May 22, 2024
  • The Tank Museum in Dorset, England, is helping Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

  • In collaboration with Cook Defense Systems, they are working to produce replacement tracks for tanks.

  • The Museum has an archive of repair manuals for Ukraine’s Soviet-era tanks and armored vehicles.

A tank museum in England is helping Ukrainians in the fight against Russia.

Home to over 300 tanks from 26 countries, The Tank Museum in Bovington possesses an archive of manuals, diagrams, and documents on repairing Soviet-era tanks and armor damaged while battling for Ukraine.

Using these archives and its track specimens, The Tank Museum has been working with County Durham-based Cook Defense Systems to produce replacement tracks and drive sprockets..

The initiative began after Cook Defence received an urgent request from the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Cook Defense turned to the Museum for support.

Curator David Willey said in a statement that “the Tank Museum’s collections are used for many purposes. When we can help industry and our allies, of course we should. We are very pleased to hear the reproduced track is now arriving in Ukraine.”

Cook Defense declined to comment when approached by Business Insider.

Ukraine’s tank fleet

The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank during a training exercise.The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank during a training exercise.

The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank during a training exercise.Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

While Ukraine has been supplied with tanks from its Western allies, including the Leopard 2 from Germany, the Challenger 2 from the UK, and the M1 Abrams from the US. However, much of the country’s fleet consists of Soviet-era tanks and armored vehicles from the 1960s and 1970s.

The MT-LB, the BMP-1, and the main Soviet battle tank, the T-72, are widely used on the battlefield. Given their age, the tracks of many of these tanks have been damaged by mines. Ukraine lacks the personnel and resources to repair them.

Cook Defense has had to reverse-engineer the design of these weapons to understand how they were built. Cook Defence has a history of supplying tracks for armored fighting vehicles for the British Army and allies.

The Tank Museum is a surprise hit on social media

Nor is this the first time that the museum has used its expertise to help out modern-day armies.

In 2011, before the British Royal Air Force’s bombing campaign in Libya, the Tank Museum allowed RAF Tornado jet pilots to fly over T-54s and T-72s — tanks that the Libyan army used — to get accustomed to how they looked from the air.

In 2010, the museum launched a YouTube channel, which has since amassed over 700,000 subscribers. In the “Tank Chats” series, museum experts explain to viewers how different fighting vehicles function and how they are or were used on the battlefield.

The Tank Museum is close to the British Army’s Bovington Garrison where it trains all soldiers destined for regiments equipped with armoured vehicles.

ukraine uk challenger tanksukraine uk challenger tanks

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet Ukrainian troops being trained to command Challenger 2 tanks at a military facility on February 8, 2023 in Lulworth, Dorset, England. Andrew Matthews/Getty Images

The Tank Museum is close to the British Army’s Bovington Garrison where the UK trains all soldiers destined for regiments equipped with armoured vehicles.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Ukrainian soldiers have received training at Bovington, taught how to operate the Challenger 2 tank.

In February 2023, along with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was shown around Lulworth Camp, part of the Bovington Garrison.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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