How was created the last Soviet tank "Boxer" / "Hammer" (object 477). Part of 2 Armament, Mobility, Protection
Prototypes manufactured in 1987 tank “Boxer” in comparison with the T-64 looked more impressive. The tank was about 0,3 m higher, a powerful cannon above the tower and a tall body with combined armor inspired some respect for him. In appearance, it was more formidable in comparison with the tanks of the previous generation.
The constant increase in the performance characteristics and the installation of more powerful weapons inevitably led to an increase in the mass of the tank. With a given mass of 50 tons, it was exceeded by several tons and this required serious measures to reduce it. The designs of the units of the tank, guns, engine systems, suspension and protection were revised.
In addition, the construction of some units had to introduce titanium, from which the undercarriage balancers were made, the structural elements inside the tank, the elements of dynamic protection, the sheets of the frontal protection package of the tank. This allowed to significantly reduce the weight and practically fit into the specified requirements.
The tank was characterized by a high level of protection with a minimum number of weakened zones and the use of all the achievements for that period. Reservations of the tank hull nose assembly had a modular structure, its envelope was over 1 m along the projectile. Much attention was paid to the protection of the sides and roof of the tower, it was combined: for example, the protection of the sides had a multi-barrier structure, and the hatches of the crew were powerful multi-layer protection.
All developed variants of active protection were considered - “Drozd”, “Arena”, “Rain” and “Shater”. No concrete results were achieved on any of them, and it was decided at the OCD stage not to equip tanks with active protection and enter it as it was developed.
Nevertheless, the commissions headed by General Varennikov, the future member of the State Emergency Committee, decided to demonstrate active protection of the “Thrush” in action. For more effect, the shot was OFS, the system intercepted it, the projectile exploded and some of the fragments went in the direction of the commission. The colonel standing next to Varennikov was seriously injured. Surprisingly, the general behaved in cold blood and ordered not to investigate this incident, although there were a lot of violations during this show.
A variant of electromagnetic protection was considered, the work on which was carried out at VNIstal. After reviewing the state of work, it became clear that in the near future it would not be possible to realize it, since there were no acceptable energy-intensive energy storage devices, and existing in size were comparable to a tank.
The power plant of the tank was based on a diesel engine. Initially, a variant of the four-stroke 12-cylinder engine 12CHN developed in HKBD was considered, but given that it existed only at the level of experimental samples and was not brought, it was abandoned.
The bet was made on the already existing two-stroke engine based on 6TDF with 1200 hp power, with the possibility of bringing the power to 1500 hp. This engine was installed on a prototype and tested. The cooling system was ejection, one sample was with a fan cooling system. During the tests, deficiencies in engine start-up and cooling were revealed, which were gradually eliminated. On tests, a tank with such a mass developed a speed of 63 km / h. In addition to the main engine for the tank, an auxiliary diesel power unit was developed, mounted on a nadgusenichnaya shelf.
Information disseminated on the Internet that the tanker "Boxer" provided for the power plant on the basis of the CCD, and the more such a sample of the tank was made, pure conjecture. In the course of work, this question has never even been raised, since in the middle of the 80-s epic of pushing the GTE onto the tank it was already over and the diesel T-80UD was adopted as the main tank.
At the beginning of development, several options for running were considered. As a result of detailed studies, we stopped on the suspension, which was based on the rubberized “Leningrad” suspension developed on the T-80UD. It lost about two tons of the T-64 undercarriage in mass, but under those loads and engine power it was dangerous to go for the “light” undercarriage option and further work was based on sufficiently developed nodes of this undercarriage.
The information that samples of the Boxer tank were made on the basis of the T-64 chassis is also not true. There were no such samples, individual tank systems could be worked out on the old chassis, but this had nothing to do with working out the suspension.
In connection with the increasing demands on the firepower of the tank, the armament complex was repeatedly changed. At the stage of developing the concept of the tank, the 125 mm gun was adopted as the main armament, the additional machine gun is the twin machine gun 7,62 mm and the auxiliary weapon machine gun 12,7 mm.
At the stage of R & D, the customer placed increased demands on the tank's firepower and the gun was replaced with a more powerful 130mm. In the process of repeated discussions of the caliber of the cannon to the end of the R & D, the question arose of further increasing the caliber of the cannon. Two factors played here: the increased security of the potential enemy’s tanks and the need to install powerful rocket weapons.
At a meeting of the NTS, when discussing the caliber of the 140 mm or 152 mm cannon, General Litvinenko, the head of the GRAU, proved that the 152 mm caliber is much more efficient, besides, it makes it possible to use the reserve of Krasnopole of the same caliber. As a result, it was decided to install a 152 mm caliber gun, they began to develop it in Perm specifically for the Boxer tank and never returned to this issue, although this decision led to a lot of problems with the tank.
