The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) may be the recipient of 50 upgraded T-64BV-1 main battle tanks from the Ukraine.
Ukroboronservice, a subsidiary of Ukrainian state arms company Ukrspecexport, was recently awarded an $11.5 million contract to overhaul and supply 50 T-64BV-1 tanks to an undisclosed foreign customer. The T-64BV-1 is an upgraded version of the Soviet-era T-64. Its manufacturer claims it is superior to the T-72.
Russian news website Lenta.ru reports that the tanks will be delivered to the DRC, which has ordered tanks from Ukraine before, notably 50 T-55s and 100 T-72s over the last decade.
“The signing of the contract is an important step of the concern towards introduction of this type of tank on world arm markets. T-64 is considered to be the strategic breakthrough and it has never been exported before, up to the present moment,” said Vadym Fedosov, the Director of Division of Armored Vehicles, Artillery Armament, Automotive Vehicles, Engineering and Special Equipment of Ukroboronprom.
He said that due to the vast number of T-64s in the Ukraine, it is more profitable for the country to sell the vehicles to foreign customers than it is to recycle them. He added that the contract provides work to Ukrainian industry and creates new jobs.
Sergiy Gromov, Director General of Ukroboronprom said other foreign customers were showing interest in purchasing T-64s. “We are sure in the success of this product,” he said. Ukraine is the largest operator of T-64s and has upgraded many of these tanks with new engines, missiles, reactive armour and fire control systems.
Ukroboronprom was established in 2010 to consolidate Ukraine’s defence industry. It currently consists of around 130 companies.