The first production T-64s
rolled off the production line at the Malyshev Plant in October 1963.
While the first vehicles of the T-64 type started to roll off the production
line, studies for its improved version were already under way at the Design Bureau.
As the T-64 tank was well in advance of other tanks as to the protection
and mobility characteristics, a decision was taken - in order to preserve long-term advantage over all Soviet and
foreign tanks - to considerably increase its firepower.
This was achieved by fitting the tank
with a 125mm smoothbore gun of high ballistics (D-81).
At the same time some other changes
to the vehicle design were made:
a more accurate optical range-finder was installed;
hull front protection was enhanced;
protection in the area of the driver's hatch was enhanced;
protection of sides against
hollow-charge projectiles was enhanced by installing
the commander's and gunner's stations were
made more comfortable by increasing their volume;
chemical and radiation protection of
the crew was ensured by mounting the NBC equipment.
The tank with the above modifications was designated the
Obiekt 434. The technical design of the new tank was completed in 1964,
and the Design Bureau immediately started to produce working drawings
and technical documentation. The prototypes were manufactured in 1966-1967,
and following extensive trials in May 1968 the tank entered service with
the Soviet Army under the designation of the T-64A.
The T-64A tank had an
optimal design, as it was a harmonious combination of the
firepower, reliable complex protection and high mobility
at the minimum possible weight of the tank.
Some principally new design solutions were used in the T-64A tank, viz.:
automatic loading system was
introduced, which made it possible to achieve very
rapid firing rates of the main gun;
reduction in the size of the crew
a number of systems and
assemblies of fire control were designed
(range-finder sight, two-axis stabiliser, computing
element in the fire-control system), that ensured
a high efficiency of fire;
principally new combined
protective barriers were designed, which
increased the protection against high-explosive
anti-tank and armour-piercing projectiles by
more than twice compared with the newest at that
time T-62 tank;
protection of the crew
against initial radiation of nuclear
explosions was ensured;
principally new scheme of
layout and design of the power pack
compartment was created;
for the first time in
the Soviet tank building a planetary
transmission with hydraulic control was
created, which ensured dramatic decrease
of the weight and dimensions of the tank
power pack compartment;
the lightest in the
tank building running gear with wheels
with internal shock absorption was
for the first time
the problem of deep fording without
time or distance limits was solved.
The new layout and design solutions together with high tactical and technical characteristics and relatively
small (36.5 tonnes) weight determined a high technical level of the T-64A tank.
Remaining within the weight limit of a medium tank, the new tank's armament and protection capabilities
were identical to those of a heavy tank. Thus, due to the creation of the T-64A tank
the division of tanks into medium and heavy ones was finally eliminated (this confirmed the concept put forward in
the Design Bureau as early as 1954), and a new concept emerged - the main battle tank. The
T-64A tank was the first main battle tank of the Soviet Union.
event marked another victory of the
Soviet tank development, a qualitative
leap forward compared with tanks of the
leading tank producing nations - the
new, third generation of Soviet-designed tanks
The T-64A tank was created by way of constant creative quest, by way
of gradual approach to the requirements of the time, from the first design concepts of a new vehicle (Obiekt
430, 1954) to the first series production tank (1969). The Chief Designer of the T-64A
tank was A.A. Morozov. He received the Lenin Award for creation of this tank.