Ukraine could be justifiably considered one of the world’s established trendsetters in the tank diesel engine building area. The global main battle tank [MBT] fleet consists of tanks of two types: diesel engine tanks and gas-turbine-powered tanks. Diesel-driven tanks are in service with 111 armies across the world, while only nine armies operate tanks fitted with gas turbines.
Up-to-date tank engine designs by the Engine Design Bureau of Kharkiv (EDBK) meet the most demanding standards in this field, and they integrate innovative solutions that could propel them to a new level of quality. The EDBK has developed a number of new items which have already earned themselves favorable reputation both on the domestic and export markets. The company has recently completed R&D on a new family of three-cylinder diesel engines generating 280 hp, 400 hp, 500 hp and 600 hp, designed for installation on lightweight armored fighting vehicles in the armored personnel carrier (APC) and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) categories, wheeled as well as tracked.
One of the company’s most recent designs is a two-stroke reciprocating 700-hp engine designated 5TDF, which offers unique performance capabilities in terms of power-to-weight ratio, weight and bulk, and is claimed to have determined the overall outlay design of the T-64 MBT. East-west mounting of the engine in the tank’s power pack compartment, double-sided power take-off , decreased latitudinal dimensions and low heat release ensured that the tank has lower silhouette and reduced weight as compared to rival designs. The engine has undergone several improvements to its performance, producing an engine providing 1,000 hp. Using a five-cylinder engine as baseline design, the EDBK has developed more capable six-cylinder configurations 6TD-1 generating 1,000 hp and 6TD-2 developing 1,200 hp, intended for integration with the T-80UD MBT the T-84 MBT, respectively. The two engines surpass all of the currently existing counterparts in terms of the power-to-weight ratio and engine compartment space requirement, and are optimized for operation in desert-type environments heated up to +55oC. These are two-stroke, multifuel, highly supercharged, liquid-cooled engines with direct fuel injection, counter-moving pistons and level-positioned cylinders, and they can run on various fuel types, including diesel fuel, petrol, kerosene, jet-propulsion fuel or mixtures of these in various proportions. Apart from tank diesel engines, the EDBK concentrates on the design and development of standby electric power units. Specifically for MBT applications, the EDBK has designed several compact auxiliary power units generating 8 and 10 kW to allow the vehicle to run key subsystems without the main engine running, ensure a more economical use of the main engine’s service life, and to provide electricity for battery recharging. Given that the modern tank engine operates idle during almost half of its service life, a standby electric power unit provides a 50 percent service life economy for the main propulsion, and also adds significantly to the vehicle’s stealth performance (as acoustic and thermal signatures produced by supplementary engines are several times lower than the main engines’). In addition to MBT engine designs, the KBD proposes its own innovative solutions for upgrading armoured infantry fighting vehicles. The EDBK’s upgrade package for the T-72 MBT, for example, includes replacing the tank’s standard engine with a power pack consisting of the main power plant, an auxiliary power unit and an AC compressor, all accommodated in the vehicle’s power pack compartment. Most importantly, this package does not provide for any serious alternations in the overall layout design of the
tank, which translates into reduced time and the cost of modernization, and also enables the upgrade to be performed under field conditions. The upgrade package for the T-72 MBT as proposed by the EDBK would provide a single solution to three challenges facing tank designers. For one thing, replacing the standard engine with the newer 5TDFMA diesel would increase output up to 1050 hp. Secondly, the less bulky main propulsion allows for room for an auxiliary power unit to be accommodated in the power pack compartment. Thirdly, and finally, the compartment space released as a result of using a less bulky engine would allow for an extra accommodation room for an AC compressor. The tank upgrade would provide improvements such as a better maneuverability, increased fuel and lubricant economy, and, due to reduced vibration, a higher level of comfort for the crew and a more favorable working environment for onboard electronic equipment. Meanwhile, the Fiscal Enterprise Morozov Machine Design Bureau [MDB] of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s leading designer of wheeled and tracked armored vehicles, proposes its own solution to upgrading the Soviet-vintage T-72 MBT to a more capable T-72AG configuration. The T-72AG upgrade is powered by the newly designed 6TD-series engine which was developed specifically for the T-80UD MBT application otherwise known as OPLOT, replacing a standard 780/840 hp engine equipping the baseline T-72, and enabling operation in hot-temperature environments. The 6TD engine has a highly compact layout design allowing it to be arranged east-west in the tank’s power pack compartment and coaxial with transmission gear boxes, resulting in the power pack compartment’s space requirement reduced to 3.1 m3.