Ukraine will soon launch a joint venture with Egypt for the modernisation of Egyptian Army OT-62 armoured personnel carriers, after successful trials in Egypt of pre-production vehicles.
A pilot batch of upgraded armoured personnel carriers (APCs) supplied to Egypt underwent successful trials there and, after Egypt officially accepts the vehicles, the Malyshev Plant in the Ukraine will begin modernising more of the vehicles, according to a defence source quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.
The contract for modernising the vehicles was signed on December 14, 2009, after an international tender. In January this year the Acting Director General of the Kharkiv-based Malyshev Plant, Mykola Belov, told UkrInform that the five-year contract is estimated to cover 200 APCs.
Ukraine’s Narodna Armiya military gazette reported that a consignment of Egyptian OT-62s was delivered to Ukraine in July 2010 for upgrade.
“The pilot batch of upgraded armoured personnel carriers in the amount of three vehicles was delivered to the customer in 2011. Serial upgrades, and the issue concerns about 197 vehicles, are scheduled to begin in Egypt in the summer of 2012,” Belov said.
Vehicle components will be produced in Ukraine while the main modernisation part of the programme will take place in Egypt as the contract provides for technology transfer. Ukraine was contracted to transfer machinery to the Egyptian state-owned Abu Zaabal Tank Repair Factory near Cairo and the Kader Factory for Developed Industries in Heliopolis.
The upgrade includes a new transmission and new turret, according to Kyiv Weekly.
The OT-62 Topas (tracked armoured personnel carrier) was developed jointly by Poland and Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and 1960s. The amphibious vehicle has a speed of 60 km/h on land and 10 km/h in water and can carry 15-18 troops.
Egyptian OT-62 were used in the Six Day War with Israel (1967), during the War of Attrition (1968-1970) and the Yom Kippur War (1973), when they were highly effective in crossing the Suez Canal. Some were captured by the Israel Defence Forces and commissioned into service.
Narodna Armiya also reported that Malyshev may upgrade 200 Egyptian T-62 main battle tanks. The upgrade will include replacing the gun, engine and some armour. Egypt has a large tank force and, according to the IISS’s 2012 The Military Balance, has more than 3 700 main battle tanks, including 973 M1A1s, 850 M60A3s, 300 M60A1s and 260 Ramses II (upgraded T-54/55s). In addition, the Egyptian Army has a further 500 T-62s and 840 T-54/55s in storage. Late last year Egypt ordered 125 additional M1A1 Abrams tank kits, which will bring the Egyptian Abrams fleet to more than a thousand.