About the Company: Ukrarmor
Ukrarmor staff and vehicles. Credits: ukraine armor
As explained on the website itself, the Design and engineering/manufacturing Company “Ukrainian Armor” (Українська Броня) produces specialized armored vehicles. It's range today comprises the VARTA, NOVATOR and KAMRAT, for various missions. The company also specialize in Mortar launchers/ammunition for 60 mm, 81 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm, but also modernizing military equipment or armoring civilian vehicles, as well as building the 5-vehicles suite of the Neptun anti-ship missile complex, the one that sunk the Russian Black sea fleet flagship Moskva. as well as skills transfer and maintenance training, and setting up a service center for equipment modernization. The company is also open to transfer of technologies in any end-user country.
The company seems to have been founded recently but at unknown date, perhaps 2014-2015, and is now headquartered at 18, O. Dovzhenko Streеt, Kyiv 03057 (tel: +38 044 337 70 10). There is, oddly, confusingly, today actually another company of the same name, ukrainianarmor.com founded during the Ukraine's Revolution of Dignity when founders realized that Euromaidan self-defence forces lacked bulletproof vests and it was created as a start-up founded by 25 friends, many being engineers. As with the war in Eastern Ukraine brought forward emergency demand for ammunition, the company radically grew with new workers, engineers and designers and started to look after foreign expertise. From 2015, as local facilities were no longer sufficient, it extended to the former Aircraft development plant No 20 and also started producting bulletproof helmets in addition of vests, mortar and small arms ammunition, and vehicles. However it is not the same entity. These two companies provides today the bread and butter of Ukrainian "light" armour, and individual infantry protection.
On December 15, 2017, the first demonstration name at the time “Varta-Novator” (hence confusion later) was first presented to the general staff of the National Guard of Ukraine. In June 2018, it was presented to the Minister of Defense S. T. Poltorak this time simply as “Novator” and proposed for the armed forces, and by October 9, 2018, an armed version sporting a Stugna-P ATGM launcher installed in the back was presented at the Kiev arms exhibition. On November 15, 2018, some of the preserie vehicles were handed over to the troops for further evaluation and by November 15, 2019, the first 40 were accepted by the Ukrainian Army.
Design of the Novator
Official presentation photo 2017
The Novator is the last in a troika of armoured vehicles by Ukrarmor, the latest, and smallest, notably based on the constatation that there was no modern 4x4 light armoured recce vehicle in the Ukrainian Inventory. The closest maintained in service were battered BRDM-2s of the 1960-70s. The new vehicle seemingly shares many components with the older Varta and Kamrat APCs in order to gain maximal interchangeability.
Hull and overall design
Novtopr in APC configuration, with troops seated behind, Kiev 2021
The Novator uses a Ford F-550 chassis provided from the US, and locally replicated under licence; The over vehicle measures 6400 mm in lenght for 2385 mm in height and 2350 mm in height for a 3605 mm wheelbase and 300 mm Ground Clearance. Its max admissible weight is 8,845 kg with a payload of 1,845 kg and an average combat Weight of 7,000 kg or 7,945 kg. The vehicle looks sleek and modern, muscular, with small armoured glass windows and reinforced framing. It had 5 gun ports, including four in the upper doors, one at the rear. The basic configuration inherited from its F-550 basis is a pickup configuration enabling a generous utility flatbed at the rear, which is well protected from incoming shrapnel from a fully enveloping armour, and a small section covered by a tarpaulin.
The vehicle also features in option an Air conditioning system, with heater, flow ventilation and a powder gases ventilation system. More importantly it is equipped with a Waterproof winch with a 7t ones towing capacity (so mostly for self-unditching) 25m in length. The vehicle carried a crew of 5 as reconnaissance vehicle but up to 8 as APC, the extra ones in the rear compartment. The vehicle had been tested between -40 to +50 °C. and its windows and mirrors are heated.
The rear cargo compartment has an electrically assisted loading door mechanism for power locking and loads up to 300 kg. It had two side downfolding doors for side loading. All lights are made from polycarbonate materials 200 times stronger than glass. They are are dust, water and chalk-resistant and interior lighting could optionally be full, partial camouflage or in specific night lighting. This same compartment in alternative to folding seats could receive also fastenings for fixing a stretcher.
