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Ukraine to upgrade Egyptian Soviet-era T-62 tanks

Aug. 20, 2010 at 2:01 PM   |   Comments

KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Foreign armaments sales represent a major and growing revenue sources for many former Soviet states. While the Russian Federation leads former Soviet republics in the arms trade, other nations are finding niche markets.

Egyptian T-62 tanks, originally provided to Cairo by the Soviet Union, are now being upgraded at Ukraine's Malyshev plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine's Narodna Armiya military gazette reported Friday.

According to the journal, "A consignment of the Egyptian Armed Forces' OT-62 (TOPAS) armored vehicles was delivered to Ukraine last July to be upgraded at the Kharkiv-based Malyshev plant state enterprise. This is the first consignment of Egyptian armored vehicles to be modernized by our machine builders in line with the contract between Ukrspetseksport (Ukrainian state armaments) company and the War Production Ministry of the Egypt Republic. In its turn, the contract has become the result of the tender concluded on 14 December 2009 in our favor. The contract, which has become the largest one in the history of Ukrainian-Egyptian military-technical cooperation, envisages significant upgrading of 200 BTR OT-62 TOPAS (amphibious tracked armored personnel carriers) and 200 T-62 tanks. According to statements made by Malyshev plant representatives, the terms of the contract consist of upgrading the first consignment of hardware in Ukraine in the course of 2010-11."

The contract also provides for technology transfer, an increasingly important element for many purchasers of foreign-made armaments. Under terms of the contract, Ukrainian arms producers will transfer machinery to the Egyptian state-owned Abu Zaabal Tank Repair Factory near Cairo and the Kader Factory for Developed Industries in Heliopolis armaments factories.

The contract has provoked negative comment from Russia's arms industry, as Russia's Uralvagonzavod factory in Nizhniy Tagil was previously the Soviet Union's main producer of T-62 tanks that were exported later on to many countries, including Egypt, leading the Russian mass media to argue that copyright to the T-62 tank allegedly belongs to the Uralvagonzavod factory tank builders and that Kharkiv consequently lacks the legal right to upgrade the armaments.

As regards the Egyptian tender awarded to the Ukrainians, Russia competed for the right to upgrade not only T-62 tanks, but also the Czechoslovak-produced BTR OT-6 APCs. In response Kiev noted that the T-62 tank, which entered the Soviet arsenal in 1961, was eventually produced not only at the Uralvagonzavod facility in Nizhniy Tagil but also at Plant No. 75, the Kharkiv transport machine building plant, which is now the Malyshev factory.

During 1967-73, between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, the Soviet Union supplied 400 T-62 tanks to Egypt, whose current stock of T-62s is now estimated to be approximately 500 units.

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