed the design basis of the Soviet T-80, which entered service in 1976.
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