Powerplant and MobilityEngine Type: Diesel, Ford V8 Super Max Rated Power: 300 hp, Engine capacity: 6,7 l (6,7L 4V OHV Ford Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel B20). Max Torque with RPM: 996 H*M at 1600-2800RPM and allowing an acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in 10.6 sec. The engine is coupled with a 6 gear automatic gearbox Ford Torqshift six-speed automatic (5 speed optional). The 335/80R20 tires uses Runflat Inserts allowing to run flat for 50 km on/off road and made in three parts for quick mounting without equipment. The Suspensions comprises a strengthened variant of the original F-150 ones, with Ventilated brakes and ABS. Top speed is up to 140 km/h on road with a standard range of 500 km and up to 700 on flat, braking distance is 8 m for a complete stop from 40km/h. Fuel Tank Capacity is 160 L. The vehicle is able ti climb a 30° gradient, 20° side slope and ford 0,75 m and turn in 8 m (full circle).
2018 version with ATGM
Blast protection seats with 5 point belts: 2+3/2+7. General protection B6+ standard. It was tested to STANAG 4569 standard, based on NATO AEP-55 Vol. 1. The crew Compartment is protected from rifle fire, 7.62 mm caliber 57-N-323S. The floor is proof against 2 hand grenades, RGD-5 type, underbelly or close to the wheel. There is also a multi-layer bulletproof glass with additional antispall layer with an external mounting giving more space inside.
There is also a high speed fire suppression system in the crew and engine compartments, using UV IR detectors to indicate combustion in 3 milliseconds, suppressing it in 250 milliseconds. For active protection however there is no smoke dischargers, not NBC option (yet).
ArmamentInitially, the Novator was presented without weapons (but personal), but in June 2017, the company director A. Kuzma declared it was on pland and always possible to have an 12.7-mm NSV Utes machine gun or Ukrainian KT-12.7 installed on the cabin roof.
It is variable depending on the missions and options. The presence of five pistol ports led to a basic firearms cover, but only four can access these: The driver and co-driver forward, separated by the large tunnel transmission, and three seats at the back. There is a round hatch above the center seat in order for a MG operator to stand ready to fire on the move. It seems there is an option with additional strap-seats aft in the flatbed for six more, bit its never shown used that way. Instead the compartment, protected by bull bars, could accomodate various heavier armament payload, although the most commonly shown is a twin or single Stugna-P ATGM on open mount. A Remote Control Weapon Station has been presented also, installed in place of the central hatch, but it seems reserved for the Kamrat-M, a later version.
One proposed application, UAV (RAM-2 UCAV) carrier/launcher.
This the vehicle is produced only since 2019 there are no fixed production records as of today that can be trusted. In 2019, Kiev noticed that 40 vehicles entered service with the Ukrainian army, taking part in late Donbass Operations. Of course until the end of 2023 as this article is written, many more would have been pressed into service. A certain numbers also had been lost of captured, notably by the Kadyrovites since 2022.
It seems today 30 are in service still with the Ukrainian National Guard. According to spioenkop however, they might be five captured, 11 destroyed, 3 damaged, for 19 losses total, so making for a comparive overall total of 50+. On this last note, the Varta, a taller, heavier and older APC had far more losses, 38, compared to 58 Kozak-2 (and 85+ HMMW !). Now for prespective, Ukraine uses 27 different types of "Infantry Mobility Vehicles" on the frontline, with 393 losses, of which 243 were destroyed and 114 captured. And these are not assimilated to "APC"s. It's thus too soon to make assessment of the vehicle, other than it's lower profile, although it counts for naught versus drones.
Novator, 1st gen
|6.5 x 2.35 m (93 in) x 2.3 m
|Total weight, battle ready
|6,7L 4V OHV Ford Power Stroke V8 TD B20
|160 litres, 500-700 km
|ATGMS, Optional Remote weapon station
|Production so far
First variant, as is
With Stugna-P ATGM
In digital camouflage as seen in 2019 Kiev parade.
UKR losses on oryxspioenkop.com