Amid tough times for the defense industry, Ukraine’s defense production giant UkrOboronProm secured a juicy contract to repair T-80UD main battle tanks for Pakistan.

The $85.6 million deal with the South Asian country, one of Ukraine’s key arms clients, was signed on Feb. 22 on the sidelines of the IDEX–2021 weapons exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

“Our armored vehicle enterprises are constantly upgrading their manufacturing capabilities and improving their technologies to ensure high quality of services and products,” as the Ukrainian company’s director-general Yuriy Husyev was quoted as saying. “Apart from that, we also discussed with the Pakistani party new contracts to supply 6TD1 and 6TD2 into this country.”

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The T-80UD is a modification of the late Soviet T-80 family and the world’s first main battle tank equipped with reactive armor.

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First developed in 1987, the UD version features 1000-horsepower 6TD diesel engines, replacing the gas turbine engines that are typical for the family. The tanks used to be produced by the Malyshev Factory based in Kharkiv.

According to Military Balance 2020, an annual data book issued by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Pakistan currently operates nearly 315 T-80UD tanks. All of them were supplied by Ukraine between 1996 and 1999.

The Asian nation has been a frequent customer of Ukraine’s defense enterprises ever since.

Back in 2016, Ukraine and Pakistan also signed a $600 million memorandum to repair and modernize the Pakistani tank pool. And in June 2020, UkrOboronProm also won a $30 million contract to overhaul Pakistan’s Ilyushin Il-76MD aerial refueling tankers.

Apart from the tank deal, the Ukrainian delegation also reported meeting with the UAE’s vice prime minister Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss “joint projects and priorities for upcoming cooperation.”

“In the near future, we should expect the Ukraine-UAE military production cooperation to intensify,” UkrOboronProm’s Husyev said.

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