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  1. Here we go with our counterparts. This is version 1, so please excuse grammar mistakes and the like. Mechanized and Armored forces Part 1 - Current weapon systems in service In this section the author we will try to examine the current (as of end of 2015) equipment, composition and organisation used by the Ukrainian mechanized and armored units. Other branches might get a passing mention. Since the author is not a Ukrainian citizen, we will mention unit numbers, something we could not do for our Russian investigations. Brief overview of current weapon systems in service: 1 - MBT Ukranian armored and mechanized formations current have around 25 tank battalions in total. That amounts to just about 1000 tanks. The vast majority of these battalions is equipped with either T-64B, T-64B1, T-64BV or T-64BV1 variants, which make up 9%, 22%, 44% and 15% of total armor fleet respectively. Primary differences between T-64B and T-64BV lies in internal glacis configuration and K-1 ERA kits. Minor differences include older T-64B’s having inferior gun and subsequently inferior stabilization, and T-64BV’s having varied (obr. 85 and obr. 87) side ERA panel layout with newer models also having R-173 radios instead of outdated R-123Ms. Overall however, it would be safe to sum up Ukrainian armor fleet as being 90% T-64B variants, a third of which lack any ERA protection and have inferior glacis configuration. The latter variants are not segregated into separate formations and are present among T-64BV’s. For whatever reason, the only exception to this is 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade, which haв BV variants exclusively. Current rumors indicate that due to high rate of mechanical attrition during Donbass operations, a portion of T-64BV’s will be replaced by refurbished T-72AV’s. For example, the aforementioned 28th Separate Mechanized Brigade has already received a shipment of those tanks. There are also rumors of 128th Mountain Brigade having received T-72’s for service. The only formation using T-64BM’s is 1st Separate Tank Brigade. This tank type attributes to only around 9% of the total armor fleet, which would safely warrant its inclusion in “uncommon” equipment list in CMBS. We are unaware of any future plans (extrapolating to 2017) to refurbish existing T-64BV’s in BM models. Originally Ukrainian MO has ordered 10 T-84 “Oplot” tanks to be procured for domestic service, but could only finance a part of that deal. Therefore, of 10 total, 4 vehicles were sold to US, and of remaining 6, one was sent to the Land Forces Academy in Lvov. Last five vehicles were given to 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade. As such, this is currently a very uncommon piece of equipment with no further known plans to purchase more vehicles. BM Oplot modification was never procured for domestic Ukrainian service, and as it currently stands with Thai contract, Ukrainian defense sector would more then likely be unable to deliver sufficient amount of these tanks even with proper funding. Ukraine also has several other tank types in limited service. Nation guard has around 12 T-64BM1M which is a refitted T-64BV with upgraded ERA, and airmobile formations have several T-80B, T-80BV and T-80UD tanks at their disposal. 2 - IFV/APC Ukrainian armed forces have around 42 Mechanized battalions, the majority of which are supplied with BMP’s. If we remove command vehicles and other miscellaneous BMP based equipment, current BMP composition is as follows: 71% are BMP-2’s, 18% are BMP-1P’s, 10% are BMP-1’s and 1% are BMP-1U’s. It is interesting to point out that Ukraine also has four BMP-3’s in service, two of which were actively engaged in Donbass operations as part of 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade. There is no apparent system to BMP type assignment within battalions. It appears that any company can have mixed BMP-2 and BMP-1 fleets, which means that older equipment isn’t isolated into their own formations. BMP-1U’s are an exception, forming an entire company of 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade. They are not found anywhere else though. 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade is an interesting and isolated case, since it is the only mechanized brigade with battalions comprised entirely of BTR-70’s and BTR-60PB’s. It is suspected this is not a result of an experimental ORBAT, but rather a skeleton unit being reformed in absence of IFV’s. Another isolated case is a recently formed 14th Separate Mechanized Brigade, of which one battalion is known to have only MT-LB’s with DShK’s. Since Ukraine generally has a large stockpile of MT-LB’s this variant might see more proliferation in the future. To sum up, the most common IFV’s in service are BMP-2 and BMP-1P and BMP-1. Uncommon types include MT-LB and BTR-70. Limited equipment includes BMP-3 and BMP-1U. BTR-4 present in CMBS is currently not in mechanized unit service. It was originally passed over to the national guard. At present date, 95th airmobile brigade has received them as well. Current BTR-4 production allows the Ukrainians to field a full battalion (support vehicles included) every year. BTR-3E has a similar proliferation, with at least 30 being in service with the national guard and a number going to the airmobile troops. Command vehicles types are split between BMP-2K, BMP-1KSh, BMP-1K and BMP-1PK. BMP-1 type command vehicles are usually found in tank battalions, while BMP-2 are more often found in mechanized ones. BTR-60PV’s (?) are sometimes also listed as command vehicles, but isn’t very proliferated. Around 6 vehicles have been reported in mechanized forces, and around 10 in airmobile forces. Recon formations are fairly unified in their equipment. Typical force composition is based around BRM-1K, BMP-2 and BTR types. Most recon companies use BTR-80’s as their transport, however 17th Armored, 128th Mountain, 28th, 51st and 93rd Mechanized brigade recon companies use BTR-70’s. 24th Mechanized brigade recon companies use both, BTR-80’s and BTR-70’s. Sapper companies use BTR-70’s almost exclusively, usually three per company. 3 - Artillery systems Brigade artillery groups are present in all Brigades and are made up of two SPG battalions, one MLRS battalion and one AT battalion. Most of them use PRP-4’s, and only 1st Separate Tank Battalion has been spotted using PRP-3’s. Artillery systems have a hight degree of unification, with first SPG Battalion almost always being 2S1’s and second being 2S3’s. MLRS systems are mostly BM-21, in some cased being BM-21U. AT Battalions use MT-12’s, with one in every three guns being MT-12R, and 9P148 systems. 9P149 are present, but appear to be much less common. In general command and miscellaneous vehicles for Artillery battalions look to be BRDM-2’s, including 2DI “Hazar” modernization. An interesting variation on usual artillery systems is present in AT Battalion of 93rd Brigade. It appears that a large portion (if not all) of the battalion is armed with D-48 guns. There are also reports of ZiS-3 and BS-3 guns being used by the AT Battalion of 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade. Mechanised formations mortar systems are 2S12, PM-38, 2B9(M) and 2B14. Carried ATGMs “Stuna-P” ATGM (Skif in CMBS) was delivered to airmobile units in the total quantity of two complexes. It is not available to mechanized, armored and motorized line formations. “Skif” ATGM was delivered to national guard units in the total quantity of seven complexes. It is not available to mechanized, armored and motorized line formations. AT platoons sometimes also have a soviet mix of ATGM systems (9K111/9K111-1) with SPG-9 recoilless guns. Motorised Battalions Currently mechanized brigades are being strengthened by surplus and storage equipment such as BMP-1’s, BTR-60PB’s and BRDM-2’s. Since a large part of these motorized battalions are ex-volunteer formations, unification and structure is fairly hard to track. Even if an official OOB exits, these battalions have not been supplied with enough resources to represent it. Ukrainian media paints a picture in which these battalions will try to copy mechanized formation, except tracked and wheeled armored vehicles will be replaced with trucks, and there will be no armored companies. Motorized Brigades are expected to have towed D-20’s as artillery support, D-44 as AT support, and AAA will be represented by mounted or towed ZU-23-2.
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