The Story of T-84 Oplot (Updated)

We tracked down the story of T-84 Oplot, a Ukrainian main battle tank which was brought back from storage to its life in 2017 but disappeared again in 2018.

Update #1:

Due to ongoing Russian invasion, Ukrainian Armed Forces have decided to reactivate T-84 tanks and put them in the service. It’s currently unclear how many of them are in working condition, and if any of the issues discovered in 2018 were fixed.

Original story:

T-84 Oplot is a Ukrainian main battle tank, an upgrade of Russian T-80UD with Ukrainian components. Ten T-84s entered service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 1999, but were later put to storage due to the unfavorable financial situation. In June 2016, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Kharkiv Enterprise plant to restore and upgrade all ten T-84 Oplot tanks.

Note: The tanks shouldn’t be confused with BM Oplot, a different Ukrainian tank, see our list of vehicles.

Out of ten tanks, only six were restored and handled to 14th Mechanized Brigade during 2017. They were equipped with numerous advanced technology such as thermal imagery, rear camera, and 6TD-2 diesel engine. The fate of the remaining four remains unknown, some sources indicate Ukraine had to sold them to US to make at least some profit. Ukrainian Ministry of Defense decided to send the unit of T-84s to international exercises Strong Resolve X and Strong Europe 2018 tank competition. Initial testing by the tankers of 14th Mechanized Brigade already showed some flaws and because Ukraine lacked spare parts for these tanks, the sixth tank was used as the resource of spare components. 14th Mechanized Brigade received the repaired tanks just days prior to their trip to Germany.

The first impressions were very positive, the 6TD-2 diesel engine was reliable, quiet and the tank matched the speed of Abrams or Leclerc. Strong Resolve X was a success, but it was just driving around, the tanks did not fire a single round. Strong Europe was the complete opposite. During the combat part of the exercise, only one Ukrainian tank could shoot. The remaining four had issues with sensors and guns’ jamming.

Representatives of Kharkiv Enterprise plant traveled together with a platoon of 14th Mechanized Brigade but couldn’t believe such issues might be present. One crew member decided to record several videos as evidence and published it on the internet. As seen on another video, jamming wasn’t the only issue, the weapon stabiliser didn’t work either. Engineers, based on the evidence, acknowledged the issues, but it was impossible to fix them in Germany.

The tanks later participated in the Independence Day parade in 2018, and then they were transferred to the training center in Desna. Ukraine just didn’t have enough spare parts to repair the tanks, and the repair in general was just too costly for Ukraine. Furthermore, five tanks weren’t enough to create a unit. Ukrainian officials decided to prioritize the modernization T-64BVs instead.