In accordance with the requirements of the military, all the ammunition to the cannon to 40 shots must be placed in an automated ammunition. In the development process, various variants of both separate and unitary loading ammunition were considered. At the first stages, the shot was separately loaded and serious problems arose when placing the ammunition in the turret to the right of the gun.
In one of the variants, VNIITM offered a shot with a crank loader, a package of gunpowder was pulled out of the square sleeve and loaded into the cannon chamber. This option was too exotic and was abandoned.
In the final version, due to increased requirements for armor penetration and problems with placing ammunition in an automated combat pack, a version of a unitary shot of length 1,8 m was adopted and the layout of the tank was changed.
The choice of the shot variant and the automated loading scheme fundamentally influenced one of the defining characteristics of the tank - the time of preparation and production of the shot. With separate loading, this time was increased due to double dismounting of the projectile and the liner (this was decided only for T-64 in one stroke).
In this regard, the scheme of automated loading of the gun during the development process has changed three times in principle. With such a caliber and the amount of ammunition it was difficult to place them in limited volumes of the tank.
In the first variant, at the stage of the R & D with a separate loading shot for a tape-type automatic loader in the turret to the right of the gun, too small a volume was allocated, the kinematics of the mechanisms were very complex and already faced with the problem of unreliable mechanisms.
In the second variant, at the OCD stage with a caliber of 152 guns mm and a separate loading shot, the main part of the ammunition set was placed in the tank hull compartment in two conveyor belts (32), and the expendable portion (8) in the belt aft feed conveyor.
When spending ammunition in the tower produced their replenishment of the body. With this design, again, there was a very complex kinematics of mechanisms and there were big problems when transferring ammunition from the hull to the turret, especially when the tank was moving. In this design was double filing of the projectile and shells.
As a result, such a scheme had to be abandoned and transferred to unitary ammunition with the placement of the main ammunition in the case in two drums of 12 pieces and consumable 10 pieces placed in the tower. This design allowed us to significantly simplify the automatic loader and ensure the minimum time (4) for the preparation and production of the shot, since there was no double discharging of the projectile and the sleeve. Placing the ammunition in isolated drums also protected it from ignition if a tank was damaged.
At the end of 80-x, due to increased requirements to combat lightly armored and airborne targets, it was decided to reinforce the tank’s additional weapons, and instead of a 12,7 mm machine gun, an 30 mm HSHNNXX gun was installed. It was installed to the right of the main cannon on the roof of the tower with an independent drive vertically and horizontally connected to the tower.
The sighting system for the Boxer tank was developed taking into account the tank layout adopted, was multichannel and provided all-day and all-weather firing with artillery shells and guided missiles. A multi-channel sight with optical, television, thermal imaging channels, a laser range finder and a laser missile guidance channel was developed for the gunner.
The commander installed a panoramic sight with optical, television channels and a laser rangefinder. The thermal imaging channel could not be implemented in the gunner's sight. It was decided to install a separate thermal sight with image output to the gunner and the commander. On the basis of the television channel, an automatic machine for capturing and tracking the target was developed on the basis of the Shkval aviation complex.
The complex provided complete duplication in the firing of the gunner and commander, the commander could not fire only a guided missile. In case of failure of the sighting system for firing from a cannon and a machine gun in emergency mode on the gun was installed a simple optical sight-doubler.
At the first stage, the guided missile was developed in two versions - with radio command and laser guidance, later it was refused from the radio command guidance missile. To ensure the firing of a rocket in the conditions of dusty noise interference, a CO2 laser was developed. The further development of guided weapons was assumed using a rocket with a homing head, by analogy with the "Krasnopol" self-propelled guns and ensuring firing according to the "fired-forgotten" principle.
The 3-x mm range radar was developed for this tank based on the work on the Arguzin theme, but because of the complexity and low efficiency in detecting targets, the work was stopped.
By its characteristics, the sighting system made it possible to obtain a significant separation from the existing generation of domestic and foreign tanks and ensured the effective range of 2700 - 2900 m artillery shells and the destruction of targets with a guided missile with a probability of 0,9 at 5000 m.
The implementation of the sighting system should not cause any special problems, since the technical reserve for all elements of the complex, except for the CO2 laser and the radar, existed at that time. The Central Design Bureau of the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant, which had previously been well known for its irresponsibility in setting up sighting systems for tanks, was designated the lead on this complex.
For the Boxer tank, the activities of this company played a tragic role, the deadlines for performing all the work were constantly disrupted and the tests of the tank were postponed for years. Without the sights of the tank could not be, everyone understood this, but no action was taken. The sighting system was never fully implemented and the tank began to undergo a preliminary test cycle without an sighting system.
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- Yuri Apukhtin
- Photos used: