Bovington Tank Museum has been helping a defence contractor to reproduce tank tracks to be sent to Ukraine to help in the war effort.

The museum has collaborated with William Cook Defence Ltd to 'reverse engineer' a number of Soviet-era vehicles tracks that have now been sent to the war torn country.

Reverse engineering is a process in which software, machines, aircraft, architectural structures and other products are deconstructed to extract design information from them.

Incomplete Soviet-era drawings, specimen track links from Ukraine, the inspection of vehicles and manuals, as well as the loan of track specimens from the Tank Museum enabled the defence contactors to build vehicle tracks and drive sprockets for MTLB, BMP, and T72 vehicles.

The defence contractor received an urgent request from the Ministry of Defence to provide tracks to support the Ukrainian fleet of Soviet-era vehicles and turned to the museum for support.

Tank Museum curator David Willey said: "The Tank Museum’s collections are used for many purposes.

"The museum tells the story of the Royal Armoured Corps story to the public, teaching soldiers, and helping ‘corporate memory’ on the subject is also a core function.

"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." 

Major challenges to the project included the development of new steel alloys to match the original Russian specifications, and re-designing forged and welded components as castings to suit the new manufacturing process.

It is also not the first time the museum has helped Ukraine since the Russian invasion started just over two years ago.

It held a four-hour fundraising event in April 2023 that featured the world’s only running Tiger I tank, which raised money for War Child UK to assist their work in Ukraine supporting the children affected by the conflict.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were also shown around Lulworth Camp during a visit to the Dorset army site in February of last year.

They both spoke with a small handful of Ukrainian troops during a medal ceremony. 

Approximately 80 Ukrainians were being trained in Lulworth to fight against Russia and the two leaders were also shown a Challenger 2 tank simulator being used to train the Ukrainian troops.

The Challenger 2 is used by four armoured regiments based in the south west of England including in Bovington.