In a derelict industrial complex just outside of Kiev, soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard are demonstrating their technical and tactical competence. Enlisted men and officers of the Ukrainian National Guard are designing, engineering, innovating, and manufacturing custom tanks developed to meet the evolving challenges throughout the Ukrainian battlespace. Warfighters with pre-war experience in engineering, mechanics, robotics, and technology have combined their skills with their battlefield experience to create adaptable technology tailored to their mission sets.
These soldiers are re-engineering the abandoned husks of armored vehicle platforms, which were once scattered or forgotten across the nation by a neglectful post-Cold War Ukrainian military. Approximately 100 meters from the entrance of the impromptu factory, a Soviet Amphibious Bridging System—Tracked is parked, worse for wear and missing its pontoon bridge. Upon closer inspection, the track and boat-like bow appeared to be serviceable on a chassis similar to the Soviet MT-T artillery prime mover. The winches and cab had seen better days, but the bilge pump systems at first glance seemed intact.
The condition of the vehicle was astonishing, considering where it came from. My host explained that this particular vehicle was found in the thin tree lines that separate the fields of farmers in the east of the country. The farmer told the recovery unit that the vehicle had been there for countless years, and had it not been discovered by a dismounted patrol of the Ukrainian National Guard, he would have completely forgotten it was there. Found tactical vehicles are not uncommon in many former Warsaw Pact nations, as the speedy breakup and restructuring of the governments led to an unprecedented amount of unaccounted for equipment since the 1990s. On the bright side, this chaos has allowed for a few pieces of this lost equipment to make their way into productive hands and for a good purpose.